Accountable for grade 13

High School’s Last Test is how well graduates do in college, write J.B. Schramm and E. Kinney Zalesne of College Summit in a New York Times op-ed.  Race To The Top guidelines tell high schools to “show how they increase both college enrollment and the number of students who complete at least a year of college.”

Most schools, districts and states are just starting to collect data on “grade 13,” they write. The Department of Education will require states to keep good records of graduates’ progress in college.

But what’s critical is that the Education Department also helps high school principals and teachers learn to use their data to improve student achievement — to find out which of their educational strategies actually result in student success after high school.

We are a long, long way from tracking high school graduates’ progress. In fact, we’re not good at tracking students through the K-12 system either.  But it sure would be nice to know how well high schools are preparing students for higher education — and employment.