Academic Success?

It would be good to have this kind of data for multiracial students.-Susan

Latino and African-American Academic Success Improves, But Gaps Remain

The number of Latinos who leave high school having taken the ACT has nearly doubled in the past five years. Still, fewer than half of Latino graduates who took the ACT met any of its college-readiness benchmarks.

The volume of Latino high school students sitting for at least one Advanced Placement exam has tripled between 2002 and 2012. Yet, among Latino students with high potential for success in AP math, just three out of 10 took any such course.

Despite gains in access, when they finish high school, Latinos are more likely than their white peers to attend for-profit colleges or community colleges, as opposed to four-year univerities where graduation rates are typically higher.

These are some of the statistics included in a new brief, “The State of Education for Latino Students,” released by The Education Trust June 30. It paints of picture of both progress and challenges ahead, as does the companion publication that came out June 23 on education for African-American students. Last fall, the Washington-based education advocacy group released a similar document on the status of native students.

Together, Ed Trust officials hope these documents will be useful tools for policymakers working to close the ongoing achievement and opportunity gaps between these minority groups and their white counterparts.

Latino students are seeing more gains than African-American students, said Daria Hall, director of K-12 policy development for Ed Trust in a phone interview. “The data are clear about gaps in opportunity. Across the board, we are providing African-American students less of everything we know contributes to achievement in schools,” she said. “Those gaps in opportunity cause gaps in achievement.”

The Ed Trust report notes that while 15 percent of graduates in the class of 2013 were African American, they make up only 9 percent of those who took AP tests. Looking at all students who passed an AP exam, just 5 percent were African-American.

Hall said schools need to be more intentional in identifying students who could be successful in rigorous courses and providing support to help them succeed. Also, creating more fair and consistent disciplinary policies would keep students in school for more days and could help solve the problem.

For Latino students, in particular, Hall said schools that have been successful tended to focus on vocabulary and background knowledge for students who are English-language learners.  Also, schools should be creative about use of time. This might mean expanding instruction before and after school, using time differently within the day, and grouping students for needed intervention and support, she said.

Ed Trust is also working to provide students with equitable access to strong teachers who have content knowledge and effective classroom strategies to help close these gaps, added Hall.

Source: Education Week

African-Americans and College

African-American Students Inadequately Prepared for College, Says Study

Most African-American students aren’t receiving the education they need to succeed in college, according to a new report.Only 10 percent of African-Americans who graduated high school in 2013 met at least three of the ACT’s four College Readiness Benchmarks, compared to 39 percent of all graduates who took the test. According to the study, released by ACT, the Iowa City, Iowa-based test-maker, students who meet these benchmarks are more likely to persist in college.

The research is reflected in the outcomes. After high school, 63 percent of African-American students who graduated in 2011 enrolled in postsecondary education immediately after high school. However, only 62 percent of those students who enrolled continued for a second year. Of all ACT-tested 2011 graduates, 73 percent persisted.

The classes a student takes in high school are also an indicator of their success in higher learning. The ACT’s recommended core curriculum includes four years of English and three years each of mathematics, social studies, and science. Only 69 percent of ACT-tested African-American students took a core curriculum, compared to 74 percent of all students.

This core curriculum deficit for African-American students is not entirely attributable to individuals’ choice of  classes. Recently released federal data revealed disparities in access to core classes. While 81 percent of Asian-American students and 71 percent of white students had access to a full range of math and sciences courses, only 57 percent of African American students had full access.

The rate of continuation to a second year in obtaining a postsecondary degree was found to be  71 percent, however, for  those African-American students who met at least two of the test’s benchmarks. This is the same rate achieved by all ACT-tested graduates who met at least two benchmarks, suggesting that adequately preparing students for college can help reduce gaps in college-persistence rates.

Source: Education Week/By guest blogger Alyssa Morones