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Mike English
WRITTEN BY
Mike English

Beyond Standard Test Scores: Measuring and Impacting College and Career Readiness

Posted on Sep 26, 2017 9:27:50 AM

High school standardized test scores can be an important element in measuring student achievement as well as college and career readiness. However, depending on the exam and the timeframe within which it is taken, the results may leave little time to benefit students with remediation or corrective strategies.

For example, many schools measure high school achievement and growth with ACT and/or SAT scores. School districts often report the average and high scores for the most recently matriculated junior class as an indicator of how the school is performing.

4 Steps to Aligning District Resources to Student Achievement

Unfortunately, by the time a student has taken a college entrance test, it may be too late to help them in areas of weak performance. The consequences of depending on lagging indicators like the ACT/SAT are that students may lose out the chance to pursue certain programs and colleges. That’s why school leaders seek “leading” indicators in order to accelerate insights and increase opportunities for students.

Assessing collective data

In many schools, important data about students is typically stored in multiple data systems that do not communicate with each other. This situation can make it difficult and time-consuming to pull the right data from these disparate sources together in a meaningful way to analyze how students are performing.

Many school leaders want to pull together and connect the leading indicators from their various data systems. In addition to standardized tests, some schools are building “readiness mosaics” with the following types of data:

  • Grade point average (GPA) – how is the student performing, is performance consistent?
  • Academic Indicators – is the student taking and passing college prep and/or honors classes?
  • Activities – is the student participating in sports, clubs, arts and other activities?
  • Dual credit – is the student taking advantage of dual credit classes available through the school?
  • Attendance – is the student attending school every day, how many unexcused absences were recorded?
  • Internships – is the student pursuing work opportunities?

Beyond ESSA: How to Drive Strategic Decisions by Tapping Required Student Data Measurements

Pathways to success

By accessing this data from multiple sources, a better composite picture can be developed of a student’s strengths and weaknesses. Schools can use this information to identify opportunities or direct specific resources to the student based on the direction the student is heading post high school, i.e. – college, community college, technical school, military service or work force.

Drilling down on the data at various levels to provide school counselors the information they need to make “ready/not ready” evaluations. With the data needed to intervene earlier in a student’s high school career, schedules can be adjusted and issues dealt with that are affecting a student’s preparation for the path they want to pursue.

Analytics provide the complete picture

The key to being able to implement this type of student-level monitoring is connecting disparate data sources. The 5Lab™ solution from Forecast5 enables a school to analyze this type of information with easy-to-understand visual dashboards that are updated as new data becomes available.

With a system like 5Lab in place, school administrators can reduce or eliminate the time spent on gathering data and building analysis models. Rather, they can invest their time in developing strategies to maximize the potential opportunities for their students.

It is important to measure readiness from many different angles, including the results on college entrance exams. However, thought-leading schools across the country are getting ahead of the curve. They are adopting analytic strategies by connecting their data and tracking leading college and career readiness indicators with predicative value. 

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