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  1. ® Middle School:Higher Expectations andHigher Engagement Cynthia B. Schmeiser National Symposium on Middle School Education September 2006

  2. ACT Research • Are middle school students on target to be college and work ready? • What factors make a difference in college readiness? • What can we do to improve readiness?

  3. Data Sources • 640,000 8th- and 9th- grade students who took ACT’s EXPLORE program in 2005-06 • 50% female • 50% male • 35% minority students

  4. How Do We Define College Readiness? • Empirical basis tied to college success • ACT College Readiness Benchmarks • Directly tied to knowledge and skills students need to attain

  5. ACT’s College ReadinessBenchmarks • EXPLORE PLAN ACT • (8-9th) (10th) (11-12th) • English 13 15 18 • Math 17 19 22 • Reading 15 17 21 • Science 20 21 24

  6. Current State of College ReadinessMiddle School Students Not enough middle school students are on target to be college ready when they leave high school.

  7. Current State of College ReadinessClasses of 2006, 2008, 2010 • 21% of 2006 high school graduates met all four College Readiness Benchmarks • 21% of 10th graders (Class of 2008) are on target to be college-ready • 13% of 8th graders (Class of 2010) are on target to be college-ready • Students in pipeline do not look any better prepared

  8. What Happens When We TrackSame Students Over Time? More 8th- and 10th-grade students nationally are on target to be college ready than are actually ready when they graduate from high school.

  9. Factors that Make a Difference Taking the core curriculum (4-3-3-3) increases academic achievement, college readiness, and college success.

  10. Realities in Middle School • Yet only 35% of 2006 EXPLORE-tested students are planning to take a core curriculum in high school! • 4 years English • 3 years Math • 3 years Social Science • 3 years Science The majority of middle school students are not even planning on taking the right number of courses in high school.

  11. Factors that Make a Difference • Students who take core least one math course beyond Algebra II are 3 times more likely to be college ready in math

  12. Factors that Make a Difference • Students who take core that includes physics are 3 times more likely to be college ready in science

  13. Factors that Make a Difference Students who take core are more likely to be ready for college.

  14. Factors that Make a Difference Students who take core curriculum enroll in college at higher rates than those who do not.

  15. Factors that Make a Difference Students who take core curriculum are more likely to stay in college regardless of gender, race/ethnicity, and income

  16. Factors that Make a Difference Middle school students who are on target in reading are significantly more likely to be on target to be ready in other areas.

  17. Realities in Middle School: Reading Of those 2006 EXPLORE students who did NOT meet the EXPLORE Reading Benchmark: Students who are NOT on target in reading in middle school are significantly more likely NOT to be on target in English, math, and science. • Only 40% are on target in English • Only 15% are on target in Math • Only 1% are on target in Science

  18. One Last Reality for Middle Schools Our Latest Research Suggests: IF students do not achieve a minimum level of academic preparation by middle school…. It won’t matter what they do in high school. Middle school Students who are NOT on target are at significant risk: additional coursework in high school is not likely to overcome these deficits.

  19. Summary of Some Factors that Make a Difference • Students need to be on target to be college ready in middle school • Students who are on target to be college ready in reading in middle school are more likely to be college ready in other subjects • All students should take the right number of courses in high school • All students should take the right kinds of courses in high schoolmddle school

  20. What Can We Do for Students? • Early identification and intervention • Early college/career exploration and planning • Encourage all students to take the right numbers and kinds of courses in high school • Measure and monitor the progress toward college readiness early and throughout high school High Engagement and High Expectations:

  21. What Can We Do for Schools? • P-16 alignment is critical • Articulate postsecondary expectations and K-12 standards • Start monitoring college readiness before high school • Intervene with those students who are falling behind in reading and math in upper elementary grades • Ensure that high school courses are focused on rigorous skills needed for college readiness

  22. What Can We Do for Schools? • Incorporate reading expectations into content area state standards at the secondary level • Offer staff development support to high school teachers to strengthen reading instruction across the high school curriculum • Strengthen state assessments so that they measure college readiness

  23. ® Middle School:Higher Expectations andHigher Engagement Cynthia B. Schmeiser National Symposium on Middle School Education September 2006