Eight States to Test Two Year High School Plan

Filed under: In The News

For students who think their high school years are a waste of time, there may be a way to shorten those four years of learning and skip right to college.

In fall 2011, 10th graders in eight states will be allowed to pass a series of tests -- including English, science and history -- that will allow them to graduate from high school and then enroll in community college, The New York Times reports. Students who plan to continue their education at "a selective college" may continue with college prep courses in their junior and senior high school years. Students who fail the 10th-grade tests can try again at the end of their 11th and 12th grades, the newspaper says.

The states testing this program are Connecticut, Kentucky, Maine, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont, The Times reports. Each state will attempt to involve at least 10 schools.

This system, based on programs in "high-performing nations" such as England, Singapore and Denmark, is being set forth by the National Center on Education and the Economy. The Times reports that the center's goals include "insuring that students have mastered a set of basic requirements and reducing the numbers of high school graduates who need remedial courses when they enroll in college." Often, students who do not have the skills, drop out and do not receive their college degrees.

Those who support this new program believe remedial course offerings in community colleges would decrease because the testing would ensure the students are prepared as they enter the colleges, the newspaper says.

"That's a central problem we're trying to address, the enormous failure rate of these kids when they go to the open admission colleges. We've looked at schools all over the world, and if you walk into a high school in the countries that use these board exams, you'll see kids working hard, whether they want to be a carpenter or a brain surgeon," Marc S. Tucker, president of the National Center on Education and the Economy, tells The Times.

The Times says this program will give students "a clear outline of what they need to study to succeed," according to Phil Daro, a member of an advisory committee for the effort.

As it is today, those entering community colleges from high school are often unable to pass the tests used to flag a student who needs remedial classes.

Funding for this pilot program will come from some federal stimulus money as well as $1.5 million received from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The Times states.

Related: Real 'Community' -- What Community College Is Actually Like

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.