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Closing The Achievement Gap - Banner


Institutes of Higher Education

“...even during this time of crisis all over California, there are thousands of educators bringing innovation, creativity, energy, and heart into our schools and classrooms.”

—Jack O'Connell, California Superintendent of Public Instruction


Partnerships between schools and colleges are becoming more common as schools and communities explore new ways to cultivate a culture of academic success and close the achievement gap. Many of these partnerships focus on enrichment, compensatory, and motivational concerns—often for students who are at risk, underrepresented, or may not be well served through conventional programs. Some of these partnerships involve concurrent enrollment models between high schools and colleges, which provide an opportunity for high school students to engage in college-level courses usually for simultaneous high school and college credit. Courses are offered on high school and/or college campuses and build an important bridge between high school and college for students—particularly those who may not have thought about college. Students earn both high school and college credit for the courses they take, thereby saving money on future college costs and gaining confidence that they can succeed as full-time college students.

For some students, the typical high school environment is not engaging and its purpose seems unclear. Therefore, these students may have few incentives to do well, especially if college seems out of reach and too expensive. School–college partnerships can be a successful strategy in closing the achievement gap by giving students access to a broader range of learning activities and facilities, which high schools may generally be unable to offer, and by using targeted motivational strategies. Such partnerships assist in the shared goal of lowering the achievement gap by empowering students to become successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens, and effective contributors to society and at work.

Resources & Tools

Early Assessment Program
The Early Assessment Program (EAP) is a nationally recognized collaboration involving the California State Board of Education, California Department of Education, and California State University to promote college readiness. Students can also access online college prep tools from this site and the CSU Math Success Web site.

Raising Student Achievement Through Effective Education Partnerships (PDF)
This document, developed by Alliance for Regional Collaboration to Heighten Educational Success (ARCHES), examines the role of school–university partnerships in supporting the achievement of California's students. Included are reports on seven successful education partnerships.

Taking Center Stage, Act II: A Portal for Middle Grades Educators
Partnering with colleges and universities is discussed under Recommendation 12 of the California Department of Education's Taking Center Stage, Act II Web site.

University–Community Engagement
The University of California's University–Community Engagement (UCE) supports and promotes campus-community collaboration dedicated to improving K–12 student learning and achievement. UCE promotes collaborations and partnerships that respect and build community capacity to improve student learning and achievement and work to connect community organizations to a wealth of UC resources.

UC Links
The University of California's UC Links is a statewide network of more than two dozen after-school programs that provide computer-based educational resources and opportunities to K–12 elementary and middle school children who do not have access to these resources in their homes, schools, or neighborhoods.

To Get Involved

To get involved, contact your local public or private university, community college, etc.