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ERIC Number: ED511823
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Jan
Pages: 13
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 37
Using the Right Data to Determine if High School Interventions Are Working to Prepare Students for College and Careers
Dougherty, Chrys
National High School Center
In recent years, policymakers have begun to emphasize the goal that all students graduate from high school college- and career-ready (National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, National Conference of State Legislatures, National Association of State Boards of Education, & Council of Chief State School Officers, 2008). Research has supported the idea that college-readiness and career-readiness are increasingly the same goal--the skills required to prepare for most well-paying careers are similar to those required for college readiness (ACT, 2006). Yet, evidence from college-readiness test scores indicates that the majority of students who finish high school do not graduate college ready. This is especially true for African American and Hispanic students (ACT, 2008). The problem of inadequate student academic preparation usually does not begin in high school. Many students enter ninth grade with low levels of academic preparation, particularly in nonmagnet high schools in communities with many economically disadvantaged students. This places an "extreme degree of difficulty" on high schools to ensure that these students catch up (Neild & Balfanz, 2006). Many high schools struggle just to keep these students from dropping out (Balfanz & Herzog, 2006; Jerald, 2006; Allensworth & Easton, 2007; Kennelly & Monrad, 2007; Heppen & Therriault, 2008). This report focuses on identifying students who have large academic preparation gaps entering high school and developing databases that can be used to identify promising interventions for those students. Section 2 discusses how to disaggregate poorly prepared students based on the size of their academic preparation gaps relative to college and career readiness targets on state and national tests. Section 3 reports on research at the National Center for Educational Achievement (NCEA) on the relationship between students' eighth-grade academic preparation gaps and their likelihood of meeting college and career readiness targets by the end of high school. Section 4 describes the datasets that states and school districts should create to be able to assess the benefits of interventions for students at different prior achievement levels. Finally, the conclusion in Section 5 summarizes the direction that high schools and school districts can take given this information. (Contains 2 tables and 22 endnotes.)
National High School Center. American Institutes for Research, 1000 Thomas Jefferson Street NW, Washington, DC 20007. Tel: 800-634-0503; Fax: 202-403-5875; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Department of Education (ED)
Authoring Institution: National High School Center
Identifiers - Location: Arkansas; Texas
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: ACT Assessment