Welcome to the Profit of Education website. Continuing the conversation begun in the book Profit of Education, we discuss the latest economic evidence on education reform.

College graduation

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.

5 year graduation rates

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.

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2 Responses to College graduation

  1. MEMO says:

    High Schools already can and do keep these stats on the students that graduate. Most high schools use Naviance- and to keep stats on where the students apply, where they are accepted, what type of aid is offered, where the student finally accepts to attend , and they keep track of the student’s enrollment, major, credits taken each semester, etc… Most high schools do not reveal that they continue to monitor former students. And few , if any, ever ask permission from students or parents. The BULLY school mandate that kids fill out personality surveys, financial aid questions, parental bio- name, dates of birth, education, employer, etc.. the schools create accounts (like Google Mail, Google Education, College Board, Naviance) for the student to use and therefore own the date. Try to ask your high school who has access to the data, what exactly the privacy policies are, who owns the data, how is it stored, can it be deleted, or destroyed? The answers will make you sick.

  2. Nordy says:

    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.

    Would that really tell you anything about the education provided by the high school? My sense (would like to have hard data to back up), is that most college dropouts are due to external, non-academic factors. I don’t know that a high school should be held responsible if a former student is unable to pay bills, or develops a drinking problem.

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