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On-Track Indicators can support district goals such as college and career readiness, increasing graduation rates, identifying struggling readers, and preparing students to contribute to society following a K-12 experience. Some school districts have started using On-Track Indicators to identify students who need additional support. School districts in Texas and Arkansas recently entered a partnership with REL Southwest to study how On-Track Indicators can improve high school graduation rates (Grant, 2011). Balfanz (2009) found in the sixth grade and throughout the middle grades most students had only one or two off track indicators. However, students who had multiple indicators had extremely poor graduation outcomes. His research introduced the idea that high school graduation and On-Track Indicators can be measured as early as the sixth grade.
How does your school or school district determine if a student is On-Track at the end of the first nine weeks? According to the National Governors Association (2009), most states fail to give students and families clear signals on what it means to be 'college ready.' In an ideal world, a high school diploma would represent college and career readiness. The Center for Public Education (2011) developed a video which provides additional ideas for K-12 educators to consider.
On-Track Indicators have been referred to as a check engine light. Pinkus (2009) suggests, "It is useful to have a common indicator of high school performance that could serve as a kind of check engine light to indicate whether high schools are meeting their ultimate goal of graduating every student for college, careers, and life in the twenty first century" (p. 3). On-Track Indicators could include measures of attendance, behavior/discipline reports, course completion/course failure, reading scores, completion of Algebra I or other graduation requirements, student grades, or other school level indicators. “One of the most appealing claims made for indicators is that they will serve as an early warning system, alerting policymakers to problems in time to intervene” (Oakes, 1986, p. 16).
If your school or school district uses On-Track Indicators, please share which indicators you measure and any evidence of the impact on student achievement.
If you are interested in learning about On-Track Indicators, the Annenberg Institute for School Reform is hosting a webinar on Friday, October 7, at 1:00 pm EST.
College Readiness Lessons from Consortium on Chicago School Research
Date: Friday, October 7
Time: 1:00 - 2:00 pm EST
Presenter: Elaine Allensworth, Senior Director and Chief Research Officer, Consortium on Chicago School Research
Register for the Webinar: http://bit.ly/qIR5zA
Researchers at the Consortium on Chicago School Research (CCSR) at the University of Chicago have conducated a number of studies over the last several years aimed at helping middle and high schools improve their students' attainment of high school and college degrees. Elaine Allensworth will present a summary of this research, and describe the use of research findings to develop indicator systems and school practice in Chicago public schools. She will discuss three lines of work: 1) ninth grade indicator systems for high school graduation and college readiness; 2) twelfth grade indicators of college readiness and college access monitoring systems; and 3) middle grade indicators of high school and college readiness.
Balfanz, R. (2009). Putting middle grades students on the graduation path. Westerville, OH: National Middle School Association.
Data First Training: College and Career Readiness Video. Retrieved on October 3, 2011, from http://vimeo.com/22656891.
Grant, M. (2011). Arkansas consortium on school research engages educators with hands-on use of data. San Antonio, TX: Edvance Research.
National Governors Association (2009). Increasing college success: A roadmap for Governors. Washington, DC: National Governors Association.
Oakes, J. (1986). Educational indicators: A guide for policymakers. New Brunswick,N.J.: Center For Policy Research In Education, Rutgers University.
Pinkus, L. (2009). Moving beyond AYP: High school performance indicators. Washington, DC: Alliance for Excellent Education.
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