More Indiana Students Ready for College, but Preparation Gaps Remain

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New state readiness measure focused on students graduating—not just going to—college.

More Hoosiers are graduating high school prepared for college-level coursework, according to Indiana’s latest College Readiness Reports. Despite improvement in college-readiness in recent years, nearly one-fifth of recent high school graduates arrive on Indiana campuses not academically prepared to take courses that count toward their degrees, particularly in the subject of Math.

“Students who finish high school academically prepared are more likely to complete college, graduate on time and spend less on their degrees,” Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education Teresa Lubbers said. “The overall trend is encouraging, but more must be done to align Indiana’s high school diploma standards with the expectations of colleges and employers.”

The 2017 College Readiness Report data reveal significant differences in academic preparation depending on which high school diploma In-diana’s college-going students earn. While only 3 percent of Honors di-ploma graduates required remediation in college, half (50 percent) of General Diploma earners and one-fifth (20 percent) of Core 40 Diploma students who graduated high school in 2015 needed remediation as college freshmen.

“The recent College Readiness Report is encouraging. However, there is work to be done. The Department of Education is committed to prioritizing improvements in college and career readiness” said Dr. Jennifer McCormick, Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Available at www.che.in.gov, Indiana’s College Readiness Reports are provided for every high school, school district and county in the state, along with an interactive online dashboard that enables custom data reporting. Highlights from the 2017 College Readiness Report include:

College-Going

Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of Indiana’s high school graduates went directly to college, which is on par with prior years but slightly below the national average (68 percent). Nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of Indiana students attend public colleges with 13 percent attending private colleges and 12 percent going to out-of-state schools. About half (51 percent) of Hoosiers enrolled in four-year colleges and nearly a quarter (23 percent) attended two-year colleges.

College Readiness

Despite wide disparities in college readiness by high school diploma type, the overall trend line is positive. The latest college readiness data also show impressive gains in Hoosier students earning early-college credit with 60 percent of high school graduates finishing with Advanced Placement or dual credit, a 13-point increase over three years.

State experts credit much of the change in remediation rates to recent reforms at Ivy Tech Community College that include new Math pathways that are more closely aligned with students’ programs of study and the transition to a more effective “co-requisite” remediation model that places remedial students directly in college-level courses with additional wraparound support rather than the traditional series of stand alone remedial courses that don’t count toward a degree.

“Ivy Tech’s efforts to redesign remediation and ensure math is a gateway rather than a barrier to student success has been tremendously effective,” said Lubbers. “These approaches are now widely recognized nationally, and we see an opportunity to apply these same proven practices much earlier for the benefit of Hoosier high school students.”

Indiana had 117 high schools with at least 90 percent of their college-going graduates academically prepared for college, and 267 schools improved their college-readiness rates by 10 percentage-points or more over the past five years.

NEW College Success Measure

In an effort to provide an even clearer picture of college readiness, the Indiana Commission for Higher Education has developed a new expanded measure aimed at gauging whether college-going students are on track to complete their degrees. The measure incorporates three key performance indicators on the percentages of students who: 1) enroll in only non-remedial college courses; 2) complete all credits attempted; and 3) persist to their second year of college.

The data show that most (93 percent) Hoosier students met at least one of these indicators but less than half (44 percent) met all three.

“Our goal is ensuring students have the preparation and support needed to complete college, not just go to college,” said Lubbers, noting that Indiana’s on-time college completion rates for recent high school grads have improved by nearly seven percentage points at the state’s four-year colleges and by about four points at Indiana’s two-year colleges over the past three years.

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