The Senate Site What’s Right With Utah Ed: College Prep

What’s Right With Utah Ed: College Prep

Posted in 2012, 2013, Featured on Friday, March 8th, 2013 at 7:01 PM No Comments

By Margaret Dayton
Utah State Senator, District 15

 Extensive college preparation for the over 30,000 students who graduate from high school each year in Utah is essential if we want 66% of adults to earn a post-secondary degree or certificate. Utah has become a national leader in students enrolled in and passing Advanced Placement (AP) tests. In 2012, 20,499 students took 33,017 AP exams, passing them at a rate of 68%. This is over 9 points higher than the national average of 59%. Because of this, Utah now ranks 11th in the nation in percentage of students passing AP exams.

These results show that more Utah students are better preparing themselves for college and careers,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Martell Menlove, “and that’s good news for those students and for our collective future.” Students who pass AP classes enter college with credits they can apply towards their degree. This saves students money on tuition and cuts down on time until graduation and them entering the workforce.

In addition to earning college credits through AP courses, concurrent enrollment teaches college level courses at local universities and colleges and provides high school students with another opportunity to receive college credit. In the 2011-2012 school year over 27,000 students took advantage of concurrent enrollment receiving nearly 200,000 college credits.

The opportunities of earning college credit through AP courses and concurrent enrollment make scoring well on college assessment tests like the ACT all the more important. Students who actively study and practice for the ACT score much higher on the test. And higher ACT scores help students get into better colleges and obtain academic scholarships.

The Utah State Senate recently passed the Assessment of College Readiness, SB 175, to adopt the ACT college readiness assessment for high school students. The bill requires school districts and charter schools to provide the assessment for students beginning in 2013-2014. SB 175 will also provide an online service to prepare the students to take the college assessment tests. The bill allows teachers to assist in instruction and provide online study materials, diagnostic exams, and practice tests to engage the students in the preparatory learning process.

By providing a wide range of college preparation options to our high school students we can guide them on their path to higher education and high paying jobs.

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