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.

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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.

Similar Students and Colleges, Different Completion Rates.

The Education Trust and Education Sector have used statistical analysis to document very different rates of graduation from similar institutions. For example, Education Sector's new report looks at different gaps between colleges in their black/white graduation rates and the colleges are all over the map. Many differ between 30 and 45 % in white vs black rates. But some colleges do relatively better like Florida State where the black graduation rate is higher. Why??
Education Sector suggests that Fla State has a summer program and special academic activities for black students at risk. But we really cannot know by just using statitistical analyses. Scholars need to do case studies of all types of colleges to find out, and just not look at the colleges with better graduation rates. The lower scoring colleges may be doing things like Fla. State. Much more effort is needed on college success studies. See the study at http://www.educationsector.org/

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