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High Poverty And Minority Levels Lead To Large Gaps In College Enrollment And Completion Rates

Policy Leaders Discuss 2015 High School Benchmarks Report and Pathways to Higher Education and Training

by NSC Blog | Oct 27, 2015 | High School Benchmarking, K-12, Research Reports, Research Services |

As more of us are discovering, the economy and society are demanding higher levels of education and training. The pathways to attaining them are growing not only longer, but more complex. This makes it more difficult for students to plan and choose a path, more difficult for high schools to prepare them for what lies ahead, and more difficult for policymakers to ensure that the path is accessible, affordable, and rewarding.

“The outcomes of our members show that your zip code need not be your destiny.”

Sara Melnick
Deputy director, National College Access Network (NCAN)

Dr. Doug Shapiro, executive research director, and Dr. Afet Dundar, associate director, of the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center presented the findings of the recently released High School Benchmarks Report to education policy leaders on Capitol Hill. The Report analyzes the college enrollment and completion rates of high school graduates to provide better tools for high schools, districts and policy leaders. This helps them:

  • Understand the outcomes of their students;
  • Measure their graduates against those of similar high schools across the country;
  • See what’s working and what’s not working within their programs and curricula;
  • Set meaningful benchmarks for improvement.

College Enrollment Rates in the First Fall after High School Graduation by Locale, Class of 2014

2015 High School Benchmarks Report - Figure B
* Value not shown due to low coverage.

Education leaders at the meeting said:

“The educational success and attainment of students from childhood to adulthood is the responsibility of all adults working at all levels of the education system,” said Tomeka Hart, vice president of programs, Southern Education Foundation. “The report provides a tool for high schools and higher education institutions to partner in identifying and implementing best practices for the creation of an effective secondary to post-secondary pipeline for students.”

“The outcomes of our members show that your zip code need not be your destiny,” said Sara Melnick, deputy director, National College Access Network (NCAN). “It IS possible to close the attainment gap. Interventions such as effective postsecondary advising, ensuring access and success in a rigorous college prep curriculum, facilitating FAFSA completion – all have implications for institutional, state, local, and federal policies and practices that can help close the achievement and attainment gaps.”

“If we are getting better data, are we using it to influence change? I look to this report as an opportunity to push policy to scale with this kind of data,” said Deborah Santiago, chief operating officer and vice president for policy, Excelencia in Education, who also serves on the boards of both the Clearinghouse and its Research Center.

“At a federal role and public policy perspective, what are we trying to do? What is the impact on those we are fundamentally trying to serve? Is there a way to create with this data strand a shared responsibility for those students? So that they graduate from high school and we don’t just say, ‘go with God,’ and hope someone else gets them through college. This is the challenge for public policy so that there is better alignment for students wherever they are in process, and the system is created to support students to get through successfully.”

 

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