Maryland Teens to Undergo Major Evaluations for College and Career Readiness

During a meeting of the Maryland Higher Education Commission on Wednesday, officials discussed the potential impact of the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future on college and career readiness assessments for students, among other topics.

Emily Dow, assistant secretary of Academic Affairs, provided updates on the progress of implementing the Blueprint, which aims to increase access to higher education and career training, as well as support the education of future public school teachers.

As part of the Blueprint, education-focused state agencies, including MHEC, were required to submit an implementation plan. MHEC submitted their plan in March, which includes the creation of teaching fellows scholarships and loan assistance programs for public school teachers.

The Blueprint also calls for collaboration between MHEC and other state and local education agencies to establish alternative teacher certification pathways and college readiness standards.

One of the main topics discussed during the meeting was how to effectively determine if high school students are prepared for college or career opportunities after graduation.

The Accountability & Implementation Board proposed new standards that would assess a student’s college and career readiness. For instance, students with a minimum GPA of 3.0 and a passing grade in algebra 1 by the end of 10th grade would meet the standard.

Students who don’t meet these criteria can demonstrate proficiency and readiness through standardized testing, such as the MCAP assessments. Those who struggle with the exams would receive additional support to meet the required metrics by the time they graduate high school.

However, Commissioner Chike Aguh expressed concerns that the proposed metrics primarily focus on college readiness and may not adequately assess career readiness.

In response, Dow acknowledged the concern, but mentioned that the issue has been discussed and recognized by the Accountability and Implementation Board. She confirmed that there are ongoing efforts to address this aspect of college and career readiness.

The committee also discussed challenges faced by students transferring from community colleges to four-year institutions.

Dow highlighted a common issue where students transfer to a four-year institution, but some of their courses are not accepted and they are required to retake similar courses. This problem often goes unnoticed by the sending institution.

In 2021, the General Assembly passed the Transfer with Success Act to address this issue. MHEC is currently working on implementing changes to the credit transfer process.

Maryland’s institutions of higher education submitted implementation plans in January, outlining strategies to improve credit transfers between institutions.

Dow mentioned that the plans varied, with some institutions focusing on improving credit transfers within their immediate partnering institutions, while others prioritized credit transfers for popular majors that receive transfer students.

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