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Falling Behind Early

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When high school students graduate, they should be ready to enter college or the workforce, U.S. policymakers insist. But the sad fact is, too few will have the skills and knowledge necessary to make those transitions, reports the Triangle Coalition, an advocacy group for STEM education. It cites a recent report commissioned by the National High School Center that found that the problems begin before pupils enter high school. Most students — especially low-income and minority students — are not meeting university- and career-readiness targets by 8th grade, the study found. Ergo, most students are almost certain fall short of those targets once they move on to high school from middle school. Moreover, it said, the least prepared students were unlikely to have completed any math courses beyond algebra II by the time they graduated, and even those who had taken some advanced math classes were still unlikely to meet readiness targets. However, the coalition reports, the study also gives educators guidance on how to better identify underprepared students earlier on, as well as methods to scour through student-achievement data to find intervention techniques that can help struggling students.

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