Pomp, circumstance and then what?

High schools should track graduates’ college experience to see whether they need remedial courses and whether they earn a degree, argues the Data Quality Campaign. The group co-sponsored a meeting in Washington, D.C. last week with College Summit to discuss the role of data in advancing the college- and career-ready agenda.

J.B. Schramm, CEO of College Summit and E. Kinney Zalesne, released a paper, Seizing the Measurement Moment (pdf), reports Education Week.

“Only states have the incentive, the means, the impartiality, and the stamina to get this information in the hands of educators,” he said. Some states, with significant federal support, have made progress in building these data systems in the past six years, but more needs to be done, he said.

States must measure students’ postsecondary success, make the data available in a user-friendly format, help schools use the information to improve and reward districts that improve students’ college enrollment and performance, Schramm said.

Only 13 percent of high school educators said they know how their graduates do in postsecondary institutions in a 2010 Deloitte survey.

Knowing how students fare in college can help K-12 identify weaknesses in curriculum, such as the need for more math requirements or more rigorous writing instruction. That information can also relieve colleges from having to invest as much in developmental education and, ultimately, fortify the workforce, the College Summit report suggests.

Most states now have the ability to link K-12 and higher education data.

This year, New York City’s school report cards will show graduates’ college readiness, acceptance and retention.

What Gets Measured Gets Done concludes a Jobs for the Future policy brief, which calls for adding a measure of high school graduates’ college-course completion to K-12 accountability systems.

Another JFF publication, Testing Ground, looks at Florida’s use of a new college placement test to create a sense of urgency for college-readiness reforms.

Education Sector also endorses using outcomes data to measure high school success.

In California, however, Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a bill that would have added graduation and remediation rates to the state’s high school accountability system. Measuring performance doesn’t improve performance, wrote Brown in the veto message.

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