College and career readiness is all the rage, but only 13 percent of high school educators track their graduates’ academic performance in college, notes Education Sector in announcing Data That Matters: Giving High Schools Useful Feedback on Grads’ Outcomes by Anne Hyslop.
Now over 40 states can collect information about college readiness. Yet fewer—only eight—are using that information in ways that can materially improve college preparation.
High schools brag about how many students go on to college. But how many have to take remedial classes? How many give up in the first year?
Kentucky high schools made changes after discovering how many graduates were struggling in college, reports Education Week.
Kyle Fannin thought he was doing a good job as a teacher of U.S. history and AP American government at Woodford County High School in Versailles, Ky. “By all outward appearances, we were a great school,” said Mr. Fannin, as students scored well on tests and AP exams. But the data told a different story.
Some Woodford students who had received state scholarships based on merit had lost their funding because they weren’t maintaining a 3.0 GPA in college. Other data showed more of the students taking remedial math and English in college than the school had expected. When Mr. Fannin would talk to returning students, they would tell him that finals “killed” them. In high school, final exams counted for only 10 percent of their grades.
Armed with that information, the school made changes. More reading was assigned, including primary sources, and longer periods of sustained reading were included in classes. Finals counted for a bigger part of their grades.
Eastern Kentucky University is working with high school teachers to reduce the number of students needing remedial classes.