The College Puzzle Blog
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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.

Conflicting Tests; College Ready, NCLB, Minimum High School Graduation

The latest issue of the Gadfly by Fordham Foundation has an admission from both the Massachusetts State Superintendent and State Board Chair that the passing high school graduation cut score on MCAS is 8th grade level, and is nowhere near college ready. But Mass. is caught in the same vise as other states. If they raise the cut score to college ready level then huge numbers of students will fail to graduate, and many high schools will not make NCLB annual progress.Meanwhile students get an incorrect signal from MCAS that they are prepared for college. This is particularly true for community college students who know there are no entrance requirements.
We need to figure a way out of this bind by having colleges be clear on what is needed for college success and college completion. Colleges need to set cut scores on k-12 tests the way Texas and California State University has done. K-12 cannot solve this misleading testing situation on its own.

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