Dr. Lesser’s background on College Readiness


In 2008, as a reflection on my prior scholarly background in alignment and standards, I was appointed and served as the higher education faculty chair of the Phase 2 Statewide Discipline-Based Vertical Team (http://www.txccrs.org/more/vertical-teams.htm) on college readiness for the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and the Texas Education Agency. 


My team was charged with assessing the alignment of the Texas College Readiness Standards(CRS) for mathematics

(http://www.thecb.state.tx.us/index.cfm?objectid=EADF962E-0E3E-DA80-BAAD2496062F3CD8) with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for mathematics (http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/rules/tac/chapter111/index.html). After many emails, conference calls, and 2 days of in-person meetings, the team produced a spreadsheet and a report which is posted at http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/teks/CRS_Math_VT_Phase_twoIntro.pdf and http://www.txccrs.org/downloads/CCRS_MathGapAnalysis.pdf. In addition to assessing where the alignment was strong and not strong, the team also offered specific details or suggestions of how the alignment could be improved in places, and this feedback informed the Writing Team who was revising the middle school and high school math TEKS to incorporate the CRS.


Beyond leading the effort to compile this report, I took further initiative to disseminate the results via state publications:


Lesser’s article “Update on Texas College Readiness Standards in Mathematics”

(http://www.thecb.state.tx.us/CollegeReadiness/Newsletters/Lesser_1_2.pdf) was the leadoff story of the December 2008 issue of P-16 Initiatives, 1(2), pp.1-2.  http://www.thecb.state.tx.us/index.cfm?objectid=31B4618B-FD5F-F7AA-1588CEECE9941FC5&flushcache=1&showdraft=1


Lesser & Gann’s article “Texas College Readiness Standards in Mathematics” on p. 15 of  the fall 2008 issue of Texas Mathematics Teacher, 55(2), p.15   http://www.utdanacenter.org/tctm/downloads/TMT_Fall_08.pdf


Also, I gave an invited featured solo presentation of my team’s findings at the 2008 Charles A. Dana Center statewide Annual Mathematics and Science Higher Education Conference.  The presentation was well-received and on the conference page (http://www.utdanacenter.org/highered/octconf08.php) I posted my slides  (http://www.utdanacenter.org/downloads/octconf/2008/lesser_slides.pdf) and a bibliography handout (http://www.utdanacenter.org/downloads/octconf/2008/lesser.pdf).  As one can see from browsing the slides, the talk included discussion of the Phase 2 Vertical team work but was also situated in a broader context of exploring what “college readiness” means.


some references












Susan H. Hull and Cathy L. Seeley’s paper “Contemporary Curriculum Issues: High School to Postsecondary Education: Challenges of Transition” in the February 2010 Mathematics Teacher: http://www.nctm.org/eresources/article_summary.asp?URI=MT2010-02-442a&from=B


In 2009, I served as a reviewer of a Reference Course Profile (for Math 1342), a composite course profile of a typical entry-level college course developed in relation to the College and Career Readiness Standards validation study. 



In 2009-10, I am serving as a consultant to UTEP’s Project BEST, and here is a 11/6/09 email from Dr. Judith Munter (Associate Dean of UTEP’s College of Education):


Dear Project BEST faculty and advisors,  

In a recent report to the THECB, we were able to document some of the positive outcomes from the Project BEST summer 2009 high school summer bridge project with high school rising seniors (juniors going into the senior year) here at UTEP.  


Preliminary outcomes:

During the Summer 2009 High School Summer Bridge Project, pre- and post-tests (THEA) were administered to determine student learning outcomes.  Results follow here:


Reading THEA outcomes

40.5% of all BEST students’ scores on the Reading THEA improved; 

13% of BEST students’ scores increased from ‘below college readiness’ to ‘college readiness’ level.


 Mathematics THEA outcomes

56% of all BEST students’ scores on the Mathematics THEA improved:

24% of BEST students’ scores increased from ‘below college readiness’ to ‘college readiness’ level.


Writing THEA outcomes

21% of all BEST students’ scores on the Writing THEA improved;

13% of BEST students’ scores increased from ‘below college readiness’ to ‘college readiness’ level.


Thanks to all of you, and other faculty members/grad students to helped to bring about this great improvement in reading, math and writing.    Our program received good comments from the THECB evaluator and we look forward to continuing to work together with you in the coming year as we move forward to summer 2010.   At this time, we are busy working on planning the College Readiness Open House, planned for January 15, 2010.    We are working on several events for the BEST student cohort from summer 2009.   Now in their senior year, we’ll have much information to share with them about college admissions, obtaining financial aid, scholarships, etc. on that date.   Another component of that open house will be a workshop for K-16 faculty who would like to learn more about college readiness skills for potential first generation college students.     We would like to invite you to help us to plan that workshop and hope that you will consider sharing your insights.  


Thanks, Judith