What Will It Take to Make America's Youth College-Ready?

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Pearson's College Readiness Issue Paper Outlines Challenge, Points to Research-Based Solutions

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leave high school with the bare minimum qualifications necessary to apply

Pearson, the world's leading education publishing and technology company, today released College Readiness, an issue paper designed to guide policymakers, educators and administrators as they grapple with one of the significant hurdles affecting America's future prosperity. College Readiness distills the knowledge around this singular challenge and points to research-based solutions in math that have shown demonstrable results.

"The research is clear that if we're going to close the college readiness gap, improve college retention rates, and, in turn, increase our capacity to compete on the global stage, then we must as a nation ensure our students have rigorous math skills," said Will Ethridge, CEO of Pearson's North American education businesses.

According to research cited in College Readiness, most students leave high school without the rigorous academic preparation necessary for success in college. Fewer than half of high school graduates "leave high school with the bare minimum qualifications necessary to apply" to a four-year college, according to a recent Manhattan Institute for Policy Research study funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

College Readiness outlines how success in Algebra is critical to achieving college readiness. According to the National Mathematics Advisory Panel, "Students who complete Algebra II are more than twice as likely to graduate from college compared to students with less mathematical preparation." This realization has brought increased attention to pre-Algebra performance and instruction, particularly at the middle school level, where "the sharp falloff in mathematics achievement in the US begins," the panel noted.

The economic costs of poor preparation for college are staggering--at a time when the US can least afford it. Colleges, universities and the government spend billions of dollars annually on remedial courses, with estimates ranging from $1.4 billion a year to $2.89 billion a year. In addition, students who need remedial courses take more time to complete their degrees, adding to their total college costs.

Despite the grim data, promising solutions exist to address college readiness. For example, institutions that redesign the way their introductory courses are taught have reduced course rates for drops, failures and withdrawals, according to research by Carol Twigg at the National Center for Academic Transformation (NCAT). One college increased retention and saved close to $70,000 as a result of redesigning an introductory math course.

"Pearson's strategy to accelerate our investments in technology and learning solutions has produced evidence of dramatic gains in achievement through innovative learning platforms like MyMathLab and MathXL," said Will Ethridge.

MyMathLab and MathXL actively engage students in learning, so students spend more time working math problems. Both programs are self-paced and teachers can customize the programs to suit their students' level of knowledge. The programs can be used in any environment--lab-based, hybrid, distance learning or classroom-based.

At the secondary level, MathXL has been successfully adapted to help ensure students graduate ready to handle college-level math. For example, Louisiana State University created a pilot program using MathXL to bring college-level math to students at rural and urban schools across the state. The high school students take the same homework, quizzes, tests and final exam as the university students using the MathXL software. More information about Pearson's MathXL is available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_P53ieK6tyI&feature=PlayList&p=8CFBC4D91C3D674C&index=0&playnext=1.

For more information about Pearson's solutions to address college readiness, and a downloadable copy of the College Readiness issue paper, go to http://www.pearsoned.com. College Readiness is one of four Pearson education issue papers to be released in the coming months.

About Pearson
Pearson (NYSE:PSO), the global leader in education and education technology, reaches and engages today's digital natives with effective and personalized learning, as well as dedicated professional development for their teachers. This commitment is demonstrated in the company's investment in innovative print and digital education materials for preK through college, student information systems and learning management systems, teacher professional development, career certification programs, and testing and assessment products that set the standard for the industry. The company's respected brands include Scott Foresman, Prentice Hall, Addison Wesley, Benjamin Cummings, PEMSolutions, Stanford 10, SuccessNet, MyLabs, PowerSchool, SuccessMaker and many others. Pearson's comprehensive offerings help inform targeted instruction and intervention so that success is within reach of every student at every level of education. Pearson's commitment to education for all is supported by the global philanthropic initiatives of the Pearson Foundation. Pearson's other primary businesses include the Financial Times Group and the Penguin Group. For more information, go to http://www.pearson.com.

Susan Aspey
Susan.aspey(at)pearson.com or 347-421-2473

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