College and Career Readiness

States nationwide are facing increasing pressure to not only increase the number of students who graduate from high school, but to better prepare them to meet college and the workplace expectations. The NWCC provides technical assistance to build Northwest states’ capacity to develop rigorous instructional pathways that support the successful transition of all students from secondary education to college and careers.
The following resources related to this priority area have been compiled by NWCC staff.

College & Career Readiness & Success Center

The College and Career Readiness and Success Center (CCRS Center) is dedicated to ensuring all students graduate high school ready for college and career success. The mission of the CCRS Center is to serve Regional Comprehensive Centers in building the capacity of states to effectively implement initiatives for college and career readiness and success. Through technical assistance delivery and supporting resources, the CCRS Center provides customized support that facilitates the continuous design, implementation, and improvement of college and career readiness priorities.

Dual Credit Analytic Report: A Guide for District and School Leaders

The Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) is working to ensure equitable access and course completion in dual-credit programs for all students. As part of this effort, NWCC helped OSPI develop this companion tool to assist school districts in understanding and.

Issue Brief: College-Level Coursework for High School Students

In 2014–15, the high school graduation rate reached a record high of 83 percent (U.S. Department of Education 2016). Despite the gains, over half a million students still drop out of high school each year (U.S. Department of Education 2015). High schools have adopted various strategies designed to keep students who are at risk of not graduating in school and on track for earning the credits required to graduate. “At-risk” students are defined as those failing to achieve basic proficiency in key subjects or exhibiting behaviors that can lead to failure and/or dropping out of school. Dropout prevention strategies are diverse; they vary in type of program, services offered, frequency, intensity, and duration of contact with target students. The U.S. Department of Education (Department) sponsored the National Survey on High School Strategies Designed to Help At-Risk Students Graduate (HSS), which aimed to provide descriptive information on the prevalence and characteristics of dropout prevention strategies for at-risk students. The survey collected data in the 2014–15 school year from a nationally representative sample of 2,142 public high schools and focused on 13 specific high school improvement strategies1 identified by a panel of external experts and senior Department officials. This brief on college-level coursework for high school students is the eighth in a series of briefs being released with key findings about these high school improvement strategies.

Issue Brief: High School Transition Activities

In 2014–15, the high school graduation rate reached a record high of 83 percent (U.S. Department of Education 2016). Despite the gains, over half a million students still drop out of high school each year (U.S. Department of Education 2015). High schools have adopted various strategies designed to keep students who are at risk of not graduating in school and on track for earning the credits required to graduate. “At-risk” students are defined as those failing to achieve basic proficiency in key subjects or exhibiting behaviors that can lead to failure and/or dropping out of school. Dropout prevention strategies are diverse; they vary in type of program, services offered, frequency, intensity, and duration of contact with target students. The U.S. Department of Education (Department) sponsored the National Survey on High School Strategies Designed to Help At-Risk Students Graduate (HSS), which aimed to provide descriptive information on the prevalence and characteristics of dropout prevention strategies for at-risk students. The survey collected data in the 2014–15 school year from a nationally representative sample of 2,142 public high schools and focused on 13 specific high school improvement strategies1 identified by a panel of external experts and senior Department officials. This brief on high school transition activities is the seventh in a series of briefs being released this year with key findings about these high school improvement strategies

Destination Known: Valuing College and Career Readiness in State Accountability Systems

This report from the Council of Chief State School Officers, provides a roadmap for the measures states can use in an accountability system to support all students in achieving success after high school, as well as strategies for putting that accountability system into practice.

Guided Pathways to College Completion

This Policy Snapshot provides summary information related to guided pathways, on 2016 and 2017 legislative activities, as well as legislation and board policies from previous years. State policy and education leaders continue to focus on improving postsecondary graduation and on-time completion rates, reducing college cost and debt, preparing students for well-paying jobs and meeting workforce demands. Guided pathways are emerging as a strategy to help students complete a credential in a timely manner by encouraging or requiring them to select a program, and develop a degree plan or map, on a specified timeline. At a minimum, institutions may ask students to identify a meta-major, which is a broad area of academic programs with related courses (for example, business, health care or social sciences). Guided pathways programs typically include structured course plans and intensive support services to keep students on track to finish their credential or transfer to complete a degree. Guided pathways policies and practices may provide students with a clear course of action, limit their financial burden and accelerate their timeline toward completion, while still allowing students to explore various academic and career interests.

Getting Ahead With Dual Credit: Dual-Credit Participation, Outcomes, and Opportunities in Idaho

This report from Education Northwest provides a portrait of dual-credit participation rates and trends between the 2011–12 and 2014–15 school years. Dual-credit participation by demographic characteristics such as race/ethnicity, gender, and socioeconomic status is explored throughout each of the five briefs contained within this report. Each report brief also includes questions to consider—which promote a deeper exploration of the data—as well as next steps that can help educators and stakeholders overcome barriers to expanding dual credit.

How Well Does High School Grade Point Average Predict College Performance by Student Urbanicity and Timing of College Entry?

This report examines how well high school GPA and college entrance exams predict college grades for particular subgroups of students who enrolled directly in college math and English in the University of Alaska system over a four-year period. The report builds on a previous Regional Educational Laboratory Northwest study and examines whether high school GPA is less predictive for certain groups of students, such as students who come from different parts of the state or recent high school graduates versus older students. This study used regression analysis to assess the extent to which high school GPA and test scores predict college grades. Regressions were estimated separately for English and math course grades and within each subject area for students who took the SAT, students who took the ACT, and students who took ACCUPLACER. Overall, high school GPA surpassed test scores in explaining variance in college course grades regardless of where students were from in Alaska. High school GPA explained 9–18 percentage of variance in course grades for urban students, while test scores explained 1–5 percentage of variance. Similarly, high school GPA explained 7–21 percentage of variance in course grades for rural students, while test scores explain 0–3 percentage of variance in course grades. High school GPA was also more predictive of college course performance for students who directly entered college from high school compared to those who delayed entry. These findings provide evidence of the predictive power of high school GPA in explaining the readiness of college students for college English and math across different groups of students. Secondary and postsecondary stakeholders can use these findings to engage in conversations regarding whether and how to use high school grade point average as part of the placement process.

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