My research with other colleagues shows that states must create reforms in four key policy areas as well as connect elementary and secondary education with postsecondary education across them all: curricula and assessment, finance, data collection, and the public reporting of student progress and success.
Governance mechanisms must reinforce and sustain those efforts (see http://bridgeproject.stanford.edu
publications 19 and 20). Specifically, state governments can make substantial gains toward improving college readiness
and college completion.
I have discussed the first of the four key policy areas within the two prior posts to the Blog. Let’s conclude the series with my discussion of data collection and public reporting.Create data systems to track student progress across educational levels and institutions
. Currently most states are unable to determine if their efforts to improve academic readiness
for college are having any impact. Although many states are working to improve their ability to gather information—Florida, for example, already has a model system up and running that links K–12 and postsecondary education, along with other public data—few, if any, currently link information from schools and colleges. Some states do not even collect data on the course-taking patterns of their high school students.
Consequently, in those states, it is impossible to determine the relationships between the courses that high school students take and students' persistence and college success
. Likewise, it is impossible to identify and analyze success rates for students who enter college from the workforce, students who attend part time, or students who attend multiple institutions. In short, the lack of reliable facts and figures that connect different levels of education makes it difficult to assess needs accurately, identify the worst problems, work toward finding solutions, and evaluate reforms.
States should be able to use their data systems to answer questions such as:
How do students who take college-preparatory courses in high school perform in postsecondary education?
Of those students who require remediation in college, what percentage took a college-preparatory curriculum in high school?
How do students who earn a proficient score on a state’s K–12 assessment perform in college?
What pedagogical approaches are common among high school teachers who consistently send well-prepared students to college?
Given their students' performance in college, how can high schools change their curricula and instruction to improve college readiness
Publicly report on student progress and success from high school to postsecondary education. To be effective in improving college readiness, states should establish student-achievement objectives that require the education systems to collaborate on reaching them. Determining how to use the information to improve teaching and learning is an ideal area in which high schools and colleges should collaborate. For example, high schools should use data about their graduates' performance in college to improve their curricula, instruction, and grading practices.
Labels: College Completion, College Success, ready for college