New 50-State Report

Thursday, September 13, 2012Printer-friendly version
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New 50-State Report From Achieve Details States' Commitment to College and Career Readiness

WASHINGTON – September 13, 2012 – With all 50 states and the District of Columbia having adopted college- and career-ready standards in English and mathematics, Achieve's seventh annual "Closing the Expectations Gap" report, released today, shows how all states are aligning those standards with policies to send clear signals to students about what it means to be academically prepared for college and careers after high school graduation. For the first time, the report also details not only states' policy progress on the college- and career-ready agenda but also their efforts to implement those policies since only faithful implementation can improve student achievement. The report was released during the opening session of Achieve's eighth annual American Diploma Project Leadership Team Meeting in Alexandria, Va., which brought together nearly 300 education leaders in cross-sector teams from 34 states.

"With all states adopting college- and career-ready standards, they have now taken the first step towards reorienting the mission of their K-12 systems to reflect the demands of the 21st century," said Mike Cohen, Achieve's president, to a crowd of education leaders from across the country. "As this report shows, various states are making some movement towards fulfilling the college- and career-ready agenda by putting new policies in place to support this new mission, but there is still much room for progress to be made."

Achieve conducts an annual policy survey that asks all 50 states and the District of Columbia whether they have adopted standards, graduation requirements, assessments and accountability systems aligned to the expectations of two- and four-year colleges and employers. The national survey of state education leaders has measured the same areas of reform each year since the National Governors Association and Achieve co-sponsored the National Education Summit in 2005 and this year's survey reveals the following results:

  • Standards: All 50 states and the District of Columbia have adopted standards aligned to the expectations of college and careers. 46 states and DC have adopted the Common Core State Standards, while four have state-developed CCR standards. By 2015-16, all English language arts and mathematics instruction should reflect CCR expectations.
  • Graduation Requirements: Today, 23 states and the District of Columbia have adopted college- and career-ready graduation requirements that require all students to meet the full set of expectations defined in the CCSS. Hawaii, Iowa, and Washington raised their graduation requirements to the college- and career-ready level in 2011.
  • Assessments: Today, 18 states administer college- and career-ready high school assessments capable of producing a readiness score that postsecondary institutions use to make placement decisions. Four new states - Florida, North Carolina, Oregon and Wyoming - joined this list in 2011 by adopting a policy to administer a college- and career-ready test to its high school students. It is expected that 44 states and the District of Columbia participating in one or both Race to the Top assessment consortia will meet this criteria when the next generation assessments are administered for the first time in 2014-2015.
  • Accountability: A majority of states, 32, have now incorporated at least one of four accountability indicators that Achieve has identified as critical to promoting college and career readiness. As in last year's report, only Texas meets Achieve's criteria regarding the use of all indicators in its college- and career-ready accountability system. Additionally, four states - Florida, Georgia, Indiana, and Kentucky - have included the use of multiple college- and career-ready indicators in their accountability systems in multiple ways.

Since last year, states have made important gains on the college- and career-ready agenda with all adopting college- and career-ready standards and additional states moving towards more accountability. Even as additional progress is made, states have further to go by turning their attention to the implementation of standards and related policies. "States and the larger education community must make sure educators have access to resources like quality instructional materials and effective professional development," Cohen urged. "Success is going to take the combined effort of all education stakeholders - students, teachers, principals, K-12 leaders, school board members, superintendents, administrators, policymakers, postsecondary education leaders, the business community, and parents."

Cohen also pointed to the sharing of a common set of standards by 46 states and the District of Columbia that has produced unprecedented cross-state collaboration around common assessments and gauging the quality of instructional products. He went on to say, "The next few years will be challenging for the college- and career-ready agenda and we have to stay the course. States have made tremendous progress towards college and career readiness for all by communicating its importance within, but also by standing together. Because of this commitment by all 50 states and the District of Columbia, college and career readiness is an expectation of our students no matter where they live."

To see a full copy of the report, go to

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About Achieve
Created in 1996 by the nation's governors and corporate leaders, Achieve is an independent, bipartisan, nonprofit education reform organization based in Washington D.C., that helps states raise academic standards and graduation requirements, improve assessments, and strengthen accountability. Achieve is leading the effort to make college and career readiness a national priority so that the transition from high school graduation to postsecondary education and careers is seamless. In 2005 Achieve launched the American Diploma Project Network. Starting with 13 original states, the Network has now grown to include 35 states educating nearly 85 percent of all U.S. public school students. Through the ADP Network, governors, state education officials, postsecondary leaders and business executives work together to improve postsecondary preparation by aligning key policies with the demands of college and careers. Achieve partnered with NGA and CCSSO on the Common Core State Standards Initiative and was selected by states to manage the PARCC assessment consortia. The PARCC consortium was awarded Race to the Top assessment funds to create next generation assessments in math and English aligned to the CCSS. Achieve is also managing a state-led process to develop K-12 Next Generation Science Standards based on the National Research Council's Framework for K-12 Science Education. For more information about the work of Achieve, visit