Characteristics of Expository Essays

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COLLEGE READINESS

On Course for Success
A Close Look at Selected High School Courses That Prepare All Students for College and W ork

ON COURSE

FOR

SUCCESS

A CLOSE LOOK AT SELECTED HIGH SCHOOL COURSES THAT PREPARE ALL STUDENTS FOR COLLEGE

A Letter from Cyndie Schmeiser and Kati Haycock
ACT, Inc., and The Education Trust, the co-authors of this report, are devoted to the educational success of all students, especially the minority and low-income students who will increasingly contribute to the U.S. economy. In particular, ACT and The Education Trust are working to ensure that all students arrive at the doors of colleges and universities ready for college-level study without the need for remediation. That means finding out what essential qualities of high school courses foster successful transition to college. We were therefore eager to cooperate on a study of high schools that succeed in preparing students for a measure of college readiness like the ACT Assessment. We were particularly interested in high schools with substantial populations of students underrepresented in postsecondary education. This Study Report recounts a 17-month cooperative project that thoroughly examined courses in English, mathematics, and science in 10 such high achieving schools across the nation. We hope that people responsible for high school students’ success— administrators, teachers, counselors, parents, students themselves—will use this report to evaluate their own programs. To this end, we have included course syllabi and course descriptions of key courses in English, mathematics, and science that can be used to examine high school courses to determine if they include the rigorous skills necessary for college readiness. These course materials are authentic and were derived from the instructional syllabi used in the courses studied by ACT and The Education Trust. The materials come directly from successful practice. Our joint ambition is to close the achievement gaps between majority and minority students, between high-income and low-income students, and between suburban, urban, and rural students. To accomplish this, we need to ensure that all students have an opportunity to learn the higher-level thinking skills and knowledge that are necessary for college-level work. We believe that this study will help close these gaps by offering clear guidance to all who care about the future of our children and our country.

Sincerely,

Cyndie Schmeiser Senior Vice President Research and Development ACT

Kati Haycock Director The Education Trust

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CONTENTS
The Study Team . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . iv Executive Summary. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . v I. Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 II. The Study. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 III. General Findings. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 IV. English . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 V. Mathematics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 VI. Science. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56 VII. Discussion and Recommendations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76 List of Figures Figure 1.1 Education and Training Pay. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Figure 1.2 Average ACT Scores by College-Preparatory Core Coursework . . . . . . . . . . 3 Figure 1.3 Average ACT Math Score by High School Math Course Sequence . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Figure 1.4 Average ACT Science Score by High School Science Course Sequence . . . . . . . . . 5 List of Tables Table 2.1 Characteristics of Participating Schools . . . . . ....
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