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ERIC Number: ED562759
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 19
From High School to the Future: Getting to College Readiness and College Graduation
Roderick, Melissa; Holsapple, Matthew; Kelley-Kemple, Thomas; Johnson, David W.
Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness
Over the past 20 years, gaps in students' educational aspirations have shrunk considerably (Roderick et al., 2008; Roderick, Nagaoka, & Coca, 2011; Kao & Tienda, 1998; Avery & Kane, 2004; Turner, 2007; Deil-Amen & Tevis, 2010). Similarly, racial and ethnic gaps in college enrollment have shrunk. The one area in which postsecondary racial gaps have not improved is in college completion (Turner, 2007). Given the complex and varied nature of the college application, enrollment, and graduation process, it is unsurprising that district and school policies have used a scattershot approach to evaluating college readiness, with rubrics containing items pertaining to non-cognitive skills, test scores, numbers of applications, FAFSA completion, college visits, and college knowledge. The problem with such an approach is not that these items are bad in and of themselves--indeed, all of these factors have valid research behind them--but rather there is no sense of the relative importance of these factors nor of the degree to which any of these factors ultimately affects degree completion. Here the authors have framed this analysis in terms of which factors as viewed from a high school standpoint, can have the largest influence on degree attainment. The authors propose four possible policy options: Raise Grades (GPA), Raise test scores (ACT), improve the rates at which students enroll in "match" colleges, improve college choice by looking at colleges' institutional four-year graduation rate. Findings strongly suggest that the wide variation in college graduation rates, even among similarly qualified students, make it impossible to set a single set of college readiness benchmarks. It does appear possible, however, to create a demarcation of responsibility between high schools and colleges. On the one hand, high schools could be doing a great deal more to boost student achievement, especially related to grades, and providing structured supports around these students to ensure that they apply, and enroll in colleges that maximize students' chances of success. Colleges, on the other hand, play their own role in supporting students through graduation. For high schools, the importance of making hard work pay off lies in helping students make college choices that translate their high school preparation into the highest chance of earning a college degree. For colleges, the challenge in making hard work pay off is to provide the supports necessary for the high-achieving students they admit to continue to succeed on their campuses. Two tables are appended.
Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness. 2040 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208. Tel: 202-495-0920; Fax: 202-640-4401; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness (SREE)
Identifiers - Location: Illinois
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: ACT Assessment