The Importance of Measuring College Readiness

Date: February 21, 2012 | Shawn Herbig | News | Comments Off on The Importance of Measuring College Readiness

Businesses need people…that’s a given. And the more advanced, higher level positions demand an educated and skilled workforce. If a company is looking to relocate or add locations, it’s going to do some research, naturally.

If the positions being added require college degrees or advanced experience, then that company wants to know where the pickings will be ripe so they can be confident of being able to fill positions locally and not have to recruit from other cities, which adds expense and time to the hiring process.

So if the company is deciding among locations and your city has a lower percentage of college graduates in its workforce compared to other options, the company will often go elsewhere. You can’t blame them, but it makes it all the more important for communities and civic organizations to promote college readiness in high schools and encourage their citizens to finish degrees and get those diplomas.

One of the biggest fears concerning college, of course, is the expense. It seems so out of reach for so many people, but ICCHE (Index of Community Commitment to Higher Education) comes from an initiative developed by IQS Research that measures a community’s commitment to educating its population through to a bachelor’s degree.

The ICCHE includes programs that focus on high school students who will be going into college, as well as education directed toward parents and adults with existing college credit. It brings awareness about funding, loans, and sponsors, just about anything people need to know about starting or finishing a college degree.

We know that college educated people typically earn vast amounts more over the course of their lifetimes than those without. ICCHE and other programs can help drive graduate numbers up, and as the falling of dominoes, all the other important numbers for the city go up too—tax revenue, employment, and civic involvement, to name a few.

We just need to lay the foundation, bring awareness, and put incentives into place to motivate our citizens to take the risk for a potential great reward for their personal lives as well as the livelihood of their communities.

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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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Date: July 27, 2011 | Shawn Herbig | News | Comments Off on STATS-DC 2011

STATS-DC 2011 starts in a few hours and runs through Friday.  I am up here with Dr. Bob Rodosky, Executive Director of Research and Planning for JCPS to present a session called 55,000 More Degrees – Assessing the Barriers to Postsecondary Education to Close the Gap on Educational Attainment.

Loving the feel of this conference and it hasn’t even officially started.  Already engaged in multiple conversations about statistics about data analysis.  This place is like Candyland for data geeks!

While I am here I will be blogging about a few of the sessions.  In addition, I will post the handouts from mine and Bob’s session when it is complete.  Feel free to comment and check back often during the 2 days to see the updates.

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