Bridging the Gap

How to Strengthen the Pk-16 Pipeline to Improve College Readiness

It is a stark, indisputable fact that many of America's high school graduates are not ready for the rigors of college.  While the nation's secondary schools bear much of the responsibility, colleges and universities have done a poor job of communicating the skills expected of incoming freshmen and an even worse job of providing effective remediation and extended support services to ensure that underprepared students eventually graduate. Only 30 percent of students who take remedial reading courses go on to obtain a postsecondary degree or certificate within eight years.  Ultimately, the low college readiness rate is a massive failure of the entire pre-kindergarten through college (Pk-16) system - a dysfunctional academic pipeline with weak standards and misaligned policies.

On Thursday, January 29, New America's Federal Education Budget Project released Bridging the Gap: How to Strengthen the Pk-16 Pipeline to Improve College Readiness, a paper on college readiness and remediation. The program featured a panel discussion on the college remediation crisis.

Education Policy Program Director MaryEllen McGuire gave a brief description of the college remediation crisis facing our students, and summed up the recommendations laid out in the report.
  • Improving the Pk-16 pipeline.
  • Financing and restructuring programs that improve college readiness.
  • Strengthening college remediation.

Additionally, she introduced a short video discussing America's college readiness crisis.   Next, Michael Wotorson, talked about the economic impact of the increasing high school drop out rate and what can be done to not only keep kids in school, but also get them ready for college.  Mervin A. Jenkins then described AVID's efforts to help underachieving middle school and high school students prepare for and graduate from college through in-school programs.  Lastly, Robert G. Templin, Jr., President of the Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) discussed how Northern Virginia community colleges partner with local high schools to offer remediation courses and help students enrolled in these courses to eventually graduate.

-- Event summary by Emilie Deans, Program Associate, Education Policy Program, New America Foundation


New America Foundation
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Featured Speakers

MaryEllen McGuire
Director, Education Policy Program
New America Foundation

Michael Wotorson
Campaign for High School Equity

Mervin A. Jenkins
Assistant Director
AVID Eastern Division

Robert G. Templin, Jr.
Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA)