College- and Career- Ready: Using Outcomes Data to Hold High Schools Accountable for Student Success

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This report focuses on a new way of determining which high schools are turning out the students best prepared to take  on college and careers, not by looking at graduation rates and test scores, but by tracking their academic and employment progress years after high school graduation.

The result: In some instances,  the schools rated lower under the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act have graduated more students receiving higher GPAs in college and passing remedial classes than higher-rated schools.

To demonstrate the limits of using the NCLB Act’s “Adequate Yearly Progress,” or AYP, to evaluate high schools, the report compares student performance in two states: Oregon and Ohio. Specifically, the report notes how Oregon students at schools that met AYP standards had lower college GPAs and college retention rates than Ohio students from schools that did not make AYP.

Accountability systems that align high school and post-secondary standards have allowed states that use the systems, such as Missouri and Florida, to reevaluate success rates by tracking student performance in college and in future careers.

The study concluded that not only will multi-dimensional accountability systems allow for better  judging the quality of schools, they will also push high schools to better prepare students for post-graduation.

Free, 15 pages. http://www.educationsector.org/usr_doc/College-Ready.pdf.