As I read through this Chronicle of Higher Education article (see link below), I couldn’t help but think of the “three-legged stool” metaphor for the Massachusetts Model of Guidance Counselors… that students need support in three areas: academic, social/emotional, and career counseling or support.
While the article references 13 strategies that can help students graduate from college, it notes two that resonate with alignment and a third strategy that, well…. just makes sense: 1) fast-tracking remedial education, 2) providing students with experiential learning, and 3) requiring students to attend college orientation.
The purpose of the academic alignment work in math and English is to have our secondary-to-postsecondary curriculum aligned so that high school seniors will not NEED to “fast track remediation.” Our goal is that students will graduate at or very near to college level.
Additionally, the importance of experiential learning is heard loud and clear in our career-vocational programs, where students have the opportunity to access both academic and career-related skills. With 16+ years as the CVTE Linkage/Tech Prep Coordinator, I’ve developed tremendous respect for career-vocational education. Students with a career goal are four times more likely to graduate from college (Sorry I can’t cite that at the moment…). There is nothing better than learning in context.
And to round out that three-legged stool: attending orientation. Seems like a no-brainer to me that retention is higher where orientation is mandated. Expectations are set high right from the start, and students must learn about all of the support systems that are in place to assist them on their path.