On Course for Success: A Close Look at Selected High School Courses That Prepare All Students for College

Jennifer Leischer

ACT and The Education Trust
February 2005

ACT and EdTrust team up to take a closer look at the high school courses that are doing the best job of preparing kids for college. Their report builds upon ACT's October 2004 report, "Crisis at the Core: Preparing All Students for College and Work," which found that fewer than 61 percent of high schoolers take the minimum core curriculum that ostensibly readies them for college - but even these core classes aren't getting the job done. This report looks at specific "courses for success" in ten schools with high performing students (based on ACT scores and demographics) to determine precisely what, in practice, makes advanced courses (e.g. physics, calculus, advanced English) work. High-level college-oriented content is the first and most obvious key. But curriculum is only one piece of the puzzle. Successful classes also had well-qualified and engaged teachers and provided tutoring assistance for struggling students. Model syllabi from the 69 classes in the study are included. Find it here.

More By Author