The Indiana Commission for Higher Education has just released fascinating new reports showing post-secondary information for Indiana
high school graduates.
The first reports are for the Class of 2007. The CHE news release
indicates the reports show the number of graduates who attended
college at each public college campus in Indiana, but the reports I've
seen for the Allen County high schools don't include that information.
They do show how many students are attending public colleges or
universities in Indiana, what degree they are seeking and a breakdown
by gender, ethnicity and high school rank.
The most interesting figures are for remedial coursework. The reports
show how many students had to take remedial college courses in math,
language or both subjects, broken down by the type of high school
diploma the student earned. Over time, it will be interesting to see
how many students who earned an honors diploma from a high school had
to take a remedial course in college.
Overall, the findings aren't too surprising. The county's parochial
high schools had the lowest percentage of students who required
remediation; the county's high schools with the greatest enrollment of
students from low-income high schools had the highest. Among Fort
Wayne high schools, North Side High School had the highest percentage
of students requiring remediation -- 64 percent of the 116 graduates
attending an Indiana public college or university. Bishop Dwenger had
the lowest -- 20 percent of its 163 graduates required remediation.
There are plenty of caveats to the data, of course. It shows only
students attending public, in-state schools. It's possible that the
top graduates at some schools attended independent colleges or public
universities out of state.
Still, information is a good thing. Teresa Lubbers, Indiana
commissioner for higher education, cautions in the news release that
"This is not about pointing fingers or assigning blame between our
K-12 and higher education communities. This is an opportunity to
acknowledge the extent of the challenge in each community and to begin
taking steps together to address it."
It probably won't end the finger-pointing, but it at least puts some
real numbers to the claims. About ten years ago, during a public
hearing on Indiana's proposed school accountability law, a college
official stood up to complain about the cost of remediating Indiana
high school students.
A high school administrator then stood up to respond. He told the
college official that remedial courses would no longer be needed if
colleges would raise their admission standards. Students pay attention
when they hear that an upperclassmen they admire can't get into a college. They
will start working harder when the stakes are higher, he insisted.
It seemed like good advice then and still seems like good advice