Giving Compass' Take:

• A recent report released by RAND Corporation explores how schools can help students prepare for college and career readiness and offers guiding principles for educators and policymakers to make these supports accessible to all students.

• How will school closures due to COVID-19 impact students' long-term planning for college and future careers?

• Read about the long-lasting impacts of COVID-19 on education in 2020.

In the span of three weeks, education as we knew it has changed. States, districts, and schools have scrambled with multiple decisions: if or how to offer equitable, effective instruction online; when and if to conduct state testing; and how to provide meals and other services to students who need them.

Given that how we respond to the pandemic today will likely have longer-term impacts, we also need to think of the population actively preparing for that future: high school students looking to enter into college and careers now or in the next several years.

Today, we released a report that gives insight into how high school teachers and principals view how student college and career readiness is supported in their schools. The work is based on RAND's American Educator Panels, nationally representative samples of educators who provide their feedback on important issues of educational policy and practice.

Our data show that most schools provide a variety of supports for college and career readiness. However, the results also demonstrate substantial disparities in students' access to these supports, both between and within schools. Low-income, minority, and low-achieving students have less access to school-based supports than their counterparts within the same schools.

There is no clear set of solutions to these challenges. However, we can offer some guiding principles for educators and policymakers to consider as they adapt to school closures in the short term and plan for longer-term, post-closure student supports.

  • Staying connected is critical.
  • The unique challenges and inequities faced by today's high school students will need to be considered by postsecondary institutions over the next several years.
  • Students and their families need different ways to access important information.
  • Equitable internet access is crucial.

Read the full article about navigating college and career readiness by Melanie A. Zaber at RAND.