Indicators in Middle School Help Predict Progress toward College Readiness

students examining bones in a hand

Although the nation’s high school graduation rate recently topped 80 percent, many students who choose to go on to college arrive under prepared. Early warning systems have been developed to identify students at risk for dropping out of high-school, but not for students off-track for college readiness. Most college-readiness measures (e.g., SAT scores, high school GPAs) are collected toward the end of a student’s high school career when little time remains to correct course. Moreover, these measures may offer a somewhat narrow portrait of readiness – focused only on academic achievement to the exclusion of social, behavioral, or socioeconomic factors. To address these shortcomings, the Center for College & Career Success is researching middle school indicators that can be used to predict a student’s progress towards college readiness.

 

 

Learn more about the work of the Center for College & Career Success, which is part of Pearson’s Research & Innovation Network. Or read about more research from Katie McClarty and Matt Gaertner at the Research & Innovation Network website. 

An article about the middle school readiness index appears on the Policy Analysis for California Education website.

 

About the Authors
Katie McClarty, Ph.D.

Katie McClarty, Ph.D.

Katie McClarty leads the Center for College & Career Success. She heads a team of researchers in planning and executing research in support of the Center mission, which is to (1) identify and measure the skills needed to be successful in college and careers, (2) determine pathways for students to be college and career ready, (3) track their progress along the pathway, and (4) evaluate effective ways to keep students on track. Dr. McClarty has authored papers, chapters, and presentations related to college readiness, standard setting, assessment design, computer-based testing, interface design, teacher effectiveness, and next generation assessments. Her work has been published in journals such as the American Psychologist, Research in Higher Education, Applied Measurement in Education, Measurement: Interdisciplinary Research & Perspectives, and Educational Researcher. Dr. McClarty holds a doctorate degree in social and personality psychology from the University of Texas at Austin.

 

Matt Gaertner, Ph.D.

Matt Gaertner, Ph.D.

Matthew Gaertner’s methodological interests include multilevel models, categorical data analysis, and Item Response Theory. Substantively, his research focuses on the effects of educational policies and reforms on disadvantaged students’ access, persistence, and achievement. Dr. Gaertner’s work has been published in Harvard Law Review, Harvard Educational Review, Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, Research in Higher Education, and Educational Measurement: Issues and Practice. His research on affirmative action has been recognized by numerous professional organizations. He was awarded a Spencer Foundation Dissertation Fellowship and an Association for Institutional Research Dissertation Grant. Dr. Gaertner also received the 2013 and 2011 Charles F. Elton Best Paper Awards from the Association for Institutional Research, and was named the 2011 Outstanding Doctoral Graduate at the University of Colorado. He earned a Ph.D. in Research and Evaluation Methodology from the University of Colorado Boulder. Follow him on Twitter @MatthewGaertner