There has been a lot of confusion generated at recent Kentucky Board of Education meetings about the actual college-going rates for our students.
It was first reported the rate was down.
In the December meeting of the board, it was reported that the rate was actually up.
So, what was really going on?
I decided to go to the new source for this sort of information, the Kentucky Center for Education and Workforce Statistics (KCEWS). The KCEWS recently released a series of “High School Feedback Reports” that all say:
“This report provides the most complete and accurate data about college going that exists….”
This authoritative resource collection includes the following page with its information for the Adair County Public School District. In the lower right part of the page (inside the red border box I added for emphasis) you will find the, “Overall college-going rate for public high school students enrolling in any Kentucky or out-of-state public, private or proprietary college during the next academic year after graduation, including both fall or spring semesters,” as KCEWS Executive Director Kate Akers explained to me in an e-mail. The data cover students who graduated from high school in Kentucky in the 2009-10 school year through those who graduated in the 2012-13 term.
In case you have trouble reading the graph, here are the real college-going rates for Kentucky.
Obviously, the real trend in college-going rates in Kentucky doesn’t look very good. Basically, it has been kind of flat, but the most recent year’s rate does show a decline from the rates for both 2011-12 and 2009-10 graduating classes. That last year was before the Common Core State Standards even came along.
Speaking of Common Core, one of its main purposes is supposed to be improving college readiness. We certainly have heard all over the place about how the College and/or Career Readiness Rates (CCR) have been skyrocketing (such as here, here, here and here for just a very few examples.
But, given the actual college-going rates from KCEWS and other data such as found in the Kentucky Office for Education Accountability’s report on the CCR rates, a lot of people are beginning to strongly question if the CCR numbers are even close to reality.
Certainly, if college readiness in Kentucky really was jumping up dramatically, you would expect college-going to be on the rise, too, but that obviously isn’t happening. Furthermore, the flat to slight decline in college-going in Kentucky certainly does not provide a success story, at least so far, for the Common Core State Standards.