Is that a statement you hear frequently? I would wager that no, no it is not.
But they’re closing the achievement gap through a specific, targeted program that is simultaneously not succeeding in other states.
Scholars have closed the college-going achievement gap and are more likely to attend college than their peers.
In 2016, 21st Century Scholars saw the highest college going rate (82 percent) among all demographic populations.
The college going rate for Scholars was over double that of their low-income peers (39 percent) and 12 percentage points higher than their higher-income peers (70 percent).
Scholars continue to make progress in early-college success, while other low-income students fall short.
Between 2014 and 2015 alone, the gap in early-college success between Scholars and the overall population was
reduced to only 2 percentage points – a trend that coincides with new high school
and increased outreach efforts at both the state and campus levels. If progress continues at its current rate, the gap in early-college success between Scholars and their higher-income peers is projected to close by 2025.
So what are they doing that is making this so successful there, and only there? Let’s see.
Inconsistent implementation and review of the program across participating schools, as well as minimal focus on college readiness, is partly to blame for the disappointing results.
The college testing firm ACT in a recent report with the United Negro College Fund indicated that while African-American students are achieving significantly better in school generally, they lag in college readiness. Only about 6% met ACT benchmarks for college readiness in four key subjects (English, reading, mathematics and science) as opposed to 28% for all students.
Two leading college attendance researchers last year published a book suggesting that to increase college-readiness for disadvantaged students, the U.S. education system must offer more financial aid and academic support. The researchers also call for strengthening connections between coursework and the labor market and offering more structured paths to college and careers.
So…. support the students who don’t have the support they need to thrive. So easy to say, yet seemingly so hard to do.