Today’s modern workplaces demand more education than ever before. According to researchers at Georgetown University, two-thirds of all U.S. jobs are now held by workers with at least some postsecondary education or training. And employers continue to ask for more. In a recent analysis of online job postings, XQ found that more than 60 percent now require at least a two-year associate’s degree. Even trades that have long been passed down through on-the-job apprenticeships are now being taught in our community and technical colleges.
For educators, this demands a big shift in thinking. All students, not just some, need to leave high school ready for postsecondary education. And too often a high school diploma is not enough. According to the U.S. Department of Education, 44 percent of students enrolled in public colleges and universities have had to take remedial courses, where they pay to learn what they should have learned in high school. Many never make it into credit-bearing courses, and most don’t earn a college credential.
To achieve universal college readiness, high schools need to go beyond traditional teaching strategies, courses, and curricula so students are actively engaged in learning—not just meeting requirements—and exploring areas that interest them deeply.
Do the high school diploma requirements in your state ensure that all graduates are prepared for postsecondary education? Use this interactive resource from Achieve to find out.Explore
This report from Georgetown’s Center on Education and the Workforce shows that jobs that provide a middle-class income increasingly require at least an associate’s degree. The report includes state-by-state data.Read and Explore
This report from XQ makes the case that high schools must be transformed to prepare all students for the jobs of the future. Click on the U.S. map to find a fact sheet with data on how high schools are doing in your state.Read and Explore
To be ready for college, high school students need access to courses that prepare them for the expectations of postsecondary education. Check your district website, GreatSchools.org, or the U.S. Department of Education’s Civil Rights Data Collection for information on challenging coursework and other college-ready experiences.
Do all students have access to a full program of advanced coursework, including calculus, chemistry, and physics? Can students take AP courses or enroll in dual enrollment courses to earn college credit during high school?
What percentage of graduates enroll in 2- or 4-year colleges?
Are there differences from one school to the next? Among groups of students?
Share findings with your team and discuss the following questions: