New report finds the keys to student success in mountains of data

success-postsecondary According to a new report, the mountains of data collected by institutions is staggering, but focused correctly, predictors and indicators of postsecondary success can be seen—making available new insights for college recruiters, educators and advisors as to what factors constitutes a student likely to graduate.

The report, “Predictors of Postsecondary Success,” conducted by the College & Career Readiness & Success Center at American Institutes for Research (AIR) reviewed more than 80 research studies and summarized and sorted information on student success based on indicators, predictors, and other potential factors.

By summarizing early childhood through early postsecondary education research, AIR hopes to identify student skills, behaviors, and other characteristics that predict future academic and workplace success.

“Through this information, policymakers and practitioners can begin to inform the development and validation of factors to identify students who are not on a path to postsecondary success as early as prekindergarten and as late as their senior year of high school,” states AIR. “These factors can inform practice and can be integrated into a longitudinal tracking mechanism.”

Though the report is meant to be more helpful suggestion than hard rule, AIR believes the information provided in the report offers a starting point to develop and test contextually and reliable factors that measure progression toward postsecondary success along education spectrum.

(Next page: The 10 predictors of success)

Though the report also lists indicators, predictors and other factors of success in early childhood, elementary school, middle grades, and high school, eCampus News will focus specifically on those listed for postsecondary and beyond:

1. Completion of mathematics and English gateway courses and career exploration courses

2. 15 credits per quarter

3. Attended experience and orientation program

4. GPA of 3.0 or higher

5. Immediate enrollment after high school graduation

6. Working less than 15 hours per week

7. Participation in extracurricular activities

8. High educational expectations for self

9. Enrollment in a baccalaureate transfer program

10. Vocational intent

Based on the review of the research, AIR also developed a list of recommendations for consideration when using postsecondary success indicators:

  • Continue building comprehensive, user-friendly state, district, and campus data systems that allow data linkages across prekindergarten to workforce in order to identify indicators for readiness and success.
  • Create measures that correlate with postsecondary success and other proximal outcomes, and test the measures with multiple cohorts of students who have moved or are moving through your system. Examine potential differences, by student subgroups, to make sure the measures work for all students, and adjust as necessary if there are subgroup differences.
  • Integrate measures of readiness and success into your data systems, and use these measures and data systems to identify and intervene with struggling students and to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions and school reform initiatives.

For more detailed analysis, as well as how the research was conducted, read the full report here.


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