The College Puzzle Blog
Prior PostingsAbout
Dr. Michael W. Kirst

Michael W. Kirst is Professor Emeritus of Education and Business Administration at Stanford University since 1969.
Dr. Kirst received his Ph.D. in political economy and government from Harvard. Before joining the Stanford University faculty, Dr. Kirst held several positions with the federal government, including Staff Director of the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Manpower, Employment and Poverty. He was a former president of the California State Board of Education. His book From High School to College with Andrea Venezia was published by Jossey Bass in 2004.

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My blog discusses the important and complex subjects of college completion, college success, student risk factors (for failing), college readiness, and academic preparation. I will explore the pieces of the college puzzle that heavily influence, if not determine, college success rates.

College Readiness Has Many Dimensions

How do we know whether high school students are ready for college? This is a complex subject with many dimensions. For example, according to a paper by Davit T. Conley for the Gates Foundation, college instructors expect students to draw inferences, interpret results, analyze conflicting source documents, support arguements with evidence, solve complex problems that have no obvious answer, and conduct research. This is a lot more than just memorizing facts and being able to answer multiple choice questions. Many secondary school students have no idea that colleges expect these types of skills. Colleges expect students to be independent , self reliant learners that can write multiple 3-5 page papers that are well reasoned and documented with credible sources.
Conley"s full paper is at


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