Category Archives: College Readiness

Study: Implementation of Individualized Learning Plans Varies Across US High Schools

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About 72 percent of public high school students are required to have a graduation, career, or education plan, according to findings released this month by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). This figure supports data collected by NACAC as part of its 2015 study of individualized learning plans (ILPs), which indicated that all 50 states had in place at least one initiative for promoting college and career planning among high school students.

In fact, 29 states plus the District of Columbia mandate the development of ILPs in secondary schools, but the ways in which these plans are implemented vary greatly.

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Imagine Grant Helps California Students Explore College Majors and Careers

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It’s a scenario counselors know well: A student proudly announces they’re applying to college and plans to study physics.

So far so good. But then comes the kicker. What does the student hope to do with their degree? Cure cancer.

But as many counselors know, a degree in biology or in the health sciences offers a more direct route to cancer research, said Nicole Murphy, director of college access and financial aid strategies with PUC Schools, a California nonprofit charter school organization serving students in Northeast Los Angeles and the Northeast San Fernando Valley.

So this spring, Murphy launched a new initiative aimed at helping teens make connections between their interests and the college search process. Thirty industry experts and college department heads shared their insights with students during PUC’s inaugural College Majors & Careers Event in March.

The event, which served 520 high school juniors, was supported by a $1,000 grant from NACAC’s Imagine Fund.

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Study: Having a Black Teacher Can Help Keep Black Kids in School

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Low-income black students who have at least one black teacher in elementary school are more likely to graduate from high school and consider attending college, according to a new working paper published by the Institute of Labor Economics.

Being assigned to a classroom led by a black teacher in in third, fourth, or fifth grade reduced a student’s probability of dropping out of school by 29 percent, the study found.

And the positive effects were even greater among low-income black boys, whose likelihood of dropping out fell by 39 percent.

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Teens Produce Textbook Aimed at Teaching Racial Literacy

Courtesy of GoFundMe
Courtesy of GoFundMe

After discovering that their classmates did not have a real understanding of racial injustice, then-tenth graders Winona Guo and Priya Vulchi set out in 2014 to start a conversation and initiate change.

Today Guo and Vulchi are co-founders and co-presidents of Choose, an online community where people can share their stories of inequality, and the creators of the textbook Princeton Choose: The Classroom Index.

The textbook is now on its third edition and has been sold to about 500 schools and individuals across 15 states. Now seniors at Princeton High School in New Jersey, the girls are looking at their next steps for the textbook and the online community.

Their goal? Ensure K-12 students in schools nationwide “develop the historical and sociological toolkit for racial literacy” — a knowledge base they hope will ultimately help young people recognize racial justice and inspire them to create a better world.

Guo and Vulchi recently sat down with Teen Vogue to discuss the project and their goals for the future. Here’s an excerpt of their chat:

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Parental Expectations That Are Too High Can Harm Students, Researchers Say

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Editor’s note:  A version of this post was first appeared on Admitted in 2015.

Parental expectations that are too high can end up undermining student success in the classroom, research shows.

The findings, published in 2015, are derived from a five-year study of more than 3,500 middle and high school students in Germany.

Researchers examined the results of annual math tests given to students. They also asked parents to list the grades they hoped their children would earn, as well as the grades they thought their children could reasonably obtain.

The study showed that while realistic expectations helped kids perform well, unrealistically high expectations harmed student achievement.

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Online Resources to Help Students Explore Careers

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What role should school counselors play in helping students explore careers?

An article published this month by the National Career Development Association asserts that teens are best served when given opportunities to participate in internships and explore earnings data while still in high school.

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Researcher: US High Schools Must Invest in College Counselors

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Editor’s Note: A version of this post originally appeared on Admitted in December 2015.

US high schools must devote more time to college counseling if they want to “see the fruit of other investments,” according to one education researcher.

In a 2015 column, New America staffer Abigail Swisher makes the case that students need both rigorous curriculum and personalized guidance to achieve their postsecondary plans.

“If we want to recreate the American high school as a place where all students have the resources for success in college and career, we need to reinvent the role of counselors,” Swisher writes, citing data from NACAC and other education associations. “This could mean reducing the caseload or number of responsibilities each counselor has, or it might mean moving to an entirely different model of support.”

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#NACACreads: Gen Z Students Take New Approach to College Selection

generationzThe first wave of Generation Z students had just entered kindergarten on 9/11.

They lived through the Great Recession and came of age in an era defined by new technologies that changed the way we learn and connect with others.

And today, as students born between 1995 and 2010 begin to search for and select colleges, those formative experiences loom large, author Meghan Grace said Tuesday during a #NACACreads Twitter discussion of Generation Z Goes to College.

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#NACACreads: Join Tuesday’s Discussion of ‘Generation Z Goes to College’

generationzHow will the next generation of students approach the college search and selection process?

Share your insights and ask questions during Tuesday’s #NACACreads discussion of Generation Z Goes to College. Special guest Meghan Grace, one of the book’s authors, will take part in the Twitter chat and address how this new cohort of students views higher education.

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Study: Empathy Training for Teachers Could Reduce Student Suspensions

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Exercises designed to help teachers empathize with their students may lead to a drop in suspensions, according to a recent study from Stanford University (CA).

Researchers provided professional development to 31 middle school math teachers. Half of the educators were assigned readings that encouraged them to think about the underlying reasons students misbehave in class. The other half read about how technology can enhance learning.

“Students in the group whose teachers received professional development on empathy were half as likely to be suspended over the course of the school year than students whose teachers were in the control group, and the differences remained significant after controlling for race, gender, and other factors,” according to an Ed Week report about the new research.

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