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.

Content/Skills Within A Secondary School Course Is What Counts

The California State Board of Education has required that all grade 8 students must be tested on a statewide high stakes exam in Algebra 1. Education Week has an article on how controversial all this is, but everyone agrees it is not the course label that counts for student achievement, but what is in the course. Algebra 1 is one gateway to college success, but Algerbra 2 is also necessary.ACT published a detailed prescription for Algebra 1 in its 2006 report, On Course for Success that has the specifics a good algebra 1 and 2 program needs- see pages 37ff. The whole publication has other college readiness attributes such as notetaking that math students need for college prep. View it on

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