Search This Blog

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Getting What You Measure

I've heard a few comments that graduation rates were not all that important.  Below is a comment from a blog I read. I do agree that a high school diploma should not be the prize - some continuing education has to be done to survive in the 21st century - I just don't believe college is necessarily what every child needs.  Never-the-less, read the article and visit the Eduwonk blog site.

You Get What You Measure
Today, I’d like to hand it over to Keith Frome , Chief Academic Officer at College Summit, to discuss one of the key drivers to creating a college-going culture in high schools discussed on Monday: Setting high expectations for results.

No matter what a school may say about itself in its promotional literature or mission statement, the kind of evaluation a school or a school system uses to determine educational effectiveness will also determine the culture and the curriculum of the school itself.

Students need high academic standards and schools need regular skills assessments. Good teaching demands real-time data in order to provide nimble remediation. We should make sure that every student reads and calculates at grade level. But why do we stop there?

Schools and school districts need to know a real measure of the impact of education in their students' lives: postsecondary education. The reason young people work hard in high school in the 21st century is not to get a high school diploma. It is to make a better future through college and career. Students know that what gets measured is what matters. As long as high schools' ultimate goal and measure is high school graduation, they will continue to design themselves out-of-step with their customers (the students!), and lose relevance.

The momentum from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to get all students to be "college-ready" is a bulls-eye
it focuses the purpose of high school as a launch pad to college and career success, not as a destination in and of itself. We need official school district report cards that calculate the number of students who matriculate to college.

Policymakers can make an immediate and profound difference in American education by helping schools
and parentsaccess college enrollment and persistence information for every high school. Behavior and curriculum will quickly follow this incentive, and children all over the country will be told, from the time they enter kindergarten, that they are college bound, that they are learning to read and write not for the sake of a test score, not for the sake of a principal's or a superintendent's job security, but because they will need these skills in college and beyond.

Why adopt "college enrollment rate" as a measure for every high school?

    • It matches a Children-First agenda. It's one of the most real measures of the impact of K12 in the lives of students.
    • It's a motivator for students. When students work hard in high school, it's not to get a diploma anymore. It's for their future, for college and career success. Students know that what gets measured is what matters, so they'll notice when their school prioritizes their success after high school.
    • "College Enrollment Rate" makes sense as a measure to parents, business leaders (voters!), etc. It doesn't take Eduwonk to get what it means and why it's important.

By creating a college matriculation standard, each child will understand that he or she will enjoy a future, a boundless horizon, a destiny. The National Association of Independent Schools sets ambitious targets for college enrollment rate for our nation's private schools. Why should we expect less of public schools? Imagine if we set college matriculation as the ultimate metric of our education system and taught for it, measured for it, hired for it. What a country this would be.

--Guestbloggers Keith Frome and J.B. Schramm

No comments:

Blog Archive


Subscribe Now: Feed Icon