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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation
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Preparing High School Seniors for College, Part Two

Bob Lenz

Founder and Chief of Innovation, Envision Education, Oakland CA

In part one of this blog entry, I describe how our College Success Portfolio is the benchmark by which we measure students' abilities to succeed in college. This portfolio includes the completion of tasks across all the core academic disciplines, including science, math, language arts, social studies, and world languages.

In addition, students are required to produce a college-ready research paper and a multimedia product and complete a workplace learning experience or internship. Each task is evaluated against carefully selected standards that are clear, challenging, and attainable.

The tasks and evaluation rubrics used for each task were developed with educational experts at Stanford University. The tasks are embedded into the regular curriculum rather than presented as an adjunct to their other studies.

The evaluation rubrics, which are used throughout high school, are shared with the students at the start of the freshman year. This strategy gives students a clear and focused understanding of exactly what is expected of them and how they will be evaluated.

Once a task is completed, students must also write a reflection that describes both the product and process they used to create it. They reflect on what they've learned, what they would have done differently, and how they will apply this learning to future projects. Additionally, students must describe how they used at least two of Envision Schools's 21st-Century Leadership Skills to complete the task.

All throughout school, students archive their work on a digital platform that instructors also use to evaluate it. This step enables us to keep tabs on student progress, as well as evaluate the data more effectively to strengthen and improve student outcomes.

How do you measure college readiness at your school or in your classroom? Please share with us.

Comments (11)Sign in or register to postSubscribe to comments via RSS

Andy Stroup - Iowa's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I am interested in a couple of specific points about your blog (love it by the way).

1. Looking at the homepage for envision schools it is apparent that there is a great deal of success with the students who graduate. What about the students who, for one reason or another, won't make it? The reason I ask is I am a newer teacher in a district that does not have the same emphasis placed on going to college. From first observation, we also do not have the same emphasis on education in our community. Since we are a public high school that educates EVERY student, not a select group, how can I help jump-start our community into this mind frame besides "work with every student, every class, every year."

2. I would be interested in seeing the rubrics for the culminating portfolio projects and maybe a few examples that I can show my students as I try to implement a similar project in my Honors Humanities Class.

Thanks

Kristen's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Thank you for the post. I know one complaint of many college professors is that students come in unable to write. I recently reviewed a study suggesting high schools are not frequently assigning writing assignments longer than a paragraph... perhaps it's not a big surprise then that students are struggling to produce college-level writing! It looks like you're addressing this need.

Melinda Ehrlich's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Last night I attended a book signing event at the Book Revue in Huntington, Long Island for a brand new book called "Acceptance" by Dave Marcus (a Pulitzer Prize-winning Newsday journalist.) It was an SRO crowd attended by former students, teachers, administatots, parents, community members and writers. The star of the show was the gem of a college advisor named Gwyeth Smith, Jr. of Oyster Bay High School- also the subject of Marcus's well-reserached book. The turnout was quite a testament to Mr. Smith and I can't put the book down. Regarding the college application process, it's not always the brand name, but the fit. Parents and high school kids alike could benefit from this book.
Melinda Ehrlich
(author of a humorous memoir, Take Off Your Hand Spit Out Your Gum- What I Learned in 33 1/2 Years as a NYC English Teacher)

Melinda Ehrlich's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I am a retired English teacher. I taught at Richmond Hill High School in Queens, NY

Melinda Ehrlich's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

How embarrassing that I failed to proofread my blog and it wasn't edited before being posted. With my left hand in a splint from a tennis injury, I mis-typed "administrators," "researched" and even the title of my own book. The correct title is "Take Off Your Hat (not hand) and Spit Out Your Gum - What I Learned in 33 1/2 Years asa NYC English Teacher." Shame on me.
Melinda

norman r. bentson's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I am intrigued in the subjcet matter of career counseling for high school students, especially for my children and their friends. Is there anyone out there that can recommend some good career tests, books and materials (or corganizations) that I could check out?
Norman
nrbetson@hotmail.com

musiklover's picture

It was an SRO crowd attended by former students, teachers, administatots, parents, community members and writers. The star of the show was the gem of a college advisor named Gwyeth Smith, Jr. of Oyster Bay High School- also the subject of Marcus's well-reserached book. The turnout was quite a testament to Mr. Smith and I can't put the book down. Regarding the college application process, it's not always the brand name, but the fit.
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farexex's picture

It was an SRO crowd attended by former students, teachers, administatots, parents, community members and writers. The star of the show was the gem of a college advisor named Gwyeth Smith, Jr. of Oyster Bay High School- also the subject of Marcus's well-reserached book. The turnout was quite a testament to Mr. Smith and I can't put the book down.commodity broker

Lora Appleton's picture

it's not a big surprise that students are struggling to produce college-level writing! It looks like you're addressing this need.personal injury attorney | trip insurance

Amy's picture

Hi,

I work with The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS for short), a non-profit with more than 300 member schools in both North America and abroad. At TABS, we believe that a great way to ensure a student is ready for college is to give them a glimpse of what it's like to live on their own--at boarding school. Different boarding schools cater to different types of students. To find one that fits your child's need, you may want to check out TABS at www.boardingschools.com.

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