What Is College and Career Readiness? State Requirements for High School Graduation and State Public University Admissions

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1 What Is College and Career Readiness? State Requirements for High School Graduation and State Public University Admissions Peter A. Conforti Each high school student in the United States must meet the minimum academic requirements for graduation, usually determined by the state education agency (SEA) in which that student resides. However, states differ on the subjects and numbers of respective credits a student must complete before graduating. Most SEAs use the Carnegie Unit 1 as a way of measuring adequate academic preparation, while others, such as New Jersey, have their own unique methods of determining adequate course completion. 2 As outlined in the table beginning on the next page, the minimum requirements for high school graduation do not necessarily prepare a student for admission to his or her state s main (or flagship ) university campus. For example, a student attending a Denver public school and seeking admission to the University of Colorado, Boulder, must have three foreign language credits. However, Colorado s minimum high school plan does not require any foreign language instruction for graduation. In fact, forty states (80%) have high school graduation requirements that do not meet the minimum standards necessary for admission to their own state universities. In most cases, this is because high schools do not require a foreign language component for graduation, while state universities do for admittance. Other states, though, demonstrate better alignment between minimum high school graduation standards and freshman admission requirements. In states such as Georgia, for example, students graduating from a public high school and seeking admission to the University of Georgia, Athens, will have all necessary credits. Only ten states (20%) Alaska, Connecticut, Georgia, Kansas, Maryland, Mississippi, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, and Tennessee (as well as the District of Columbia) have this consistency in design. Unfortunately, the high school student bears the principal consequence for this lack of uniformity. Although professionals, such as high school counselors, can help students appropriately plan for post-secondary education, the student must develop a sense of direction and purpose early enough in high school to ensure adequate academic progress. Furthermore, students who wish to attend a university out-of-state must prepare for any additional requirements that may not be set forth by their own state s mandated secondary curriculum. How To Read The Table Bulletin May 2013 Issue 23 researchnetwork.pearson.com the minimum requirements for high school graduation do not necessarily prepare a student for admission to his or her state s main (or flagship ) university campus. All data in the table has been aggregated from both the state s department of education website and the Admissions sections of their respective state universities. The states are listed alphabetically and the names of their main campuses are parenthetically listed beneath them. Unless otherwise noted, all units are measured in Carnegie Units. Where there are deficiencies in university academic preparation, coursework has been italicized under the State Requirements for College Admittance column. 1

2 Alabama Alabama, Tuscaloosa) Alaska Alaska System: Anchorage, Fairbanks, Southeast) Arizona Arizona, Tucson) Arkansas Arkansas, Fayetteville) Computer Applications: 0.5 Electives: 5.5 Fine Arts: 0.5 Health Education: 0.5 Natural Sciences/Science: 4 Mathematics: 2 Physical Education/Health: 1 Electives: 7 Fine Arts/Career and Technical Education (CTE): 1 Electives: 0.5 Fine Arts: 0.5 Physical Education/ 2 Electives: 5 Foreign Language: 1 The University of Alaska System requires that incoming freshmen earn a high school diploma. Cumulative High School GPA: 2.5 Cumulative High School GPA: 2.0 ACT Score: 21 (English); 24 (Mathematics); 20 (Natural Science) SAT Score: 530 (Reasoning); 540 (Mathematics) Electives: 2 Cumulative High School GPA: 3.0 ACT Score: 20 SAT Score: 930

3 California California, Berkeley) Colorado Colorado, Boulder) Connecticut Connecticut, Storrs) English Language Arts: 3 Fine Arts/Foreign Language/Technical Education: 1 Mathematics: 2 Fine Arts: 0.5 Physical Education: 0.5 Capstone Experience: 1 Electives: 1 (Humanities elective); 1 (Career and Life Skills Elective); 1.5 (Open elective) Health Education: 0.5 Electives: 1 Cumulative High School GPA: 3.0 Foreign Language: 3 Electives: 3 3

4 Delaware Delaware, Newark) District of Columbia the District of Columbia) Florida Florida, Gainesville) Georgia Georgia, Athens) Career Pathway: 3 Electives: 3.5 Health Education: 0.5 Electives: 3.5 Fine Arts: 0.5 Natural Sciences/Science: 4 Physical Education/Health: 1.5 Electives: 8 Physical Education/Health: 1 Fine Arts/Foreign Language/Career, Technical, and Agricultural Education (CTAE): 3 Natural Sciences/Science: 4 Physical Education/Health: 1 Electives: 2 The University of the District of Columbia requires that incoming freshmen earn a high school diploma. Cumulative High School GPA: 2.0 ACT Score: 19 SAT Score: 1360 Natural Sciences/Science: 4 4

5 Hawaii Hawaii, Manoa) Idaho Idaho, Moscow) Electives: 6 Fine Arts/Foreign Language/Career and Technical Education: 2 Personal Transition Plan: 0.5 English Language Arts: 9 3 Fine Arts/Foreign Language/Humanities: 2 3 Health: 1 3 Mathematics: 6 3 Natural Sciences/Science: 6 3 Social Science/Social Studies: 5 3 Electives: 5 Foreign Language: 4 Cumulative High School GPA: 2.8 ACT Score: 22 SAT Score: 1530 Electives: 3 3 English Language Arts: 8 3 Fine Arts/ 3 Mathematics: Social Science/Social Studies: 5 3 Illinois Illinois, Urbana-Champaign) Fine Arts/Foreign Language/Vocational Education: 1 Electives: 2 5

6 Indiana (Indiana University, Bloomington) Iowa Iowa, Iowa City) Kansas Kansas, Lawrence) College and Career Pathway Courses: 6 3 Electives: 5 3 English Language Arts: 8 3 Flex Credit: 5 3 Health and Wellness: Natural Sciences/Science: 4 3 Physical Education: Electives: 6 Electives: 3 3 English Language Arts: 8 3 Foreign Language: 4 3 Mathematics: 7 3 Natural Sciences/Science: 6 3 Social Science/Social Studies: 6 3 Cumulative High School GPA: 3.0 The University of Kansas requires that incoming freshmen earn a high school diploma with a "college preparatory curriculum." 6

7 Kentucky Kentucky, Lexington) Louisiana Louisiana, Lafayette) Maine Maine, Orono) Electives: 7 Physical Education: 0.5 Career Education: 1 Electives: 7 Mathematics: 2 Electives: 7 Physical Education: 0.5 Cumulative High School GPA: 2.0 Natural Sciences/Science: 4 Cumulative High School GPA: 2.5 ACT Score: 23 SAT Score: 1050 Cumulative High School GPA: 3.0 7

8 Maryland Maryland, College Park) Massachusetts Massachusetts, Amherst) Michigan Michigan, Ann Arbor) Electives: 2 (Foreign Language) or 2 (Advanced Technology Education) and 3 (Free electives) or 4 (Career and Technology) and 1 (Free elective) Physical Education: 0.5 Technology: 1 "Core" Courses: 5 (Business Education, Health, or Technology) Physical Education/Health: 1 Social Studies: 3 Electives:

9 Minnesota Minnesota, Twin Cities) Mississippi Mississippi, Oxford) Missouri Missouri, Columbia).5 Business and Technology: 1 Electives: 5 Natural Sciences/Science: 4 Electives: 7 Health Education: 0.5 Personal Finance: 0.5 Practical Arts: 1 Business and Technology (Computer Applications): 0.5 Electives: 2 Cumulative High School GPA: 2.0 ACT Score: 18 SAT Score: 860 9

10 Montana Montana, Missoula) Nebraska Nebraska, Lincoln) Nevada Nevada, Reno) New Hampshire New Hampshire, Durham) Health Enhancement: 1 Mathematics: 2 Vocational and Technical Education: 1 Electives: Determined locally Fine Arts: Determined locally Foreign Language: Determined locally Health: Determined locally Mathematics: 2 Physical Education: Determined locally Computers: 0.5 Physical Education: 2 Electives: 6 Family and Consumer Science: 3 Fine Arts: 0.5 Information and Communication Technologies: Foreign Language/Computer Science/Fine Arts/Vocational Education: 2 Cumulative High School GPA: 2.50 ACT Score: 22 SAT Score: 1540 ACT Score: 20 SAT Score: 950 Cumulative High School GPA: 3.0 ACT Score: 22 SAT Score: 1040

11 New Jersey (Rutgers University, New Brunswick) New Mexico New Mexico, Albuquerque) New York (State University of New York System: Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo, Stony Brook) North Carolina North Carolina, Chapel Hill) 21st Century Life and Careers/Career and Technical Education: 5 2 English Language Arts: 20 2 Financial, Economic, Business, and Entrepreneurial Literacy: Fine Arts: 5 2 Foreign Language: 5 2 Health, Safety, and Physical Education: Mathematics: 15 2 Natural Sciences/Science: 15 2 Social Science/Social Studies: 15 2 Career Cluster/Workplace Readiness/Foreign Language: 1 Electives: 7.5 New Mexico History: 0.5 Electives: 3.5 Foreign Language: 1 Physical Education: 2 Electives: 6 Physical Education/Health: 1 Electives: Foreign Language: Natural Sciences/Science: The State University of New York (SUNY) system s requirements differ based on campus and individual college attended. Cumulative High School GPA: 2.5 ACT Score: 17 SAT Score:

12 North Dakota North Dakota, Grand Forks) Ohio (Ohio State University, Columbus) Oklahoma Oklahoma, Norman) Oregon Oregon, Eugene) Electives: 5 Foreign Language/Native American Languages/Fine Arts/Career and Technical Education: 3 Physical Education/Health: 1 Electives: 5 Physical Education: 0.5 Electives: 1 Electives: 6 Foreign Language/Arts/Career and Technical Education: 3 Health: 1 12 Electives: 1 Cumulative High School GPA: 3.0

13 Pennsylvania (Pennsylvania State University, University Park) Rhode Island Rhode Island, Kingston) South Carolina South Carolina, Columbia) South Dakota South Dakota, Vermillion) Electives: 5 Fine Arts: 2 Physical Education/Health: 1 Electives: 1 Foreign Language/Computer Science/Career and Technology Education: 1 Physical Education/Junior ROTC: 1 Economics/Personal Finance: 0.5 Foreign Language/Computer Studies/Career and Technical Education/Electives: 2 Physical Education/ 13 Electives: 5 Electives: 1 Physical Education/ROTC: 1 Cumulative High School GPA: 2.6

14 Tennessee Tennessee, Knoxville) Texas Texas, Austin) ACT Score: 21 SAT Score: 990 Electives: 3 Personal Finance: 0.5 Physical Education and Wellness: 1.5 Electives: 6.5 Speech: 0.5 ACT Score: The University of Tennessee uses a "Super Scoring" method of combining all test scores. SAT Score: The University of Tennessee uses a "Super Scoring" method of combining all test scores. Electives: 1.5 Fine Arts: 0.5 Utah Utah, Salt Lake City) Career and Technical Education: 1 Computer Technology: 0.5 Electives: 6.5 Physical Education/Health: 2 Electives: 4 Mathematics: 2 Social Science/Social Studies: 1 14

15 Vermont Vermont, Burlington) Virginia Virginia, Charlottesville) Washington Washington, Seattle).5 Economics and Personal Finance: 1 Electives: 4 Foreign Language/Fine Arts/Career and Technical Education: 2 Physical Education/Health: 2 Career Concentration: 2 Electives: 2 Fine Arts: 2 Occupational Education: 1.5 Social Science/Social Studies: 1 Students also must take two SAT II subject tests. Electives: 0.5 Fine Arts:

16 West Virginia (West Virginia University, Morgantown) Wisconsin Wisconsin, Madison) Wyoming Wyoming, Laramie) Career Concentration: 4 Electives: 2 Health: 1 Health Education: 1.5 Mathematics: 2.5 (2011 average: 3.36) (2011 average: 23.7) (2011 average: 1055) Fine Arts: 2 Foreign Language: Cumulative High School GPA: ACT Score: SAT Score: Fine Arts/Social and Behavioral Studies/Humanities/Career and Technical Courses: 2 Natural Sciences/Science: 4 Cumulative High School GPA: 3.0 ACT Score: 21 SAT Score:

17 References Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. (n.d.). FAQs. Retrieved from 1 All values are in Carnegie Units. According to the Carnegie Foundation, a Carnegie Unit...was developed in 1906 as a measure of the amount of time a student has studied a subject. For example, a total of 120 hours in one subject meeting 4 or 5 times a week for 40 to 60 minutes, for 36 to 40 weeks each year earns the student one 'unit' of high school credit. Fourteen units were deemed to constitute the minimum amount of preparation that could be interpreted as 'four years of academic or high school preparation (Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, n.d.). 2 In New Jersey, 5 credits are equivalent to one academic year's worth of work. 3 Credits are equivalent to a course that meets for one academic semester (one-half of an academic year). 4 In Iowa, high school graduation requirements are set by local education agencies (i.e., school districts). These values are general averages reported by districts across the state. 5 The number of credits required by Rutgers University depends on the student s major. About Pearson Everything we do at Pearson grows out of a clear mission: to help people make progress in their lives through personalized and connected learning solutions that are accessible, affordable, and that achieve results, focusing on college-and-career readiness, digital learning, educator effectiveness, and research for innovation and efficacy. Through our experience and expertise, investment in pioneering technologies, and promotion of collaboration throughout the education landscape, we continue to set the standard for leadership in education. For more information about Pearson, visit About Pearson s Research & Innovation Network Our network mission is to spark innovation and create, connect, and communicate research and development that drives more effective learning. Our vision is students and educators learning in new ways so they can progress faster in a digital world. Pearson s research papers share our experts perspectives with educators, researchers, policy makers and other stakeholders. Pearson s research publications may be obtained at: 17

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