Strengthening Transitions from High School to Postsecondary Pursuits
Thursday, November 12, 2015: 1:45 PM-3:15 PM
Tuttle Center (Hyatt Regency Miami)
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
Panel Organizers: Steven W. Hemelt, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Panel Chairs: Susan Dynarski, University of Michigan
Discussants: Stephanie Cellini, George Washington University and Michal Kurlaender, University of California, Davis
For many college students, the transition from high school is rocky. Fifty percent are required to take remedial courses, with the rate closer to 70 percent at community colleges (National Center for Education Statistics (NCES, 2012)). Even among students who took the recommended set of college-preparatory courses in high school, remediation is common. For example, among college students who had taken trigonometry and advanced algebra in high school, 40 percent were required to take remedial math (NCES, 2012).
Most large-scale studies on the effects of remedial and developmental courses on student persistence and degree completion find negative or null effects for college students at the margin of passing out of remediation. A likely explanation for these discouraging findings is that college is too late to address issues of under-preparedness. As such, American high schools and colleges have recently begun experimenting with a variety of interventions designed to identify students’ remedial needs earlier in high school and/or better align the secondary-school curriculum with the demands of college: early warning systems, increased information, and high-school/college collaborations are popular strategies designed to help students avoid remedial courses and succeed in college. Given the recent adoption of such strategies on a large scale, we still know little about the effects of these programs on students’ performance late in high school, enrollment in college, and subsequent postsecondary persistence and completion.
This panel includes four papers that use experimental or quasi-experimental methods to study impacts of various policy initiatives aimed at smoothing the transition from high school to the postsecondary world.