Research makes strong connections between college performance and Advanced Placement (AP) test scores. In general, those who do well on AP exams do better in college than those who do not do well on the exams. Hispanic test takers in particular are 28 percent more likely to succeed in college. How's that for closing the achievement gap?
Source: Center for Studies in Higher Education, The Role of Advanced Placement and Honors Courses in College Admissions, 2004. http://www.cshe.berkeley.edu/publications/role-advanced-placement-and-honors-courses-college-admissions
Although African-Americans comprise 12-13 percent of the U.S. population, they are not represented at that rate as engineering degree holders. While electrical engineering is the closest field to full representation at 6 percent, mechanical engineering trails behind at 3 percent.
Source: Georgetown University, African Americans College Majors & Earnings, 2016. https://cew.georgetown.edu/wp-content/uploads/AfricanAmericanMajors_2016_web.pdf
As conversations continue on raising standards in schools, it's important to take a critical look at the rate of high-level achievement. The Center for American Progress analyzed 2015 performance on the NAEP exam by state in order to get an idea of those rates. In the end, they found that the number of students considered advanced is at an all-time low for many states. In West Virginia specifically, for example, there are only 610 eight-graders scoring at the advanced level in math.
Source: Center for American Progress, A Look at the Education Crisis, January 2016.
As discussed in our latest brief, Left to Chance, students aren't getting adequate technology and engineering exposure in schools. Could the same be true for computer science instruction? Increasing girl's exposure to computer science in school could also increase their confidence.
Source: Gallup, Images of Computer Science: Perceptions Among Students, Parents and Educators in the U.S., 2016. http://services.google.com/fh/files/misc/images-of-computer-science-report.pdf
If you're interested in increasing college readiness for all students, one way is to guarantee access to Algebra II courses during highschool. According to the National Math & Science Initiative, taking Algebra II in highschool makes students 50 percent more likely to finish college and earn four-year degrees.
Source: National Math & Science Initiative, STEM Education & Workforce, January 2014.