Wanted: College readiness reviewsCall up the Indiana College Readiness Report for any high school in Indiana, and it’s all there in black and white. And red: The document reports on how well each Indiana high school prepares its graduates for college. And it highlights points of concern — notably, “Graduates needing remediation” — in bold, easy-to-read red. Here’s hoping North Dakota high schools and the state Department of Public Instruction do the same.
By: Grand Forks Herald, The Jamestown Sun
Call up the Indiana College Readiness Report for any high school in Indiana, and it’s all there in black and white.
And red: The document reports on how well each Indiana high school prepares its graduates for college. And it highlights points of concern — notably, “Graduates needing remediation” — in bold, easy-to-read red.
Here’s hoping North Dakota high schools and the state Department of Public Instruction do the same.
Whatever happens to the rest of Hamid Shirvani’s proposals, the new higher education chancellor’s call for these readiness reports ought to be implemented.
As North Dakotans should know but may not, only 48 percent of freshmen in the North Dakota University System graduate within six years. One reason for that is students’ readiness: Consistently across America, students who need remedial or high-school level work in their first year of college drop out at higher rates.
In North Dakota, colleges track what percentage of their entering classes need remedial help. But high schools don’t know how many of those freshmen are their own graduates — and that kind of information would help.
Gary Clark is interim principal of West Fargo High School. “Clark said another hindrance in the system is that he doesn’t receive information from area colleges about how his students are doing post-graduation,” Forum Communications reported. “‘We’ve never had that data available to us. That would be helpful data,’ he said. ‘Let us know how our kids did so we know how we’re doing.’”
Indiana does just that. At www.in.gov, the state government’s website, you’ll find a “College readiness reports” page with links to every high school in the state.
Let’s pick a school at random: Austin High School, a rural school in south-central Indiana. Of Austin’s 78 graduates in 2010, 22 or 28 percent attended an Indiana public college within one year — lower than the state average of 47 percent.
And of those 22 public-college-bound students, 8 or 36 percent needed remediation in either math or English/language arts or both, the report notes (and that’s the part highlighted in red). That’s more than the state average, which is 31 percent.
Now, let’s look at an acknowledged standout school: Signature School in downtown Evansville, Ind., Indiana’s first charter high school and U.S. News and World Report’s winner as the top high school in the state. The college readiness numbers back that up: In 2010, the school sent just under half of its 59 graduates to Indiana public colleges within one year, or close to the state average.
But of those 27 students, here’s how many needed remedial classes: Zero, the readiness report notes.
Now, there’s a high school that’s doing its job well. Its graduates who go on to college clearly are prepared for the work, and that’s as good a measure of a high school’s quality as you’ll find.
North Dakotans need easy access to that kind of information about their schools. The databases are there; the high schools have lists of graduates, the colleges have lists of students needing remedial work. It shouldn’t be hard to collate those databases and produce an easy-to read “College Readiness Report” for each high school, as Indiana does.
If such a project isn’t already in the works, state leaders should get it done.