New York high school graduation rates are up, but college readiness is down

by Grace

Statewide high school graduation rates in New York are up slightly, but a lower percentage of students are ready for college and career.

Aspirational performance measures (APM) are designed to assess college and career readiness by designating the percentage of students who “earned a score of 75 or greater on their English Regents examination and an 80 or better on a mathematics Regents exam (note: this aspirational measure is referred to as the “ELA/Math APM”)”.

In the Lower Hudson Valley where I live, graduation rates are higher than the statewide average, with 84% of students graduating on time.  Our local high school showed a slight upward trend in college and career readiness last year.

From the New York State Education June 11, 2012 press release:

“New York’s overall graduation rate has improved, but nearly a quarter of our students still don’t graduate after four years,” said Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl H. Tisch. “And too many of those students who do graduate aren’t ready for college and careers.

“These numbers make clear that we need to continue to pursue aggressive reforms in our schools including a new, richer curriculum and implementation of the new teacher evaluation law in districts across the state.”

“Our students are competing globally,” Commissioner John B. King, Jr. said. “That competition demands that we keep improving our graduation rates. But it also demands that we close the achievement gap and make sure students who do graduate are ready for college and careers. Next school year, we’ll be implementing the Common Core standards, which will help more students achieve college and career readiness.

“But another key is keeping students engaged. Whatever that engagement takes – advanced math and science, Career and Technical Education programs, or a humanities focused courseload – we need to make sure all our students are on a path that prepares them for college and careers after they graduate from high school.”

In New York City, only 20.7% of students met the ELA/Math APM.

* Graduation rates measure the cohort of students who completed high school in four years.  APMs are reported as a percentage of the cohort who “earned a score of 75 or greater on their English Regents examination and an 80 or better on a mathematics Regents exam (note: this aspirational measure is referred to as the “ELA/Math APM”)


Related:  High school graduation goals do not include getting students ready for college


7 Comments to “New York high school graduation rates are up, but college readiness is down”

  1. We are battling demographics in our local district. All I need to do is interact with the other parents of my kid’s kindergarten class to know what the outcomes will be. I think I could already guess which kids will eventually graduate from high school “college ready”, and I bet my predictions would be somewhat accurate.


  2. I am on a scholarship committee, and yesterday we met to read the essays of the applicants. They were, except for one or two, horrible – not just poorly organized, but filled with grammar mistakes. This is a BIG scholarship, so one would imagine these students must have cared about the essays. I always have blamed NYC public schools, but when I checked, most were NOT from NYC public schools. Several were from suburban public schools, several from Catholic schools, one was from a private prep school, and some were from out of state. I think it is a problem across the board.


  3. While I agree that home and parents are big influences in a child’s academic outcome, I believe the educational experience our schools create for students also goes a long way in determining outcomes. IME, there are very few parents who don’t care if their children go to college, and polls bear this out. There are many more who would like their children to go, but they don’t realize the supplementation and/or intervention they must provide to get them college ready. I’ve seen this with parents who strongly desire college for their kids, and with parents who would “like” college for their kids. Again, I see a failure in the curriculum and instruction methods as being important factors.


  4. Yes, this lack of college readiness is across the board, but of course more prevalent in city public schools. Way back when my oldest started getting back corrected writing assignments, I was appalled by what I considered the low standards for good writing. Now I’m just used to it. Although, I have to say that in the last couple of years I’ve seen more rigor in grading. I heard there was a revamping of the literacy curriculum in our local schools, so maybe that’s it. Or maybe I’ve just gotten used to it. 🙂


  5. “we just have a lot of families who don’t care if their kids do well in school because the kids are going to go into the family pizza/auto/contracting business.”

    Interesting, but I haven’t seen that. But I do agree it’s a big stumbling block if the parents don’t do their part in supporting a kid’s pathway to college.


  6. Bonnie,
    I wonder if you could get your daughter to understand that you don’t own a pizzeria/auto place/contracting business?


  7. “Amy, there are many kids in my daughter’s class whose families do not share our values. Unfortunately, she is far more peer-driven than my sons.”

    Bummer. When I was in school, the boys all figured that they were going to be loggers or work in other forest industries and make big bucks. (My high school English teacher used to complain that in the old days, the kids who were logging were making more money than she did. Of course, excellent a teacher as she was, there was no danger of her having a 100-foot tree fall on her in class or losing a bunch of fingers while grading.) Then came the spotted owl and later on a lot of automation, so I expect that expectation has changed.

    The family business thing can be a real pain in the neck, especially once you’re married and have dependents. In my family, it was a big farm. There was some sort of complicated trust, 2 or 3 siblings and their families farming and working into middle age with little income and no ownership, with ultimately very little to show for it. I’m so glad that my parents didn’t go for that particular deal 40 years ago. It’s really important to either get a market wage or ownership, and ideally you’d get both when going into a family business.


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