New data promotes college readiness in Delaware schools [video]

 (Nichelle Polston/WHYY)

(Nichelle Polston/WHYY)

Delaware educators are better at tracking how students succeed in high school and college.  That information comes from data released by the Strategic Data Project (SDP), which shows whether or not Delaware students are college ready.

The new report, Delaware College-Going Diagnostic (An Analysis of The First State Students’ College Readiness) was put together in a partnership with SDP and the Delaware Department of Education.  They used local and national data from over a six year period to help educators examine students’ progression through high school.

“Our goal is that all of our children are prepared for college when they’re done with high school that they can make that step into college successfully and it is painful to see children who are prepared and not making the step,” said Secretary of Education Mark Murphy.

Only three out of ten Delaware ninth graders make it to their second year of college. This is all important says Gov. Jack Markell since the economic forecast predicts 55 percent of all jobs in Delaware will require educational and training beyond high school by 2020.

“If we’re going to do our part, and if we’re going to give our young people the opportunity to succeed in this economy, and build the kind of workforce that’s going to attract the new and expanding companies of the future, we’ve got to make sure that we give them the best chance possible to graduate from high school and then to successfully pursue additional training and education,” said Gov. Markell, D-Del.

In an effort to better understand Delaware students, the data will be used to implement initiatives and programs to improve high school graduation rates as well as increase college enrollment and retention rates.

“There’s also a real call to action and urgency aspect to this as well because clearly we’re seeing in these numbers that not all of our children are being successful. Number 2, we have wide variations between our high schools where some students are being much more successful in high school in A than high school B and so this is urgency around addressing all of our high schools and all of our children so they all have the opportunity to go to college and persist,” said Murphy.

The diagnostic found most Delaware students fall off track during their freshman year of college and raised issues that would be addressed by several key components Gov. Markell has highlighted in the Race to the Top plan. Markell has charged the educators to raise expectations for all students with the Common Core State Standards, expand high-quality early childhood education opportunities, provide educator preparation as well as urge teachers to review student progress and share best pratices.

The Strategic Data Project is a part of the Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University which recently unveiled an analysis of the state’s teaching force.

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