Academic Planning

Less than half of high school seniors are college ready!

According to College Board’s SAT Report on College & Career Readiness: 2012, only 43 percent of college-bound high school seniors who took the SAT achieved the benchmark score of 1550 and were considered to demonstrate college readiness. It is important for parents and students to note that high school course taking alone, does not ensure that a student will be adequately prepared:

  • While 83 percent of students took AP/Honors Math in high school, only 55 percent demonstrated college readiness in mathematics
  • While 71 percent of students took AP/Honors English in high school, only 49 percent demonstrated college readiness in critical reading

There also continues to be huge disparities, by race, of the percentage of students who completed their high school’s core curriculum:

  • 80 percent of White students
  • 73 percent of Asian students
  • 71 percent of Native American students
  • 69 percent of Hispanic students
  • 65 percent of African American students

The ACT’s report, The Condition of College & Career Readiness 2012, was nearly twice as dire as the SAT’s report, with only 25 percent of college-bound high school seniors demonstrating college readiness in each of the four areas tested (English, Reading, Math, and Science). The percentage of students meeting the college readiness benchmarks in each area were:

  • 67 percent in English
  • 52 percent in Reading
  • 46 percent in Mathematics
  • 31 percent in Science

As reflected in SAT scores, there is a huge gap between the percentage of high school seniors taking the core curriculum and their meeting college readiness benchmarks:

  • 81 percent of Asian students took the core curriculum and only 42 percent demonstrated college readiness in all four areas
  • 77 percent of White students took the core curriculum and only 32 percent demonstrated college readiness in all four areas
  • 73 percent of Hispanic students took the core curriculum and only 13 percent demonstrated college readiness in all four areas
  • 66 percent of Native American students took the core curriculum and only 11 percent demonstrated college readiness in all four areas
  • 72 percent of African American students took the core curriculum and only 5 percent demonstrated college readiness in all four areas

If students are to be adequately prepared for college, they must not only take the most rigorous classes offered within their high school or online, they must apply themselves to deepen their knowledge of the subject area. This will require much more than memorizing equations, formulas, or events. Students must learn why, understand how, and develop the reasoning and critical thinking skills to conceptualize, extrapolate, synthesize, and apply knowledge.

The SAT measures the reading, mathematics, and writing skills that are part of a rigorous high school curriculum and that students need to be successful in college:

  • The reading section assesses students’ ability to draw inferences, synthesize information, distinguish between main and supporting ideas and understand vocabulary as it is used in context.
  • The mathematics section requires students to apply mathematical concepts, solve problems and use data literacy skills in interpreting tables, charts and graphs.
  • The writing section requires students to communicate ideas clearly and effectively; improve writing through revision and editing; recognize and identify sentence-level errors; understand grammatical elements and structures and how they relate to each other in a sentence; and improve coherence of ideas within and among paragraphs.

The ACT benchmark scores represent the level of achievement required for students to have a 50 percent chance of obtaining a B or higher, or a 75 percent chance of obtaining a C or higher in their first0year college courses (English Composition, College Algebra, Biology, and an introductory social science course). The ACT benchmark scores are:

  • 18 in English
  • 21 in Reading
  • 22 in Math
  • 24 in Science

 

CLEP Exams

The College-Level Examination Program® (CLEP) helps you receive college credit for what you already know, for a fraction of the cost of a college course. Developed by the College Board, CLEP is the most widely accepted credit-by-examination program, available at more than 2,900 colleges and universities. Pass any of the 33 CLEP exams and achieve your college and career goals.

Learn About Your College’s CLEP Policy

Currently, 2,900 colleges and universities grant credit for CLEP, and each institution sets its own CLEP policy. In other words, each institution determines the exams for which it awards credits, the minimum qualifying score required to get credit, and the amount of credits that will be granted per exam. Before you take a CLEP exam, review the CLEP policy of your college or university.

How Much Credit Can You Earn?

If you pass a CLEP exam, you may earn up to 12 credits. The amount of credit you can earn on an individual CLEP exam varies with each college. Some colleges place a limit on the total amount of credit you can earn through CLEP. Other colleges may grant you exemption but no credit toward your degree.

Minimum Qualifying Score

Most colleges publish the required scores for earning CLEP credit in their general catalog or in a brochure. The required score for earning CLEP credit may vary from exam to exam. Contact your institution to find out the minimum qualifying score for each exam you’re considering.

Getting Credit for General Requirements

At some colleges, you may be able to apply your CLEP credit to the college’s core curriculum requirements. For example, CLEP credit may be given as “6 hrs. English Credit” or “3 hrs. Math Credit,” and can be used for any English or mathematics course. Find out before you take a CLEP exam what type of credit you can receive from your institution, or whether you will be exempted from a required course but receive no credit.

Prior Course Work

Some colleges won’t grant credit for a CLEP exam if you’ve already attempted a college-level course closely aligned with that exam. For example, if you successfully completed English 101 or a comparable course on another campus, you’ll probably not be permitted to receive CLEP credit in that same subject. Also, some colleges won’t permit you to earn CLEP credit for a course that you failed.

Additional Stipulations

Be sure to wait at least six months before repeating a CLEP exam of the same title. Scores of exams repeated earlier than six months will not be accepted (and test fees will be forfeited).

Colleges usually award CLEP credit only to their enrolled students. Here are some additional questions to consider:

  • Does the college require that you “validate” your CLEP score by successfully completing a more advanced course in the subject?
  • Does the college require the optional free-response (essay) section for the examinations in Composition and Literature as well as the multiple-choice portion of the CLEP exam you’re considering?
  • Will you be required to pass a departmental test such as an essay, laboratory, or oral exam in addition to the CLEP multiple-choice exam?

Knowing the answers to these questions ahead of time will permit you to schedule the optional free-response or departmental exam when you register to take your CLEP exam.

 

Envision Leadership Opportunity

 

Formerly, LeadAmerica, Envision is a research-based authority on experiential learning programs that helps students develop the essential applied skills, behaviors and knowledge they must have for college, career and life success in the 21st century.

Envision EMI and LeadAmerica, two of America’s leading experiential education organizations, recently united in 2012 to create the “Envision” brand that makes up more than 20 programs for students who want to take a more proactive role in shaping their futures.

The newly branded Envision brings together, under a single brand name, the programs from LeadAmericathe Congressional Youth Leadership Council (CYLC)the National Youth Leadership Forum (NYLF)the National Young Scholars Program (NYSP), the Presidential Inaugural Conference and the International Scholar Laureate Program (ISLP) for college students.

All Envision programs are now integrated into a comprehensive learning continuum that offers introductory, advanced and international programs to give students the edge they need to make the most of their futures.

Since 1985, Envision has served more than 800,000 students in more than 145 countries with programs designed to help students develop the leadership, scholarship and career skills needed to succeed in today’s competitive college and career landscape.

Key Envision Milestones

  • 1985: Congressional Youth Leadership Council incorporated to provide high school students with leadership training.
  • 1985: First Presidential Youth Inaugural Conference.
  • 1985: First National Young Leaders Conference (NYLC) held in Washington, DC.
  • 1989: Congressional Youth Leadership Council partners with National Capital Resources for curriculum development and program delivery.
  • 1992: National Youth Leadership Forum incorporated to help prepare high-achieving high school students college and career success.
  • 1992: National Youth Leadership Forum selects National Capital Resources for curriculum development and program delivery.
  • 1992: First National Youth Leadership Forum on National Security (NYLF/NS).
  • 1993: First National Youth Leadership Forum on Medicine (NYLF/MED).
  • 1995: First National Youth Leadership Forum on Law & CSI (NYLF/LAW).
  • 1998: National Capital Resources renamed as Envision EMI.
  • 1999: Congressional Youth Leadership Council offers first international program, the Global Young Leaders Conference (GYLC).
  • 2001:International Scholars Laureate Program created for college students.
  • 2003: First Junior National Young Leaders Conference (JrNYLC) held for middle school students.
  • 2004: National Young Leaders State Conference (NYLSC) held across the United States.
  • 2007: Envision EMI acquires the assets of the Congressional Youth Leadership Council and the National Youth Leadership Forum.
  • 2010: Envision celebrates its 25th anniversary since its founding as the Congressional Youth Leadership Council.
  • 2011: Envision EMI is acquired by the Leadership Platform Acquisition Corporation, an affiliate of Gryphon Investors, a San Francisco-based private equity firm with a strong commitment to education.
  • 2012: Envision EMI and LeadAmerica merge under the new “Envision” brand.
  • 2013: Envision launches new “Envision Experience” brand, combining all of its programs into a sequentially organized continuum of offerings for elementary school, middle school, high school and college students.

– See more at: http://www.envisionexperience.com/about/our-history-of-experiential-learning#sthash.RmdbMA2R.dpuf

National Achievement Scholarship

National Achievement Scholarship Program

The National Achievement® Scholarship Program is an academic competition established in 1964 to provide recognition for outstanding Black American high school students. Black students may enter both the National Achievement Program and the National Merit® Program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®) and meeting other published requirements for participation. The two annual programs are conducted concurrently but operated and funded separately. A student’s standing is determined independently in each program. Black American students can qualify for recognition and be honored as Scholars in both the National Merit Program and the National Achievement Program, but can receive only one monetary award from NMSC.

Student Entry Requirements

To participate in the National Achievement® Scholarship Program, a student must:

  1. take the PSAT/NMSQT® in the specified year of the high school program and no later than the third year in grades 9 through 12, regardless of grade classification or educational pattern;
  2. request entry to the National Achievement Program by marking Section 14 on the PSAT/NMSQT answer sheet, thereby identifying himself or herself as a Black American who wishes to be considered in this competition as well as in the National Merit® Scholarship Program;
  3. be enrolled as a high school student, progressing normally toward graduation or completion of high school, and planning to enroll full time in college no later than the fall following completion of high school; and
  4. be a citizen of the United States; or be a U.S. lawful permanent resident (or have applied for permanent residence, the application for which has not been denied) and intend to become a U.S. citizen at the earliest opportunity allowed by law.

Information supplied by the student on the PSAT/NMSQT answer sheet determines whether the individual meets requirements for participation in the National Achievement Program. Click here to see NMSC program entry items on the PSAT/NMSQT answer sheet, including the section Black American students must mark to request consideration in the National Achievement Program. A school official or the student should report immediately to NMSC any error or change in reported information that may affect participation.

Program Recognition

Of the more than 160,000 students who currently enter the National Achievement® Program each year, over 4,700 are honored. A group of about 3,100 Outstanding Participants are referred to colleges for their potential for academic success. A smaller group of about 1,600 are named Semifinalists, the only students who have an opportunity to advance in the competition for National Achievement Scholarships.

National Merit Scholarship

National Merit Scholarship Program

The National Merit® Scholarship Program is an academic competition for recognition and scholarships that began in 1955. High school students enter the National Merit Program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®)–a test which serves as an initial screen of more than 1.5 million entrants each year–and by meeting published program entry/participation requirements.

Student Entry Requirements

To participate in the National Merit® Scholarship Program, a student must:

  1. take the PSAT/NMSQT® in the specified year of the high school program and no later than the third year in grades 9 through 12, regardless of grade classification or educational pattern;
  2. be enrolled as a high school student, progressing normally toward graduation or completion of high school, and planning to enroll full time in college no later than the fall following completion of high school; and
  3. be a citizen of the United States; or be a U.S. lawful permanent resident (or have applied for permanent residence, the application for which has not been denied) and intend to become a U.S. citizen at the earliest opportunity allowed by law.

The student’s responses to items on the PSAT/NMSQT answer sheet that are specific to NMSC program entry determine whether the individual meets requirements to participate in the National Merit Scholarship Program. Click here to see NMSC program entry items on the PSAT/NMSQT answer sheet. Score reports provided for test takers and their schools indicate whether the student meets program entry requirements. A school official or the student should report immediately to NMSC any error or change in reported information that may affect participation.

Program Recognition

Of the 1.5 million entrants, some 50,000 with the highest PSAT/NMSQT® Selection Index scores (critical reading + mathematics + writing skills scores) qualify for recognition in the National Merit®Scholarship Program. In April following the fall test administration, high-scoring participants from every state are invited to name two colleges or universities to which they would like to be referred by NMSC. In September, these high scorers are notified through their schools that they have qualified as either a Commended Student or Semifinalist.

STEM Education (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)

Although STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) related careers are considered to represent the most important employment and highest paying job/career opportunities of the future, the recent report by the Fordham Institute, “The State of State Science Standards,” reports that most states are not preparing students for these type of jobs or careers.

24 states received a grade of ‘D’ or ‘F’: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Only six states received a grade of ‘A’ or ‘A-‘: California, District of Columbia, Indiana, Massachusetts, South Carolina, and Virginia.

Unfortunately, this lack of preparation in school districts is reflected in student ACT performance. Following is student performance data on the 2011 ACT in the areas of math and science as it relates to the percentage of students from each demographic group considered to be “college ready”:

  • 71 percent of Asian students were considered college ready in math and 46 percent were considered college ready in science
  • 54 percent of White students were considered college ready in math and 37 percent were considered college ready in science
  • 30 percent of Hispanic students were considered college ready in math and 15 percent were considered college ready in science
  • 14 percent of Black students were considered college ready in math and 6 percent were considered college ready in science

2 Million Minutes

The documentary, “2 Million Minutes” provides an important, if not ominous look into how STEM education in the U.S. is losing ground to such countries as China and India—countries where U.S. companies are actively recruiting to fill STEM-related jobs. The movie examines how students allocate their 2 million minutes of time over the course of four years of high school. While U.S. students allocate their time across a wide range of extracurricular activities, video game playing, and social interests, their Indian and Chinese counterparts are allocating their 2 million minutes to a much deeper range of scholarly and intellectual pursuits. In those countries, extracurricular activities and social time are not totally absent, they merely represent less of a priority.

Interestingly, the U.S. students profiled in the movie trailer are students in the top 5 percent of their class attending the nation’s best high schools. Panelists in the movie trailer provide some insightful comments into not only where our children place their priorities, but where parents place their priorities. High school basketball and football games have overflowing crowds, while chess competitions, science fairs, and academic celebrations are sparsely attended by parents, ineffectively promoted by schools, and little thought of by students.

The lesson for parents, students, and communities is clear, “Change your priorities and change student outcomes!”

KSU SAT Boot Camp

The Kennesaw State University 2012 SAT Boot Camp is open to rising juniors and seniors from under-represented groups.

For a $25 registration fee, students will receive:

  • Twelve hours of professional SAT preparatory instruction
  • The opportunity to take a practice SAT test
  • SAT practice workbook and study guide
  • Customized tours of the KSU campus
  • College Admissions and Financial Aid information
  • Activities, giveaways, door prizes and more!

For more information or to submit an application, visit www.kennesaw.edu/admissions/minority/satworkshop

Download application…

What is Your Child Learning?

As we approach the winter break, after the first of the year, most students will be receiving their first semester report cards. Parents should sit down with their children and carefully review their grades and the type of classes that students are taking. For example an ‘A’ in an AP class is not the same as an ‘A’ in an on-level class, just as an ‘A’ in PE is not the same as an ‘A’ in Calculus. As parents, we must not only encourage, support, and celebrate our children’s grades, we must ensure that they are learning. The failure to ensure that our children are developing the proper foundation in reading and math can lead to dire results when, as high school seniors, they find themselves neither college ready nor college bound.

Consider the following trends as they pertain to student performance in reading and math on elementary school and middle school assessments, through their performance on the ACT as potentially college-bound seniors.

The 2011 NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress) Math report indicates that for fourth- and eighth-graders:

  • Nationally, only 33 percent of fourth-graders are proficient in math
  • In many urban school districts, the percentage of fourth-grade students demonstrating math proficiency is less than 20 percent
  • Nationally, only 26 percent of eighth-graders are proficient in math
  • In  many urban school districts, the percentage of eighth-grade students demonstrating math proficiency is less than 15 percent

Nationally, by eighth grade, many students are not only performing below proficiency, they have fallen off of the college pathway altogether into lower level math classes:

  • Only 33 percent of eighth-graders are taking algebra
  • 22 percent of eighth-graders are taking pre-algebra or introduction to algebra
  • 26 percent of eighth-graders are taking basic or general math
  • In many large urban areas, less than 20 percent of students are taking algebra by eighth grade

The 2011 NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress) Reading report indicates that:

  • Nationally, only 34 percent of fourth-graders are proficient in reading (as low as 14 percent in some racial groups)
  • Since 1992, the percentage of fourth-graders demonstrating proficiency in reading has only increased 5 percentage points
  • Nationally, only 34 percent of eighth-graders are proficient in reading (as low as 14 percent in some racial groups)
  • Since 1992, the percentage of eighth-graders demonstrating proficiency in reading has only increased 5 percentage points

The ACT Report, “The Condition of College & Career Readiness: 2011” provides important warnings for parents of elementary school and middle school students. The percentage of students considered “college-ready” in each of the four subject-areas tested on the ACT are:

  • 66 percent in English
  • 52 percent in Reading
  • 45 percent in Math
  • 30 percent in Science
  • 25 percent in all four subjects
  • 28 percent of students are not ready for college in any subject-area

Student performance varied widely, with the following percentages considered college-ready in all subject-areas by racial group:

  • 41 percent of Asians
  • 31 percent of Whites
  • 11 percent of Hispanics
  • 11 percent of Native Americans
  • 4 percent of Blacks

Most students’ college dreams far exceed their level of college preparation:

  • 85 percent of White students aspire toward a 4-year college degree or better with only 31 percent of graduating high school seniors demonstrating that they are ready for college
  • 84 percent of Asian students aspire toward a 4-year college degree or better with only 41 percent of graduating high school seniors demonstrating that they are ready for college
  • 80 percent of Black students aspire toward a 4-year college degree or better with only 4 percent of graduating high school seniors demonstrating that they are ready for college
  • 78 percent of Hispanic students aspire toward a 4-year college degree or better with only11 percent of graduating high school seniors demonstrating that they are ready for college
  • 78 percent of Native American students aspire toward a 4-year college degree or better with only 11 percent of graduating high school seniors demonstrating that they are ready for college

Although 8 out of 10 of our children aspire to go to college, less than 3 in 10 have been prepared by the 12th grade to succeed in college. We, as parents, must do more to monitor our children’s learning during the critical elementary-through-middle school years. We must look beyond their report card grades to what they have actually learned!

Download the ACT National or State Reports…

Get an Education so That You Can Get a Job!

Do not become one of the thousands of students going off to acquire a very expensive college education only to find themselves 4-6 years later unable to find a job and thousands of dollars in student loan debt. A recent study by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, “Closing the Gap between Career Education & Employer Expectations” found that:

  • Only 7 percent of employers believe that colleges do an “Excellent” job in preparing students for the workplace with 39 percent indicating that students are “Fairly” of “Poorly” prepared
  • Only 16 percent of employers believe that applicants are “Very Well Prepared” while 21 percent indicate that applicants are “Unprepared”
  • 54 percent indicated difficulty in finding applicants with the necessary skills and knowledge

Most employers believe that college students simply fail to adequately prepare themselves to enter the workplace. They do not take the necessary classes to prepare for the workplace, they barely receive passing grades in classes such as business writing, Statistics, Calculus, and business communications, they do not gain the necessary job experience while in college, and they do not take advantage of the many summer internship opportunities available to them.

When selecting colleges today, students should be focused on where the jobs will be when they receive their degrees. Students should more carefully select the type of classes they take in college and the type of internships they experienced each summer to best prepare them for the job market after graduating from college. Students should keep in mind that a college degree only has value if the person holding the degree can bring value to an employer’s organization.

I received my BS from Northeastern University, which has one of the largest cooperative education programs in the world. At graduation, I had 18 months of full-time on-the-job experience with Andersen Consulting and found myself highly recruited by such companies as Andersen Consulting (now Accenture)Price Waterhouse CoopersTouche and Deloitte, and IBM. I eventually accepted a job offer with the IBM General Products Division in San Jose, California as a systems design engineer.

College Co-op Programs provide an excellent opportunity for students to gain a significant competitive edge upon graduation. Students may learn about cooperative education programs at the National Commission on Cooperative Education website and the NASA Co-Op Education Program website. When considering potential colleges ask about the types of employers participating in their cooperative education program, available internships, and visit the college’s recruitment office to see the type of jobs their graduates are entering into and the types of companies that they are working for.