STATS-DC – session – Best Practices and Public Data

Date: July 28, 2011 | Shawn Herbig | News | Comments Off on STATS-DC – session – Best Practices and Public Data

This blog post is designed to pull some of the different themes from two different sessions.  The first “Best Practices in Linking PK-12 ad Higher Education Data” was a more technology based discussion and the second was a session on NCES data that are available.

The first session focused on the best practice winners from the annual PESC best practices competition.  Lately there has been a strong trend toward best practices that are submitted which focus on linking the work of K-12 with the needs and work of postsecondary researchers. 

This session primarily focused on the underlying data architecture that is required to “link” the data.  By migrating away from EDI and replacing with XML but still retaining a common architecture the data are able to be used more broadly while ensuring greater quality.

Data interoperability is a significant issue.  As a primary research company, IQS Research is fortunate to be able to gather the vast majority of the information we need for our studies.  However, when working with education research there are huge opportunities when we can link our primary research findings, on the individual respondent level, to performance data within the education system.  Furthermore, if those educational performance data are interlinked such that we can trace a student across state lines, across universities, etc, we are able to heighten the data we provide.

These data are currently being analyzed and compared at the aggregate and strata level, but further interoperability ensures that we can drill down to the student level in most cases. That will allow us the ability to identify attitudes and behaviors at the individual level and compare those to the self-reported information for purposes of building regression models and defining predictors for success.

Even though we cannot directly link our data to this information there is still a lot of great secondary research data available to the public at  Under their data tools tab and their surveys and programs tab there are a myriad of studies and data that can be accessed.  Many of these are longitudinal in nature and track students from elementary into their careers (different studies).

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STATS-DC – session – 55,000 More College Degrees

Date: July 28, 2011 | Shawn Herbig | News | Comments Off on STATS-DC – session – 55,000 More College Degrees

55,000 More College Degrees – Assessing the Barriers to Postsecondary Education to Close the gap on Educational Attainment. 

Louisville, KY has challenged itself to increase the number of degree holding citizens by 55,000 by the year 2020.  This will mean that 40% of working age Louisvillians will hold a bachelors degree and 10% will hold an associate degree. 

IQS Research performed the attitudinal assessment study that is being used by the 55,000 Degrees program.  Today Dr. Bob Rodosky and I are at STATS-DC making a presentation about the current challenges in Jefferson County (from a school system standpoint) as well as the attitudinal barriers that impact all students. 

There is a “plurality of thought” that exists within the minds of high school students today.  Perhaps this has always existed, we don’t know, but it certainly exists today.  This plurality is derived from a concurrent set of beliefs with high school students that:

  1. College is highly important.  Over 95% of  students indicate that a college degree is both necessary and important.
  2. College is not difficult.  Only 12% of students believe attaining a college degree will be difficult for them. 

Going further we find that 98% of students intend to go college. 

So what we have is a population of students who believe that college is very important but not difficult.  Whether or not they are actually prepared academically, they are rarely prepared to balance the conflicts between life needs and college needs.  When the reality of life intrudes, the process crumbles and often times, the student fails. 

But it gets worse…the adults in the community aren’t helping. As an example, adults also believe that college is highly important.  some 80% of adults believe this.  However, adults also believe that if you have achieved success without a degree there is little need to go back and get one.  Furthermore, there is an inverse relationship between the education level of the adult and the belief that everyone should get a degree.  There are also significant differences between the opinions of mothers and fathers.  Mothers express a protective nature for the child and often try to protect them from the demands of classes that push a student our of their comfort zone. 

 There is so much I could say but I will wrap it up here.  If you want to learn more, check out the links for a copy of the presentation slides, and the ICCHE handout.  

If you aren’t familiar with 55,000 Degrees in Louisville, please feel free to go to for more information.  From the main page you can scroll to the resources section at the bottom of the page and download our report as well as several other pieces of information.

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STATS-DC – session – Using Data to Drive Change

Date: July 27, 2011 | Shawn Herbig | News | Comments Off on STATS-DC – session – Using Data to Drive Change

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.

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