New State Profiles Show Far Too Many States Need Better Data on College and Career Readiness

Tuesday, February 14, 2017Printer-friendly version
Lack of transparency in public reporting presents significant challenge for understanding and improving

Washington, D.C. — Achieve released updated college and career readiness profiles for every state along with a cross-state comparison report on K–12 and postsecondary education outcomes. These reports show that while a few states have improved their public reporting on indicators of student readiness for college and career, there is still a general lack of data transparency across states. Where states do report on these indicators, often data are not disaggregated, are not timely, and cannot be compared from year-to-year.

“Every state has prioritized the college and career readiness of its high school graduates through the adoption of higher academic standards, but too many states aren’t doing enough to monitor and report progress toward that goal,” said Michael Cohen, President of Achieve. “It’s critical that states be diligent and transparent about public reporting so that educators, families, policymakers, and advocates have the information they need to move the needle on student achievement in a meaningful way.”

The release of last year’s state profiles and cross-state reports represented the first time that these data, from publicly available sources, had been compiled to paint a picture of college and career readiness in every state. This year’s updated reports continue to show that, despite recent high-profile increases in graduation rates, too few high school graduates are prepared to succeed in postsecondary education, the military, and careers.

This year’s reports also show that some states have made progress in their public reporting on a number of college and career readiness indicators. Alabama and Ohio have added the greatest number of indicators to their public reporting. Four states (Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, and Nevada) report state-level data for at least eight indicators, while six others report state-level data for seven different indicators of readiness. Many states, however, still have a long way to go, particularly in their reporting of disaggregated subgroup data. Without disaggregated data, reporting can hide nuances of differences in student performance among different groups – for example, of low-income and minority students. As an example, just nine states report data on whether students are on track to graduate, and only three of those break the data down by subgroup.

“State leaders, partners, advocates, and the public should continue to push for greater transparency and use that data to examine trends and determine whether policy and practice decisions are producing the desired results,” said Cohen.

The cross-state comparison report and the 51 state performance profiles are available on Achieve’s website.