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What Does It Really Mean to Be College and Work Ready?: Executive Summary

This executive summary accompanies the full report What Does It Really Mean to Be College and Work Ready?, a study of the English Literacy and Mathematics required for success in the first year of community college.

The two volume report, What Does It Really Mean to Be College and Work Ready: The English and Mathematics Required by First Year Community College Students, is the result of a groundbreaking two-year study, which examined the skills and knowledge in mathematics and English literacy that high school graduates need to succeed in the first year of their community college programs. Roughly 45 percent of our nation’s undergraduates are attending community colleges, according to the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC). About half of those students are training to go directly into the workforce and enter popular fields such as nursing, law-enforcement, auto-mechanics or education, while others are working to complete the first two-years of a four-year degree program.

The study found that students are failing to learn the basic math and English skills and concepts needed for success in community colleges, and students who cannot succeed in the first year of a community college program are surely not ready for success in college or the workplace. It includes policy recommendations to enable more U.S. high school graduates to succeed in our community colleges.