We have worked with districts, schools, and policy makers on these issues. Much of our work involves using data to inform stakeholders about their students’ post-secondary preparedness, their choice of post-secondary path, and their persistence after they enter college. For example, our College Tracking website provides state, district, and school-level information about students’ college attendance and graduation rates. We also delve more deeply into the data by examining the ways in which students’ high school course-taking is related to their choice of college and their persistence after enrollment. These projects start with a thorough analysis of students’ transcripts to itemize the courses that they take at the high school level. We pair this student-level course-taking data with college enrollment and persistence data from the National Student Clearinghouse. These data tools provide a useful starting point for intervention and valuable metrics to assess the impact of programs on student outcomes. For instance, in a report for the Road Map Project, we found that students who took advanced math courses in high school were more likely to attend four-year colleges and to persist in college.
The next few years will be filled with challenges for students and educators as our educational system re-orients itself toward college and career readiness. However, our overall goal of increasing opportunity for the next generation is worth the considerable effort.