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Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) monitors the South's education reforms through "Benchmarks" reports, tracking progress toward 12 goals for elementary, secondary, and higher education that were endorsed by the SREB in 1988. The board collects state-by-state data every 2 years and compares how states are doing on over 60 different indicators. This document presents findings for 1996 and reports that most improvements are accompanied by cause for concern. The positive findings are that over 90 percent of first graders have attended kindergarten, which was not true 10 years ago; enrollment is up in kindergartens and in prekindergarten programs for three- and four-year-olds; more high school students are graduating with college-preparatory courses; record numbers of students are taking Advanced Placement college-credit courses in high school; and the percentages of the South's young adults who have high school diplomas and who have attended college are virtually at the national averages. However, the report found no marked general improvement in the skills and knowledge of elementary and secondary school students as measured by state and national tests. In addition, while states spend more on education now than a decade ago, they spend a smaller proportion of state and local budgets for education even though school and college enrollments in most states are significantly larger than in previous years. (LMI)

Descriptors: Academic Achievement, Adult Education, Benchmarking, College Attendance, College Preparation, Dropout Rate, Educational Assessment, Educational Finance, Educational Objectives, Elementary Secondary Education, Enrollment, Evaluation Criteria, Graduates, Higher Education, Performance, Preschool Education, School Readiness, Vocational Education

Southern Regional Education Board, 592 Tenth Street, Atlanta, GA 30318-5790 ($10).

Autor: Creech, Joseph D.


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