What Does a College-Going Culture Look Like?
“A majority of students believes their school emphasizes college readiness, while many teachers, and especially parents, believe that schools could be doing a better job of informing students about the steps to take to be prepared to get into college and to finance their education.”
- The MetLife Survey of the American Teacher: Preparing Students for College and Careers
Sounds like a clear, simple and straightforward request from the people who have the most on the line when it comes to college readiness, right?
One problem – just what is a college-going culture and what does being college and career ready really look like? College Summit has identified four dimensions of a college-going culture, and we’ve been looking at what others involved in the process are saying as well.
Knowledge and Expectations - The extent to which stakeholders know and understand student PSE & career opportunities
“Schools (must) have clearly defined expectations… Parents with no more than a high
school education are more likely than those who have graduated college to rate their child’s school as fair or poor (53% vs. 34%) in providing information to parents about the requirements to get into college” - The MetLife Survey
“The (Common Core) standards provide a clear and consistent framework designed to help ensure that students graduate from high school ready to succeed in college and careers ” - US Department of Education College Completion Tool Kit
“According to teachers, parents, students and Fortune1000 executives, the critical components of being college- and career-ready focus more on higher-order thinking and performance skills than knowledge of challenging content” - The MetLife Survey
“Students should have fewer, clearer, and higher standards aligned with college requirements; all students should be expected to graduate from high school and college or career training programs that lead to meaningful employment” - Building a Grad Nation: Progress and Challenge in Ending the High School Dropout Epidemic
Academic Behavior and Rigor - The extent to which academic opportunities are available and used, and how well students perform academically
“Schools (must) excel at preparing students in core subjects as well as the interdisciplinary area of global awareness” - The MetLife Survey
“(P)rovid(e) all students with four years of course work in English and at least three years in mathematics, science, and social studies. . .When students can demonstrate mastery, they should be able to advance” - College Completion Tool Kit
“An emphasis on higher-order mathematics such as trigonometry and calculus is included in the Common Core State Standards as well as numerous other reform proposals aimed at ensuring that students receive the preparation considered necessary to be college- and career-ready. However, half or fewer of teachers (as well as executives) say that knowledge and ability in higher-level science or mathematics is absolutely essential or very important” - The MetLife Survey
“(S)tates should continue to adopt the Common Core State Standards, together with performance standards with real accountability for meeting them.” - Building a Grad Nation
Support, Structure, and Tools - The extent to which institutional supports, structure, & tools advance college-going efforts
“Schools (must) provide a range of information, programs and supports related to going to college” - The MetLife Survey
“Upgrade curricular rigor to higher education expectations by incorporating college placement exam questions into state high school tests” - College Completion Tool Kit
“Parent engagement strategies . . . should be responsive to cultural differences and include prompt notification of academic, behavioral, attendance, or other problems; earlier contact throughout middle school and in and beyond 9th grade on what constitutes success in high school; a single point of contact at the school; information on high school graduation and college admission requirements, including financial aid and assistance every step of the way in negotiating the roadblocks on the way to college” - Building a Grad Nation
Signaling - The extent to which the educational community signals the importance of PSE planning and application
Schools (must) provide a range of information and programs to students and parents - The MetLife Survey
“Schools should collaborate with community-based and national service organizations to provide students with the supports they need inside and outside of school. Interventions can include mentoring and tutoring, targeted literacy and math curricula support, 9th grade academies, extended school time, and a wide range of community-based supports to address academic, social, medical, and mental health needs” - Building a Grad Nation
The conversation continues, and we’re going to keep researching, gathering data and evaluating how schools can get the best answers.