High School to Community College: New Efforts to Build Shared Expectations
Californians are becoming increasingly concerned about whether the majority of the state’s young people have the skills and knowledge they need for adult success. In looking at strategies for improving students’ prospects, the work of both high schools and community colleges is coming under greater scrutiny.
These two sets of public institutions share responsibility for the futures of a vast number of California’s young people, including 30% or more of new high school graduates who each fall enroll at one of the state’s 110 community colleges. Yet K-12 schools and community colleges operate under separate governance systems, pursue distinct missions, and gauge their success based on different measures.
This report focuses on where California’s K-12 and community college systems meet and explores some of the potential opportunities currently under discussion for building better bridges between them. These include utilizing common approaches to assess student readiness and enabling K-12 and community college educators to jointly plan for the successful transition of students from high school to community college.
- Many students who graduate from high school are unprepared for the academic rigors of community college work.
- Local variations in community college placement practices and “basic skills” curricula send mixed signals and make the problem difficult to measure.
- K-12 standards and tests offer potential tools for aligning expectations between the two systems.
- Many efforts are targeted at building the capacity of educators in both systems to support students as they make the transition.
Key Features of this Report
This report draws from many recent reports and conversations with educators and others who are focused on different aspects of the transition from high school to community college, and includes 15 charts and graphs.
Key features include:
- Student achievement data, by ethnicity, on:
- Success in community college basic skills courses in math and English among recent high school graduates who need more academic preparation
- How many 11th graders participate in the CSU’s Early Assessment Program, which measures college readiness
- Early Assessment Program results in math and English
- Discussion of recent legislation affecting the transition of high schools students to community college, including legislation that provides for community college participation in the Early Assessment Program.
- List of community college organizations and others involved in different aspects of student transitions.
- Links to a multitude of sources for more in-depth information.
This online version of the report contains two extra pages of resources on this topic and effort going on throughout California.
EdSource thanks the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation for supporting the costs of researching, publishing, and widely disseminating this publication.