… College and career readiness, less so

In California, about 44% of graduating seniors were deemed prepared for college or postsecondary careers in 2018-19. The state’s “college and career indicator” factors whether students passed the 11th grade Smarter Balanced reading and math exams or mastered advanced coursework, and whether students met the state’s A-G requirements to attend the University of California or California State University.

While overall college and career readiness is inching toward improvement, there remain yawning gaps in preparedness for the state’s most disadvantaged students. English learners (16.8% preparedness), foster youth (13.3%) and students with disabilities (10.8%) have the lowest readiness rates in California.

Achievement gaps in earlier grades also play out as students leave the state’s public school system. Researchers with The Education Trust-West in 2017 traced racial, ethnic and income disparities in which students had access and participated in advanced coursework, such as AP classes that let high school students earn college credits early. More black and Latino high schoolers were taking AP courses, Ed Trust-West reported, but fewer than half of them were passing.