Using Data to Drive Change: Research that Supports the Virginia College Readiness Initiative.
School systems from across the US are putting a full court press on college attainment. The Virginia Department of Education is working to unearth the predictors of first-year college success. This session was presented by Dr. Deborah Jonas.
To start, Virginia is not a Common Core Data state. They developed their own set of college and career readiness standards. Working to incentivize schools to educate kids to the level of college and career ready by the time they graduate HS.
The primary research question – What achievement outcomes in VA signal that students are likely to be academically prepared for entry-level, credit-bearing courses in VA?
VA has a goal of producing 100,000 more degree holders by 2020. Wow!
Using the five different diploma types (yes- VA has 5 different diplomas a student can receive) they start their secondary analysis. They also use SAT, and ACT data as well as other sources. All of this is compared to enrollment and success in credit-bearing math and english courses in college. For this analysis, success is considered to be a C or better in a credit-bearing course in a 2 or 4-year institution.
First lesson, the new gateway to college success now seems to be Algebra II which is proving to be more predictive than Algebra I.
They determined that to be ready for college, kids need to take Algebra II and a a lab science course in high school. Therefore, if a student earns an “Advanced Diploma” (with AP courses) they most likely will go to a 4-year college. If a student receives a regular diploma only about 10% will go on to a 4 year college.
If a student does not take the proper courses in high school that does not mean he/she won’t be successful, but it does mean they will need to make up that work in college. They can catch up, but it is obviously more difficult. Lesson learned – the HS coursework is really important.
Interesting VA statistic – 89% of students who took Algebra II in HS and scored “Advanced Proficient” later enrolled in a credit-bearing college math course and passed. Conversely, of students who did not take algebra II in HS, only 24% accomplished the same.
Also developed STEM academies to target mid pack performers. Kids that normally fall through the cracks because they are not high need and are not high performers get the attention and classes they need to be successful.
So many lessons learned here and so much to write…but we are out of time. Hopefully more to come later.