Measuring College Readiness, New York and Chicago Style

Not satisfied with solely increasing high school graduation rates, more districts and states are emphasizing the content and quality of high school students’ educational experiences, as well as their performance on academic assessments and enrollment in college after high school graduation. For example, Chicago Public Schools has begun including measures of college readiness on schools’ and students’ report cards. The metrics fall into three broad categories:
  1. Student Progress toward College Readiness: ACT scores, as well as scores from ACT’s EXPLORE and PLAN tests.
  2. College Eligibility: The combination of ACT scores and GPA seniors must achieve in order to be eligible for enrollment for a selective or highly selective college. 
  3. College Enrollment: The percentage of seniors who enroll in a two- or four-year college the fall after high school graduation.
Similarly, New York City Public High Schools’ report cards now include measures of college readiness and will begin including these metrics in the district’s accountability system next year. Due to concerns about high rates of college remediation, the district reports the percentage of high schools' students that take challenging courses, pass Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, or the state Regents exams at college-ready levels, and enroll in college. In order to prepare students to graduate from high school college- and career- ready, a growing number of districts and states have responded by tracking and reporting data on college readiness and attendance. In some cases these metrics are used for accountability purposes, in others, to share information with parents and community members. In all cases, it represents a shift in priority on college attendance and ensuring all high school students leave high school with the skills necessary to be successful in their post-secondary education.

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