Closing the Expectations Gap: Fourth Annual 50-State Progress Report on the Alignment of High School Policies with the Demands of College and Careers

Ben Hoffman

Achieve, Inc.
American Diploma Project Network
February 2009

While many in the education reform community focus on closing the achievement gap, this compendium marks Achieve's fourth annual summary of states' efforts to close the expectations gap--the gulf between high school exit requirements, and colleges' and employers' entrance expectations. This report gauges whether states possess five main things: standards, graduation requirements, assessments, P-20 longitudinal data systems, and accountability measures. Since the report is annual, we can look at previous editions (2008, 2007, and 2006) to judge actual progress. For instance, in 2008, 13 states anticipated aligning their standards with college readiness requirements by 2009--yet only 4 actually did so. Still, since the 2005 National Education Summit on High Schools there has been a sea change in states aligning their K-12 academic expectations with those of colleges and employers. Four years ago, just 2 states had college- and career-ready graduation requirements; today, 20 (plus D.C.) have them. Three years ago, only three states had P-20 longitudinal data systems; now 12 do. The report also has a nifty state-by-state chart detailing in which categories states excelled and which they fell short. Texas, for example, has the most effective policies in place, while Georgia, Tennessee, and Washington have taken significant steps in that direction since 2006. To see for yourself, click here.

More By Author