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Diplomas Count: Broader Horizons: The Challenge of College Readiness for All Students

Abstract

"At a time when only seven in 10 American students graduate from high school in four years, President Barack Obama is demanding that the nation raise its educational sights even higher, asking all Americans to commit to at least one year of education after high school. Ultimately, he wants the United States to retake a pre-eminent place in the global education arena by boasting the world's highest proportion of college graduates by 2020. President Obama is the most prominent of a growing number of American policymakers to embrace the idea that some form of postsecondary education is crucial to students' success after high school. The 2009 edition of Diplomas Count, titled Broader Horizons: The Challenge of College Readiness for All Students, examines that idea.

As this report points out, what it means to be ready to attend college is open to argument, with no firm consensus on how to measure college readiness or ensure that all students clear such a bar. Moreover, high schools aren't equally equipped to help students navigate the college-application and financial-aid system--a particularly difficult process for low-income youths. And the call for more attention to college-going rates comes amid troubling data on the proportion of U.S. students who graduate from high school in the traditional four-year timespan."

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