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Are Your High School Seniors College Ready?

by NSC Blog | Aug 29, 2016 | Research Services |

According to the U.S. Department of Education, nearly 17 million high school seniors graduate each year and head off to college. But, are they academically ready?

To help administrators learn the answer, more than 10,000 high schools nationwide use the Clearinghouse’s StudentTracker® for High Schools’ service to obtain data on their graduates’ college readiness, attainment, and completion rates.

One of them is Woodburn High School in Oregon. Earlier this summer, KBIA radio reported that, for the past two years, Woodburn beat the state’s high school graduation rate by double digits. Lately, however, something has been bothering Mario Garza, the college and career counselor at Woodburn.

“We had a lot of kids that started [in college], but we weren’t finding those last pieces where it said they received a degree,” Garza says.

The article features the class of 2008 and states that out of about 300 students, only 25 went on to receive their bachelor’s degree. To address the issue, the school started coordinating campus tours at colleges across the state so that students can get a better sense of what life outside Woodburn looks like. And this year, Garza will hold the high school’s first-ever pre-orientation orientation.

“We can track any of [the students] that [enroll in] college. This is great information. We can begin to see where kids are going to school.”

Robert A. Stewart
Superintendent of the St. Lawrence Central School District

In another recent news article, New York’s St. Lawrence Central School District Superintendent, Robert A. Stewart, said they are using the Clearinghouse to track graduates at college and see how they fared at the next level of education.

“We can track any of [the students] that [enroll in] college. This is great information. We can begin to see where kids are going to school,” Mr. Stewart told Board of Education members.

The Clearinghouse provides data on the college where the student enrolled, the state where it’s located, whether it’s a two- or four-year college, and whether it’s a public or private institution.

Mr. Stewart said many of the students who graduated from 2012 to 2015 chose to attend schools not far from home. This includes 36 percent at SUNY Canton and 11 percent at SUNY Potsdam, the two top choices for St. Lawrence Central graduates. To the students’ advantages, St. Lawrence Central offers bridge classes with SUNY Canton and SUNY Potsdam, allowing them to earn college credit before they graduate from high school, he said.

While the data doesn’t identify students by name, they’re assigned numbers that district officials can track to learn how they’ve fared in college. For instance, Mr. Stewart said, one 2012 high school graduate registered for college at one point, but never attended.

Mr. Stewart said he wants to set up meetings with the presidents of the colleges that St. Lawrence Central graduates have attended so he can get more information, such as what programs his former students are entering and if they needed any remedial classes once they got to college.

To follow Woodburn’s and St. Lawrence Central’s examples, high schools around the country can learn about obtaining more complete and accurate information on student outcomes by visiting studentpathways.org.