The College Puzzle Blog
Prior PostingsAbout
Dr. Michael W. Kirst

Michael W. Kirst is Professor Emeritus of Education and Business Administration at Stanford University since 1969.
Dr. Kirst received his Ph.D. in political economy and government from Harvard. Before joining the Stanford University faculty, Dr. Kirst held several positions with the federal government, including Staff Director of the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Manpower, Employment and Poverty. He was a former president of the California State Board of Education. His book From High School to College with Andrea Venezia was published by Jossey Bass in 2004.

Most Recent Blog
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My blog discusses the important and complex subjects of college completion, college success, student risk factors (for failing), college readiness, and academic preparation. I will explore the pieces of the college puzzle that heavily influence, if not determine, college success rates.

State Research Center Provides Good Data on College Preparation and College Success

Several states are using existing data to improve our understanding of college readiness, college persistence, and college completion. One of the best is the high school teacher quality on college readiness, high school reform, and geographic/racial college attainment.

For example, IERC found that attending college full-time trumps college readiness as a predictor of persistence in college. This reinforces the findings of Clifford Adelman in my last blog.

IERC emphasizes that initial student choice of college matters. Students who start at two year institutions need more institutional support to complete college than students who start at four year institutions. IERC demonstrates that among students who are equally prepared for college, two year entrants have less persistence than four year entrants.

In Illinois, nearly three quarters of the high school class of 2002 had some college. Illinois students who stopped out were unlikely to return to postsecondary education.

IERC demonstrates that examining persistence from data of single institutions in Illinois is misleading because so many students attend multiple institutions. State centers like IERC track Illinois students through the whole national higher education system to obtain more accurate conclusions. Everything I have seen in the Illinois data confirms the studies by Clifford Adelman in my two prior blogs.


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