Models of How We Get to College Readiness

Various Approaches to Helping High School Students Be Better Prepared for Entering College English

The Literacy Design Collaborative

The Literacy Design Collaborative (LDC) is a fresh approach to incorporating literacy into middle and high school content areas and promoting college readiness standards. The LDC allows teachers to build content on top of a coherent approach to literacy. Whether in science, math, social studies, or English, the LDC is designed to help teachers use reading and writing as a means to teach important content in their subject area.

The LDC presents multiple pre-designed templates for expository, persuasive, and narrative writing assignments that are flexible enough for teachers to add their own content. The LDC provides the framework; teachers add the content. These frameworks include sets of skills, approaches for teaching these skills, and rubrics for evaluating student work. The LDC makes it easy for teachers to build complete learning modules.

The LDC is new as of 2012, and its development has been funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

California State University Approach: Early Assessment Program
CSU's Early Assessment Program (EAP)s one of the largest scale, most thoughtfully and professionally pursued efforts to address college preparedness in the country. Focused on English and Math, the EAP approach has three components:

  1. early testing in students' Junior year to assess college readiness (using an augmented version of the California Standards Test, the equivalent of our TAKS test)--EAP Information
  2. the opportunity for additional preparation in the 12th grade by taking a specially designed senior English course (the Expository Reading and Writing Course)--Overview | Course Materials
  3. professional development activities for high school English and mathematics teachers

Rather than inventing the wheel from scratch, Texas would do well to emulate this model for addressing college readiness. High School teachers will be particularly interested in the curriculum of the 12th grade Expository Reading and Writing Course. In addition, CSU uses their own English Placement Test, and they have made their criteria for passing explicit (see EPT scoring guide) and they have developed a site devoted to helping students prepare and pass this placement test (see CSU English Success site ) that is integrated with the EAP program.

AVID Approach

From the AVID website: "AVID is a fourth- through twelfth-grade system to prepare students in the academic middle for four-year college eligibility. It has a proven track record in bringing out the best in students, and in closing the achievement gap. AVID stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination."

Key parts of this program include
--AVID Students: middle performing students who choose to be in the program and take challenging classes (pre-AP and AP classes, at least one)
--AVID Elective: these students sign up for an AVID elective class where the AVID curriculum is taught
--AVID Curriculum: supplemental instruction and study skills taught following the WICR model (writing, inquiry, collaboration, reading)
--AVID Faculty: faculty are required to go through training
--AVID Tutors: college students tutor students during their elective period

Whereas the CSU EAP program is a last chance intervention program for college readiness, AVID is a sustained effort over multiple years that offers supplemental instruction and support geared toward preparing for college. It has shown excellent results, and as of Fall 2007 is over 3,500 schools in 45 states. San Antonio has many schools that participate in AVID.

Pathways to College Network: College Readiness for All Toolbox
--a toolbox for increasing postsecondary preparation and access for all students. Pathways to College Network is an alliance of national organizations dedicated to improve college access and success for underserved students. It represents a well-designed and established program for converting the culture of a school.


 Site created by L. Lennie Irvin, July 2008 | Page last updated on October 4, 2012 | Sponsored by the San Antonio Writing Project

from Ann Bertoff's The Making of Meaning: Metaphors, Models, and Maxims for Writing Teachers

Begin with where they are
This is a maxim reclaimed from those who mean by it, "Begin with where they are as--dummies, incapable of understanding anything that isn't factored and reduced to manageable bits." It was for a time the motto of those who favored relevance; they tried to make a virtue of deprivation: "If they can't read, don't waste time with books. Show films. Just talk--never mind about that." I first saw that it didn't have to mean that when a teacher said to me, "They've been there long enough!"

It can mean: "Begin with where they are as language animals, endowed with the form-finding and form-creating powers of mind and language." Then the maxim can help us redefine just who "they" are in philosophical terms. This is what Paulo Freire did. He began his literacy training with Brazilian peasants by having them name their world--by naming tools, places, jobs, people in their lives. These "generative words" provided the means for making meaning. (9-10)