Tennessee, Oregon — and possibly Texas — are offering two free years at a community or technical college to high school graduates. But “Promise” programs are struggling to get unprepared students to complete college credentials.
A new college-ranking system claims to show schools’ value in raising graduates’ earnings, reports Ed Week.
The California nonprofit Educate to Career and the data company Job Search Intelligence created the ETC College Ranking Index. It analyzes entering students’ SAT or ACT scores and socioeconomic background, their total college costs and their labor market outcomes. Elite colleges that recruit affluent, high-scoring students don’t rank high because their graduates would have done well in any case.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill tops the value list, followed by California State University-Los Angeles, the University of California-Merced and East Carolina University.
Some schools in the ETC’s top 10 have low graduation rates, but they make a difference for students who make it through.
Graduates’ earnings are a valid measure of college quality, argues Ben Miller on EdCentral.
While most community college students spend years pursuing a credential — and often fail to complete one — accelerated students at Indiana’s Ivy Tech complete a two-year degree in 11 months. The program is designed for first-generation students from low-income families.
Is college worth it for everyone? The college premium is increasing, but only for those who earn a degree. And not every degree is a ticket on the gravy train.
Abusive or absent parents, unsafe schools, gangs, homelessness and teen pregnancy make school a low priority for some high school students, concludes a GradNation report, Don’t Call Them Dropouts. Many of the “interrupted-enrollment students” interviewed in 16 cities said “nobody cared” if they stayed in school.
A “caring connection” with an adult who can help with problem solving could keep many of these teens on track, the report said. It also recommended “fewer exit ramps” from school and easier re-entry.
As high schools struggle to raise graduation rates, many have turned to online credit recovery programs, writes Hechinger’s Sarah Carr on Education Next. Are students learning — or just being moved along? It’s not clear, but many are dubious.
Oceanside Unified in California improved graduation rates after opening three centers that offer online credit recovery. Superintendent Larry Perondi believes “the centers have improved the life prospects of students who would have dropped out otherwise, including young parents and teens battling drug addiction.”
Perondi “encourages the district’s best teachers to work” in the centers and assigns extra counselors and social workers to support students.
Three New Orleans charters enroll only students who’ve fallen behind in coursework.
Their supporters argue that the schools provide a much-needed safety valve for students who don’t work well in conventional settings and prefer to move through courses at their own pace; critics worry about the quality of the online courses and fear they take the onus off of traditional high schools to meet the needs of all students.
At the Jefferson Chamber Foundation Academy, the average student is an 18-year-old sophomore. “Some of the students failed the same classes multiple times; others dropped out for a period of months, or years,” writes Carr. “The school supplements the online courses with in-person tutorials and small-group instruction.”
The NET, another charter for high-risk students, combines online courses with traditional in-person classes and “advisories.”
Students and teachers say the online courses have some universal benefits: the teenagers can move at their own pace and get instant feedback on how they are doing.
. . . The biggest drawback, however, is that many of the courses are either too easy or too hard. . . . stronger schools and teachers are increasingly figuring out how to use the online courses as a jumping-off point to address individual students’ needs, supplementing easy courses with more challenging material, for instance, or harder courses with extra in-person tutorials.
But some schools rely exclusively on the online courses.
San Jose’s Downtown College Prep — the charter school in my book — is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its first graduating class at commencement ceremonies for the class of 2014. Sal Khan, founder of Khan Academy, will be the keynote speaker.
DCP now has three middle and high schools — the fourth will open in the fall — and more than 500 alumni. Nearly all are Latinos from low-income families. Eighty percent of incoming students are 2+ years below grade level in English and/or math. Ninety-six percent will be the first in their family to go to college.
All DCP seniors apply to four-year universities and 96 percent go directly to college
DCP students are 4 times more likely than all California Latino high school graduates to enroll in a state university
DCP students are four times more likely to complete college in six-years than their low-income peers nationwide
DCP was ranked #36 out of 2,000 schools in California by U.S. News in 2013 and 2014.
Donations made today here will be matched by the Sobrato Foundation.
The high school graduation rate hit 80 percent in 2012, according to the U.S. Education Department. If progress continues, the four-year graduation rate could reach 90 percent by 2020.
Graduation rates increased 15 percentage points for Hispanic students and 9 percentage points for African American students from 2006 to 2012, with the Hispanic students graduating at 76 percent and African-American students at 68 percent, the report said.
Fewer students attend “dropout factories” — schools that graduate less than 60 percent of students.
Tracking ninth graders’ progress reduced dropout rates in Chicago schools, reports Education Week. Teachers intervened — calling home to report missed classes, helping with homework and other strategies — before students fell too far behind, according to Preventable Failure, a study by the University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research.
The number of students deemed to be “on-track” for graduation has risen from 57 percent in 2007 to 82 percent in 2013. Grades have improved for low, average and high achievers.
Following the graduation rates of students at 20 schools, the study found that student gains in the 9th grade continued through the 10th and 11th grades, resulting in increases in the graduation rate ranging from 8 to 20 percentage points in schools that saw early improvements, to up to 13 percentage points in schools that showed improvements later.
African-American males and students with the weakest skills improved the most.
An “on-track” ninth grader has failed no more than one core subject and earned enough credits to be promoted to the 10th grade.
Graduation rates are climbing in Chicago, notes Ed Week. “Last year the city trumpeted its 65.4 percent graduation rate, a figure that surpassed 2013’s 61.2 percent rate and was significantly higher than the 44 percent rate of nearly a decade ago.”
Ninth grade is the “make-it-or-break-it” year for high school students, concludes a second University of Chicago Consortium study, Free to Fail or On-Track to College.
All students struggle with the transition from middle school to high school, the study found. Grades decline significantly, often because students cut school more and study less. But closer monitoring makes a difference, researchers found.
(One) school rearranged the school day, scheduling the advisory period as the first class of the day so that tardiness would not become an issue. A teacher also called home every time a student missed class. And the school implemented a discipline policy that relied less on suspensions. Another school reached out to students who received Fs during the semester to find out why they were failing and craft a plan to get them back on track.
It’s easier for small schools to keep track of all students, but Chicago is doing it in larger schools too.