American Diploma Project

According to The Education Trust, "The American Diploma Project (ADP), a partnership of four national organizations and five states, is a collaborative effort to ensure that American high school students have the knowledge and skills necessary for success following graduation, whether in college, the workplace or the armed services. Launched in 2001 with funding from The Hewlitt Foundation, the organizations—Achieve, Inc., The Education Trust, The Fordham Foundation and The National Alliance of Business—have worked with Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Nevada and Texas to build constituencies and develop policies to support a coherent K-16 system.

Since 2001, The American Diploma Project (ADP) Network has grown in 2006 into "a coalition of 26 states dedicated to aligning K–12 curriculum, standards, assessments and accountability policies with the demands of college and work," according to

According to the Office of the Governor, "North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley has put in place an aggressive and ambitious agenda for reforming the state’s high schools and preparing all students for the demands of college and work in the 21st Century. In 2003, backed by an $11 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Gov. Easley launched the N.C. New Schools Project to create small, economic development-themed high schools. The New Schools Project opened 11 schools in 2005. These new schools focus on growing economies such as health and life science, engineering and computer technology. A total of 75 of these new schools are scheduled to open by 2008."

"In September 2004, Gov. Easley initiated the Learn and Earn early college high schools initiative. Learn and Earn high schools provide students with an opportunity to graduate in five years with a high school diploma and an associate’s degree or two years of college credit. There are 13 Learn and Earn schools currently in operation across the state. Gov. Easley plans to have Learn and Earn schools serving students in all 100 N.C. counties by 2008.

"In addition, North Carolina is a member of the American Diploma Project, an effort to ensure students graduate from high school ready for college and work. North Carolina was also the first state in the nation to create a Center for 21st Century Skills in partnership with the national Partnership for 21st Century Skills. The Center, which is located in the N.C. Business Committee for Education in the Governor’s Office, is focused on the redesign of high school curriculum and assessments and teacher professional development." Source: North Carolina State Plan for the American Diploma Project.

American Diploma Project

  • The cornerstone of the the American Diploma Project (ADP) is "English and math benchmarks that define the knowledge and skills high school graduates need to be successful. . . . The English and mathematics benchmarks were identified and refined over 18 months of research conducted in postsecondary institutions and high-performance workplaces, both within and beyond the ADP partner states (Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Nevada and Texas) and in conjunction with K-12 educators. The benchmarks are accompanied by workplace tasks and postsecondary assignments that vividly illustrate the intellectual demand that high school students will encounter in high-performance workplaces or in credit-bearing first-year college and university courses. The American Diploma Project (ADP) college and workplace readiness benchmarks for English are organized into eight strands."
  • ADP's Eight Strands of English Benchmarks
    "The American Diploma Project (ADP) college and workplace readiness benchmarks for English are organized into eight strands: language, communication, writing, research, logic, informational text, media, and literature. This link gives an overview of each benchmark."
  • ADP's Four Strands of Mathematics Benchmarks
    "The American Diploma Project (ADP) college and workplace readiness benchmarks for mathematics are organized into four strands: Number Sense and Numerical Operations, Algebra, Geometry, and Data Interpretation, Statistics and Probability. Nine mathematical reasoning skills are woven throughout the four strands."
  • Workplace Tasks
    "A key aspect of the ADP work is that the benchmarks are grounded in empirical evidence of what employers and educators actually require of employees and students. The workplace tasks vividly illustrate the practical application of the 'must-have' competencies described in the benchmarks themselves, helping states answer questions such as 'Why do I have to learn this stuff?'" This page gives examples of postsecondary assignments gathered primarily from two- and four-year postsecondary institutions in the five ADP partner states (Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Nevada and Texas), representing a broad range of English, mathematics, humanities, science and social science coursework. When the page opens, use the links the view descriptions of the skills required for a variety of occupations.
  • American Diploma Project Benchmarks for English Chart
    This page displays the eight benchmarks of the ADP with specific objectives for each benchmark.
  • North Carolina American Diploma Project - PowerPoint Review
    This Web-based PowerPoint presentation gives an overview of the reasons that North Carolina has joined the ADP.
  • North Carolina State Plan for the American Diploma Project (PDF)
    "North Carolina joined the American Diploma Project in May of 2005. In committing to align high school and college standards, implement a college and work readiness assessment, institute a default college diploma, and hold high schools and colleges accountable for student success and completion, North Carolina is putting into place key policies that will sustain its drive to fundamentally reform high school education and ensure the longer term success of its innovative high school redesign and development efforts with the New Schools Project and Learn and Earn high schools." This PDF file contains the official 10-page policy document from the State of North Carolina.

North Carolina Standard Course of Study

  • North Carolina first established a Standard Course of Study in 1998. The North Carolina Standard Course of Study provides every content area a set of competencies for each grade and high school course. Its intent is to ensure rigorous student academic performance standards that are uniform across the state. It is based on a philosophy of teaching and learning that is consistent with current research, exemplary practices, and national standards.
  • NCDPI) Standard Course of Study Home Page
    This entry page for the NCDPI Standard Course of Study lists the major course areas. Several of these have important implications for community college learning outcomes: Arts Education, Computer/Technology Skills, English as a Second Language, English/Language Arts, Guidance, Healthful Living, Informational Skills, Mathematics, Second Languages, Science, Social Studies, and Career Technical Education. Use this page to view standards for each content area.
  • Eighth Grade Language Arts
  • Informational Writing: Grade 10 Writing Assessment
  • Twelfth Grade Language Arts

Features of Effective Writing
  • Teaching the Features of Effective Writing
    "By organizing your instruction around focus, organization, support and elaboration, style, and conventions, you can help students become more effective writers and make your own job easier." This first article in a series by Kimberly Bowen and Kathleen Cali from also features an overview of research showing that a writing scales approach to teaching and evaluating students' writing can improve the quality of student writing.
  • Teaching the Features of Effective Writing: Examples of Student Writing
    This section introduces the techniques of analyzing student writing from grades 9-12, but the section is useful for teachers of ENG 080, 085, 090, 095, 111, 112, 113, and 114.
  • The following examples of 12th grade student writing give you the ability to see five categories of teacher response to guide student revision. By clicking each category of response at the top of the essay, you will see highlighting. Click the highlighted item to view the comments:
    1. Grade Twelve "Names" Essay, Sample 1
    2. Grade Twelve "Names" Essay, Sample 2
    3. Grade Twelve "Deer Essay" Essay, Sample 1
    4. Grade Twelve "Deer Essay" Essay, Sample 2
  • Six + 1 Trait Writing
    This article from the Northwest Regional Educational Library explains the concept and application of a new method of teaching and evaluating student writing. Although written primarily for K-12 teachers, the article is relevant for the teaching of writing in ENG 080-114. This article should be read along with the following article by Kathleen Cali.

Grammar and Punctuation

Updated Thursday, March 20, 2008