Utah higher ed leaders support Higher Ed for Higher Standards

In the last two weeks, both the SAGE test results and the 2015 ACT report “The Condition of College and Career Readiness” show more Utah students need to graduate from high school ready for college.

For example: Over half of students arriving on the campuses of Utah’s public colleges and universities need remediation in math, learning or re-learning material they should have mastered in high school.

And less than half of students at institutions in the Utah System of Higher Education (USHE) complete their degree within eight years. While there are many reasons for students not completing their degree, inadequate academic preparation would significantly impact the ability of these students to graduate in a timely manner.

Commissioner of Higher Education David L. Buhler, along with all eight presidents of Utah’s public colleges and universities, recently joined a growing coalition of higher education leaders nationwide in supporting higher education standards for students across the nation—Higher Ed for Higher Standards.

The mission of Higher Ed for Higher Standards is to elevate the voices of higher ed leaders in supporting K-12 educators as they implement college- and career-ready standards, and support these leaders in the adoption of aligned higher ed policies that leverage more ambitious K–12 standards and assessments.

Higher Ed for Higher Standards has adopted the following principles:

  1. Every state should insist on K-12 academic standards that adequately prepare students for college and careers, so every young person has the opportunity to pursue postsecondary education, or quality training and careers, after high school.
  2. New college- and career-ready assessments are critical. Such instruments are necessary to provide better feedback to teachers, parents and students, and offer more meaningful information on students’ postsecondary preparation.
  3. Higher education has a clear and compelling stake in this debate. Effective implementation of college- and career-ready standards is an important step toward improving college readiness, and improving completion rates at our two- and four-year institutions and among our job training programs.

Utah colleges and universities are partnering with high schools to provide college-ready initiatives and other supports to help students transition to USHE institutions better prepared. And there are statewide programs such as Utah Scholars and the Regents’ Scholarship which have been proven to motivate students to take the right courses in order to graduate high school ready for college. Also, Utah higher ed’s newly redesigned website, StepUpUtah.com, contains the best advice for Utah students, parents and counselors on college readiness and success.

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