By Salman Khan, Applied Data Strategist
Have you ever wondered where your students enroll in college, or what percentage of college students from your high school persist and earn a degree? We hear a lot of questions like this from RISE educators seeking to better understand and support students on their unique postsecondary pathways. National data reveal a striking gap between students’ college aspirations and attainment. Nationally, more than two-thirds of high school graduates who do not enroll in college report that they had planned to attend college during their high school experience. As network partners, we want to close the aspirations and attainment gap, supporting all of our students in identifying and pursuing a well-matched postsecondary plan.
To better support college enrollment and persistence, we need to understand the data and trends over time. Last year, RISE collaborated with school counselors across the network to develop three new postsecondary dashboards integrating data from the National Student Clearinghouse, College Scorecard, and high school data sets. We recently updated these secure data tools for RISE high schools to include data for the Class of 2019. Please keep reading to learn more about these dashboards and ways to use them in your school!
The Top College Enrollment dashboard lists the college and universities attended by high school alumni. This dashboard provides the high school with top-line information about the colleges that students most frequently attend, but the information doesn’t stop there! The tool also includes high school data for those students, allowing the school to understand performance patterns of specific groups of students (e.g., What was the high school GPA range for our high school graduates who attended a specific college? What were the average SAT scores for our high school graduates who attended various colleges?). Finally, the tool provides national college profile data. By integrating information from the College Scorecard, the tool provides headline data for each college’s performance, as well (e.g., admissions rate, Year 2 persistence rate, graduation rate for low-income students, median debt, mean earnings).
The College Progression dashboard looks at students’ college enrollment, persistence, and completion every subsequent year after graduation. We encourage partner schools to implement senior exit surveys, which ask students to share their postsecondary plans prior to high school graduation. Teams can then use this dashboard to compare students’ plans with their actual enrollment the following fall. High schools can also follow persistence and completion rates for students in subsequent years. Each block in the stacked bar graph is clickable and outputs a student list. This can facilitate direct student outreach and support.
The College Comparison dashboard allows educators to compare up to three colleges or universities simultaneously. Unlike other college search tools, this dashboard combines national data, as well as high school-specific data for alumni who went to specific postsecondary institutions. Educators may select up to three colleges in one view. The tool includes national summary data for each institution (e.g., tuition, net cost for low-income students, admissions data, outcome data), as well as the average data for high school alumni who have attended that school. This is important because the national averages are not always in line with average data for your graduates. In other words, the average SAT score for the average national attendee may be substantially higher than the average SAT score for a student admitted from your school. This may change how educators advise students.
So, how can you use these dashboards? Here are a few ideas:
- School teams can use a data protocol to analyze and unpack the Top College Enrollment dashboard. This dashboard can support interdisciplinary conversations about high school supports and behaviors that promote strong college matches and student success.
- Counselors can review the Top College Enrollment dashboard to understand schools that graduates frequently attend. Counseling teams could discuss current practices in recommending specific schools and whether shifts may be necessary, explore how best to support alumni concentrated at specific schools, etc.
- Counselors can use the College Progression dashboard to understand students who did not enroll or enrolled and dropped out of college. Counselors can reach out to alumni to learn more about their experiences and offer targeted support.
- Counselors and advisors can use the College Comparison tool in one-on-one counseling conversations with students as they consider various college options.
- As you use these tools, please share your ideas with us!
Beyond sparking conversations and next steps about college readiness and college access supports, these dashboards have already inspired educators to take action to address opportunity gaps. For example, in some partner districts, high schools have strengthened senior exit surveys, launched summer melt texting interventions, and initiated communication pipelines with alumni to ensure they stay on track beyond high school.