The K-16 Concept

To meet the demands of an increasingly competitive global economy, American workers at all levels will need to develop, use, and adapt highly complex understandings and skills including those involving technology. In order to accomplish this, students need both to master more difficult skills than ever before and acquire the tools to continue learning new skills throughout their careers. Ensuring that students acquire these skills and tools requires the establishment of high standards for graduation from high school. These standards must be sufficiently rigorous to enable students to enter higher education, or the workplace, at any point in their academic career.

However, establishing standards is not enough. Providing support to enable a highly diverse population to meet these standards is essential. In addition, a K-16 assessment system must also be in place that evaluates both how students are performing, and more importantly, how well the educational infrastructure is supporting the students in their efforts to meet these new standards. This system must combine the best from both performance and criterion-referenced techniques in statewide assessments; identify the knowledge and skill levels of individual students for purposes of high school graduation, college admission and placement, and job entry; and provide information both to improve teaching and learning and to ensure that the entire K-16 education system is accountable for student success. Ultimately, the assessment system will result in fundamental changes in how education occurs.

The total resources of K-16 education must be available to accomplish these goals. The State of Maryland has launched a carefully developed K-12 standards-based reform strategy that has earned it a national reputation for leadership. Higher education, K-12 education, and the business community must now enter into a truly collaborative partnership to ensure students’ competitiveness in a global economy. These partners must be responsible for preparing new teachers who have the skills and confidence to teach in tomorrow’s classrooms, as well as for the continued professional development of current teachers. This partnership must also establish comprehensive and substantive connections between all levels of education and the work place. Finally, all segments of education will need to examine how successful they are in educating their students in order to ensure that their graduates are equipped to meet the challenges that will face them.

This partnership will enable Maryland to establish an effective educational infrastructure for the 21st century and will encourage further K-16 collaborations, creating an educational system that gives its citizens the skills they need to lead productive and fulfilling lives.

Some of Maryland’s colleges and universities have instituted formal agreements with high schools, including programs designed to provide pathways for Tech Prep students from secondary schools to community college to four-year college. One such program, Biotechnology, provides full curricular articulation from Dunbar High School (high school diploma) to Baltimore City Community College (AAS degree) to the University of Maryland at Baltimore (BS degree) to the University of Maryland Baltimore County (MS and Ph.D. degrees).

The Student Transfer Advisory Committee established guidelines that facilitate the development of transfer and articulation agreements between degree-granting and non-degree-granting institutions, including high schools. MHEC approved the guidelines as a policy for implementation in the State. This policy, coupled with the technology made available to high schools, provides for the articulation and transfer of courses which fulfill the requirements of the general education and transfer regulations.

Private Career Schools

Postsecondary education takes place in a variety of settings. Private career schools provide programs and individual courses that prepare students for employment in a particular field or profession and provide a foundation for life-long learning. Many courses in the programs of study provided are the equivalent of college/university courses.

Students who complete formal instruction in equivalent courses at non-collegiate private career schools should not be required to repeat those courses upon enrollment in a college. Therefore, Maryland encourages private career schools and colleges to develop articulation agreements so students may gain full credit for their learning. The strength of these agreements lies in policies and procedures to ensure that the courses designated for articulation are equivalent to courses at the college level.

The Student Transfer Advisory Committee has revised and updated the procedures contained in the Maryland Higher Education Commission’s Policy for Articulation and Transfer of Credit between Degree-Granting and Non-Degree-Granting Institutions. This document, referenced above in regard to high schools, provides guidelines for institutions at both levels which wish to establish articulation/transfer agreements.

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