Preparing High School Seniors for College, Part Two

July 23, 2009

This is the second part of a two-part blog entry. Read part one.

Academic content knowledge is usually measured in a number of ways, from papers, tests, and quizzes to more comprehensive assessment tools like the California Standards Test. At Envision Schools, we rely on a rigorous evaluation system designed to measure not only content mastery through traditional assessment tools but also college readiness.

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.

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  • 9-12 High School

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