McGraw-Hill Education Expert Encourages Improved K-20 Curriculum Alignment to Prepare All High School Students for the 21st Century

Founder of First Comprehensive Online College Admissions and Counseling Service Stresses Need for Better Transition from High School to College

Jan 12, 2010, 11:54 ET from McGraw-Hill Education

NEW YORK, Jan. 12, /PRNewswire/ -- What is the primary purpose of a high school education? According to Jeff Livingston, senior vice president of McGraw-Hill Education's College & Career Readiness Center, the purpose should be to provide students with a foundation for learning that will support their education and career objectives for the rest of their lives.  Livingston explains that cooperation between secondary and higher education institutions can help ensure that these students are fully prepared for future success.

Today Livingston released a position paper, "Preparing All High School Students for Success at the Postsecondary Level is Critical to U.S. Economic Growth and Security," in which he supports a seamless transition from high school to college for all college-bound seniors and a national effort to achieve that goal by:

  • Aligning state high school standards and assessments with the demands of college and career success in the 21st Century;
  • Requiring all high school graduates to complete a curriculum designed specifically to help make them college- and career-ready;
  • Building into every state's assessment system a measurement of student readiness for college and career; and
  • Encouraging the development of statewide P-20 longitudinal data systems that can match K-12 data with postsecondary data and track the individual progress of students from Kindergarten through college graduation.

Studies show that the gap between the earnings of workers with a bachelor's degree and those with only a high school diploma has grown to more than 60 percent. The good news is that more U.S. high school seniors do plan to go on to college after graduation; the bad news is that a large and growing number are not adequately prepared to perform at the college level when they arrive.

"The fact is that high schools do their best with the resources at their disposal to prepare students for their postsecondary lives," Livingston said. "With respect to college readiness, we have found that high school students can be divided into three main groups, the largest of which is not being prepared adequately for college level work or postsecondary training. This is a group that we must engage and an issue that we must address overall."

These three groups include 1) students who have been preparing for college since middle school or earlier, often from upper-middle-class families, that tend to do well in college, 2) students from lower-income districts who achieve at the postsecondary level, despite their unfamiliarity with college life, because they are highly motivated to get ahead, and 3) the large middle group of students from regular classes (i.e., not vocational, AP or Honors), often from middle- or low-income working families, who are often not being prepared adequately for college level work or postsecondary training.  

Livingston stresses that college success depends upon more than academic performance, and some students fail to thrive in college because they are not prepared for the responsibility.  

"At McGraw-Hill Education, we believe high school students can be best prepared for whatever comes next with a rigorous curriculum that includes increasingly more challenging work, aligned with formal instruction on what life after high school is really going to be like – not just in college or trade school – but in the ongoing pursuit of a successful career in any field.  Because in the knowledge economy of the 21st Century, learning never stops," Livingston said.

To download "Preparing All High School Students for Success at the Postsecondary Level is Critical to U.S. Economic Growth and Security," visit

About McGraw-Hill Education's Applied, Career and & College Readiness Center

In June 2009, McGraw-Hill Education introduced the Applied, Career and & College Readiness Center (ACCR) with the focus of preparing students for the workplace after high school, the adult education programs that help put people to work and advance careers, and the college readiness products and services designed to help high school students attain the skills needed to excel in higher education. Livingston, the former president and CEO of, the first comprehensive online college admissions and counseling service, leads ACCR. For more information, please visit

About McGraw-Hill Education

McGraw-Hill Education, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE: MHP), is a leading global provider of print and digital instructional, assessment and reference solutions that empower professionals and students of all ages. McGraw-Hill Education has offices in 33 countries and publishes in more than 65 languages. Additional information is available at

SOURCE McGraw-Hill Education