Cutting Student Data Systems (CALPADS) Would Harm Parents, Educators

Over the past decade, Californians have learned a lot about the academic performance of our students, thanks in large part to data collected from school districts. We now know, for example, the following:

The achievement gap between African-American eighth graders and their white peers has increased statewide over the past seven years in English Language Arts; that Asian students, in general, are high-performing, but that certain subgroups of Asian students, including Laotian and Samoan students, are silently struggling; and that in certain school districts, Latino and African-American students have equitable access to college-ready coursework, while in other school districts they are disproportionately being denied access to the courses that public universities require.

All of this data has armed parents, community members, advocates, and policymakers with the information they need to make better decisions on behalf of students. And this kind of information is just the beginning. With new and better ways of collecting data, we now know our state’s dropout rate is 21.5%, at least 8 percentage points higher than we previously thought. And this year, we will know for the first time the state’s true four-year graduation rate. Yet, if Governor Jerry Brown’s most recent budget revision is adopted, the future collection of such data is at risk.

Over the last eight years, the state has been building a longitudinal student data system known as CALPADS. This system is being built in response to federal requirements that each state be able to track enrollment history and achievement data over time for individual students. Since 2005, each student in California has been assigned a unique, anonymous identification number that school districts use to submit data to the state about each student’s enrollment, demographics, achievement and more. All of this student-level data will ultimately be housed in CALPADS, which is now nearing completion. This year, almost every district used CALPADS to report their enrollment, and will soon use it to report the other data as well.

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The Educational Experience of Young Men of Color

Early in 2010, the College Board issued the report The Educational Crisis Facing Young Men of Color. This was the culmination of two years of qualitative research into the comparative and, indeed, in some cases, the absolute lack of success that males of color are experiencing as they traverse the education pipeline. This research focused on conversations, which we called Dialogue Days, that engaged members of four groups — African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, Native Americans and Asian Americans — in a series of discourses designed to get at the issues confronting these young men. The findings were a powerful reminder of the disparate educational outcomes of different groups in the United States.

Within a generation, the United States will be a much more diverse nation. In fact, in less than half a century, no racial or ethnic group will be a majority. We also knew that the fastest-growing populations in the country were those minority groups with the lowest levels of educational attainment. We were assured by the data that if present levels of education and current population trends hold, the U.S. will see a decline in the educational attainment of the country as a whole.

In order to regain the nation’s once-preeminent international position in the percentage of young adults with postsecondary credentials, we must begin to matriculate and graduate populations of American students who traditionally have been underrepresented at the postsecondary level. The educational achievement of young men of color demands significant dialogue; currently, just 26 percent of African Americans, 24 percent of Native Americans and Pacific Islanders, and 18 percent of Hispanic Americans have at least an associate degree. In addition, in each racial and ethnic group young women are outperforming young men with respect to the attainment of high school diplomas, with even more pronounced disparities at the postsecondary level. The Educational Experience of Young Men of Color initiative seeks  to identify existing — and needed — research around this issue, understand the “why” and provide an overview of the legal landscape within which solutions must be developed.

We have conducted an extensive data and literature review to find out what is known to date on the situation facing young men of color. The College Board, in partnership with the Business Innovation Factory, have engaged these young men directly to understand how they view their experiences and to add their voice to the discussion of how to better meet their needs.

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Posted in Data/Research, Postsecondary (13-18), Students. Tags: . Comments Off on The Educational Experience of Young Men of Color