While this blog is mostly about K-12 education, some of the rhetoric you hear nowadays tends toward the idea that the goal of K-12 is “college readiness.” Regardless of whether you’re in agreement with “college readiness” as an over-riding goal, I’d like to point out that being ready to start college is an entirely different kettle of fish from being ready to complete college.
Here’s a graph showing the fraction of students who complete a 4-year degree within 5 years of having started a 4-year college, the horizontal axis giving the year in which the students entered college.
You’ll see that the numbers are up. But that means that about half of entering men, and a moderately higher fraction of women, actually complete their degree. More than a third don’t.
What do you think of the following: High schools should not only report how many of their students they send off to college; they should also report how many complete their degree.