American diploma

American Diploma Project Defines What High School Graduates Need To Know, Says Many Fall Short

WASHINGTON — Feb. 10, 2004 — High school graduates must master more English and math for their diplomas to signify readiness for jobs and college, says the American Diploma Project (ADP), which today released new graduation benchmarks.

As states raise high school graduation requirements to link them more closely to the demands that graduates face, colleges and employers must reward graduates who meet those requirements. The three ADP sponsors — Achieve, Inc.; The Education Trust and the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation — call upon higher education, employers and policymakers to tie admissions, placement and hiring decisions to solid new 12th grade high school exit standards.

"No state can now claim that every student who earns a high school diploma is prepared academically for postsecondary education and work. The policy tools necessary to change this do in fact exist — but they are not being used effectively, " the American Diploma Project contends in Ready or Not: Creating a High School Diploma that Counts. The full report is available at www.achieve.org.

Based on both statistical analysis of employment data and extensive research involving more than 300 faculty members from two- and four-year postsecondary institutions, front-line managers, and high school educators, the ADP benchmarks concretely define the English and math that graduates must master to succeed in credit-bearing college courses and high-performance, high-growth jobs. Its key findings: employers' and colleges' academic demands for high school graduates have converged, yet states' current high-school exit expectations fall well short of those demands.

The two-year American Diploma Project was funded by a $2.4 million grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. ADP enlisted five states — Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Nevada and Texas — as research partners and pioneers in carrying out key elements of the ADP policy agenda.


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