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Pt c final report revised (10-1-12)

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  • 1. Pathways to PostsecondaryCompletion:How Are Philadelphia Students Faring?October 2011
  • 2. Table of Contents1. Introduction ..............................................................................................................2 About this Report .....................................................................................................32. Data Findings ...........................................................................................................63. Preliminary Recommendations ............................................................................. 19 Moving Forward: Policy Recommendations .......................................................... 19 Moving Forward: Recommendations for Future Data Collection ......................... 20 Questions for Further Reflection ........................................................................... 22 Closing Thoughts .................................................................................................. 23
  • 3. 1. Introduction “In order to be a truly great city, in order to be a true world-class city, inorder to be a city of hope and opportunity, the new Philadelphia must be‘The Education City.’” -Mayor Michael NutterSince his inauguration, increasing college completion rates among Philadelphians hasbeen an educational and economic development priority for Mayor Nutter and hisadministration. This agenda has drawn national recognition to Philadelphia as a city thatis working across community stakeholders to improve college access at a time when thenational focus on college completion is increasing.Many policymakers, funders, and local advocates recognize the importance of raising theeducation level of the American populace if the United States is to compete effectively inthe global marketplace. The Obama administration and national foundations like the Billand Melinda Gates Foundation and the Lumina Foundation for Education have set forthpublic goals for increasing the number of Americans with college degrees, and even inthese difficult economic times, they have made substantive investments in collegecompletion.Reaching the broad and ambitious goals of the college completion movement requiresfinding a way to ground and focus conversations at the level of serving students. Acrosscommunities, data use has emerged as a key method of achieving this objective. Effortslike Complete College America are helping states to delve more deeply into theireducational data, develop a clearer understanding of students’ college completionpatterns, and ultimately identify strategies that can help localities, states, and the nationachieve stronger educational and occupational outcomes for young adults.Mayor Nutter, upon taking office, formed the Philadelphia Council for College andCareer Success, a group with a vision to ensure that all Philadelphia youth are preparedfor educational and economic success. The Council includes a range of leaders from theSchool District of Philadelphia, Philadelphia’s multiple colleges and universities,influential business organizations, research organizations, and members of the nonprofitprovider community. The Council’s leadership team is comprised of three committees:Project U-Turn, which focuses on high school dropouts; WorkReady, which focuses onconnecting education and employment; and CollegeReady, which is devoted toincreasing college access and success. CollegeReady has been instrumental as thesteward of the local college completion agenda, pushing data collection to the forefront inits efforts to support that agenda. These partners have employed the use of data toactivate conversations about Philadelphia students’ college completion patterns and tocreate a stronger sense of accountability across all Council partners and in thecommunity. Nationally about 20% of ninth graders graduate high school on time and go 2|Page
  • 4. on to graduate college within six years. Philadelphia’s college completion rate is abouthalf of that, creating even greater urgency within an already pressing issue.1About this ReportMost recently, a subcommittee of CollegeReady, the Data Workteam, spearheaded thedevelopment of a comprehensive set of common college metrics and a tool for collectingthese data across colleges serving Philadelphia’s high school students. Twenty collegessubmitted a first round of data in the summer of 2011 using this tool. This report offersdata analyses from this data collection effort and seeks to provide answers to three criticalquestions:1. What are the college access and success patterns of Philadelphia students, including not only those who graduated from public (including charter) high schools but also from private and Archdiocese high schools, once they enter college?2. What are the specific points of progress and challenge for students from Philadelphia high schools as they move from the application process through developmental education coursework and toward graduation?3. How do patterns for students from Philadelphia high schools compare to students from non-Philadelphia high schools?Section 2 of this report provides an overview of our Data Findings, which OMGdeveloped in partnership with the CollegeReady Data Workteam’s senior leadership. Weused the Loss-Momentum Framework2 developed by the Bill and Melinda GatesFoundation to organize these findings and explore the success and loss patterns ofstudents from Philadelphia high schools across four key junctures in their collegeexperience: Connection: This reflects students’ success in the college admissions process and includes the following indicators: number of applications, number of acceptances, and number of students who enrolled. Entry: This reflects students’ placement and outcomes in developmental education coursework and includes the following indicators: number of students who took developmental education courses in English and math and those who passed developmental education courses in English and math.1 To date, data use in Philadelphia has focused primarily on analyses of National Student Clearinghouse data provided by the SchoolDistrict of Philadelphia and also through research conducted by the OMG Center, supported by the John S. and James L. KnightFoundation. The full OMG report, College Access and Success in Philadelphia: College Enrollment Activity can be found online at:https://knight.box.net/shared/lv3eiqg542.2 The Loss-Momentum Framework was designed by the Completion by Design Assistance Team at the Bill and Melinda GatesFoundation. The Completion by Design initiative is a five-year investment by the Foundation to enable groups of community collegecampuses in several states to collaborate on the design and implementation of a model pathway to completion. For the full framework,see the Technical Appendix. 3|Page
  • 5. Progress: This reflects students’ movement through credit-bearing coursework and includes the following indicators: number of students who completed their first and second semesters, those who completed their second year, and those who were in good academic standing and/or on track to graduate after two years. Completion: This reflects students’ graduation from college and includes the following indicators: the number of students graduating in four years or in six years.In the final section of this report we present some Preliminary Recommendations andoffer some ideas about how to move forward with policy and data activities. In addition,we pose a series of questions to further the conversation around these data so that theCouncil and the community can continue to generate ideas about what these data meanfor policy and data collection moving forward.Throughout the report, we include a series of Technical Notes with information about thedata in this report, highlighting how we conducted our analyses, as well as some of thechallenges and limitations to data interpretation. 4|Page
  • 6. Introductory Technical NotesThe Mayors Office of Education requested data from 30 local andstatewide colleges and universities for this study, including public andprivate, as well as two-year and four-year institutions, and receivedanalyzable data from 20 diverse institutions.These participating institutions submitted information about sevenfreshman cohorts entering college between 2003 and 2009, tracking theirprogress from the application process through graduation to the extentpossible. The 2003 cohorts across the colleges, for example, offerlongitudinal data from first-year students application submissions to six-year completion rates. In addition, colleges provided disaggregatedinformation across these indicators specifically for students fromindividual Philadelphia high schools.Given that not all colleges provided data for all indicators, this report doesnot always present data for the same cohort (i.e., the same groups ofcolleges and universities) from connection through completion. In order tomaximize the data, we made decisions about what institutions to include inour analysis on the basis of which ones had complete data in any one ofthe four Loss-Momentum areas: connection, entry, progress, orcompletion. In other words, the groups of colleges and universitiesincluded in analyses may be different across each phase. It is always notedthroughout the report which institutions are included in any given analysis.Because the data were provided in the aggregate, individual-level progress,such as success in one step of the pathway in relation to a previous step,could not be assessed.The primary focus of this report is the postsecondary success ofPhiladelphia high school graduates. Thus, we present data on mostindicators for the cohort of students coming from Philadelphia high schoolsonly. Many colleges provided comparable data on students entering fromnon-Philadelphia high schools as well, and we use those data to presentsome comparative findings of students coming from Philadelphia versusnon-Philadelphia high schools.Community colleges represent a unique postsecondary experience and, assuch, the data from the community college in our study (CommunityCollege of Philadelphia) were analyzed separately.For a complete list of participating colleges and universities, a fulloverview of the metrics collected and their definitions, and a descriptionof the student population, see the Technical Appendix. 5|Page
  • 7. 2. Data Findings The key findings of our analysis are the following: The number of college applications is rising faster than acceptance and 1 enrollment figures. Developmental education course requirements are high for Philadelphia 2 students entering college, especially at the community college. Getting through the first semester and the first year of college are not the 3 only critical retention points for students; students may also be losing ground even after completing their second year. Academic challenges may explain only a portion of the loss of Philadelphia 4 students from college. Many Philadelphia students are taking more than four years to complete 5 college. Colleges of different selectivity (e.g., very competitive, competitive, non- 6 competitive) tend to enroll Philadelphia students from certain high school types (e.g., special admissions, parochial, and neighborhood). Differences exist between the college success patterns of students from 7 Philadelphia versus non-Philadelphia high schools.Each of these findings is described in more detail below. In addition, we highlight somequestions for further reflection based on preliminary conversations with localpostsecondary leaders and some of the research-based strategies included in the Loss-Momentum Framework introduced earlier. 6|Page
  • 8. The number of college applications is rising faster than 1 acceptance and enrollment figures.The number of applications to colleges increased between 2003 and 2009, but thedegree to which this led to an increase in acceptances and enrollments was moremoderate. Over the six-year period, the number of college applications fromPhiladelphia high school students steadily increased. The large increase in applications,however, did not produce a significant corresponding increase in acceptances orenrollment. Figure 1 shows that from 2003-2009, college applications increased by 61%(an additional 6,752 applications), acceptances increased by 22% (an additional 1,394acceptances), and there was a 15% increase in enrollments (an additional 307 students). Figure 1: Total number of applications, acceptances, and enrollments from 2003 to 2009 among 2003 through 2009 first-fall entering student cohorts from Philadelphia high schools2000018000 17899 1700916000 14949 1542714000 13378 1264412000 1114710000 8000 7774 6930 7220 6000 6380 6469 6347 6522 4000 2000 2015 2149 2253 2105 2195 2189 2322 1129 1266 1296 1173 1148 0 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Applications Acceptances Enrollments CCP Enrollments Note: No application or acceptance data are from CCP because CCP has non-competitive enrollment. 7|Page
  • 9. In other words, for every 20 additional applications submitted, there were approximatelyfour additional acceptances and one additional enrollment (Figure 2). Figure 2: Change from 2003 to 2009 in applications, acceptances, and enrollments among 2003 through 2009 first-fall entering student cohorts from Philadelphia high schools For every 20 additional applications from Philadelphia There were high school approximately and students from 4 additional 1 additional 2003 to 2009, acceptances, enrollment. Note: Rates were calculated by dividing the number of increased applications and acceptances by the number of increased enrollments.Questions for Further Reflection:1. What is driving the increase in applications: more students applying or more applications per students?2. Why hasn’t the increase in college applications led to a greater rise in acceptances and subsequent enrollments? 8|Page
  • 10. 2 Developmental education course requirements are high for Philadelphia students entering college, especially at the community college.Over 23% of Philadelphia students entering four-year institution were placed orenrolled in remedial course work in math and/or English. Placement and enrollment ofstudents from Philadelphia high schools in developmental education math and Englishcourses remained steady from 2006-2009, with about one-third of students fromPhiladelphia high schools requiring English remediation and about one-fourth requiringmath remediation (Figure 3). Figure 3: Placement/enrollment rates in math and English developmental education courses at select four- year colleges* among 2006 to 2009 first-fall entering student cohorts from Philadelphia high schools 100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 33% 33% 32% 35% 30% 23% 24% 24% 20% 18% 10% 0% 2006 2007 2008 2009 % placed  in  % took English % took mathin  % placed  English  Math *Colleges represented in developmental education analyses: Math: Bloomsburg, Chestnut Hill, Holy Family, Indiana, Lock Haven, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock, Temple English: Bloomsburg, Chestnut Hill, Holy Family, Millersville, Moore, Shippensburg, Temple, UArts Note: Developmental education course data prior to 2006 were unavailable. 9|Page
  • 11. At CCP, an even higher percentage of students enrolled in developmental educationcoursework; more than half of entering students enrolled in English and/or mathdevelopmental education courses. Between 2006 and 2009, on average, 83% of studentsentering CCP from Philadelphia high schools required developmental education coursesfor English and 63% for math (Figure 4). Developmental education enrollment at CCPwas over 40 percentage points higher than at the four-year colleges. Figure 4: Placement/Enrollment rates in math and English developmental education courses at CCP among 2006 to 2009 first-fall entering cohorts from Philadelphia high schools % placed  in  % placed  in  English  Math Across four-year institutions and CCP, developmental education enrollment rates werehigher for English than for math. In addition to enrolling more often in English than mathcourses, students were more likely to pass English courses. Students passed Englishcourses on average 91% of the time versus 76% of the time for math at four-yearcolleges; at CCP, students passed English courses on average 45% of the time versus41% of the time for math.Questions for Further Reflection:1. What are some of the differences among students enrolling in four- and two-year institutions that might be driving higher developmental education course rates at CCP?2. What is driving higher developmental education enrollment and pass rates in English versus math and what are the policy implications at both the K-12 and college levels?3. How does placement and success in developmental education courses impact students’ performance in introductory college-level coursework and their prospects for completing college? 10 | P a g e
  • 12. 3 Getting through the first semester and the first year of college are not the only critical retention points for students; students may also be losing ground even after completing their second year. Students are equally likely to be off the pathway to six-year completion after their second year of college as before their second year of college. Twenty-three percent of students left college before completing their second year; however, an additional 25% of students failed to complete college after six years (Figure 5). Figure 5: Proportion of first-fall students from Philadelphia high schools who matriculated into select colleges* in 2003 and persisted and met graduation milestones from first semester through to four- and six-year graduation completed at least 1 course credit in first 23  99% percentage  semester point drop retained fall 1 to fall 2 (i.e., returned for a 2nd from entry  83% spring semester) to end of  completed fall 1 through spring 2 (i.e., second  77% year completed first 4 consecutive semesters) in good standing fall 1 through spring 2** 70% 25  percentage on track to graduate fall 1 through spring 2*** 35% point drop  from end  of second  4‐year graduation 28% year to 6‐ year  6‐year graduation 52% graduation 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% *Colleges represented: Bloomsburg, East Stroudsburg, Indiana, La Salle, Lock Haven, Millersville, Moore, Peirce, Shippensburg, Temple, UArts, West Chester **Completed first four consecutive semesters and earned minimum GPA to be considered in good academic standing at individual institution ***Completed first four consecutive semesters and earned enough credits to enter third fall as a junior Questions for Further Reflection: 1. To what extent do changes in progress numbers represent students leaving college versus simply not being on track to a four- or six-year graduation but still enrolled? 1. Among those students who leave college or are at risk of not completing, what connections might exist between why and when a student falls off the pathway to graduation, and how might strategies be targeted for students falling off track at different points on the college continuum? 11 | P a g e
  • 13. 4 Academic challenges may explain only a portion of the loss of Philadelphia students from college.Only half of students at four-year institutions who persisted through their second yearaccumulated enough credits to be on track to a four-year graduation. Although 70% ofstudents completed their first two years of college in good academic standing, a vastmajority of those still enrolled after two years, only half of those students hadaccumulated enough credits to enroll as juniors in their third year of college (see Figure 5on previous page).Questions for Further Reflection:1. What is driving the low percentage of students who are on track to graduate in four years after the second year?2. What are the different student support strategies or institutional policy changes that can help students to pursue and stay on a four-year, or alternatively a six-year, track to graduation? Technical Notes It is important to note that our analyses of progress and completion in Findings 3-5 do not include data about the number of students that transfer to other institutions. The inclusion in our data of students who transfer could explain some of the drop-off observed along the progress continuum. From a study conducted by OMG in 2010 (see earlier footnote), we know that 32% of Philadelphia public school students attending college enrolled in more than one college, representing either transfers or concurrent enrollment (e.g., taking summer classes at a different institution). 12 | P a g e
  • 14. 5 Among Philadelphia students completing college, many are taking more than four years to complete.A little over a quarter of the students in this study graduated in four years, andapproximately an additional quarter graduated within six years. Six-year graduationrates were almost twice that of four-year graduation rates. Twenty-eight percent ofstudents who entered four-year institutions from Philadelphia high schools in 2003graduated in four years. The number of students who graduated in six years was nearlydouble (52%), representing an additional 24 percentage points of graduated collegestudents (Figure 6). Figure 6: Proportion of first-fall students from Philadelphia high schools who matriculated into select colleges* in 2003 and graduated in four and six years 28% 52% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% on‐time graduation 6‐year graduation *Colleges represented: Bloomsburg, East Stroudsburg, Indiana, La Salle, Lock Haven, Millersville, Moore, Peirce, Shippensburg, Temple, UArts, West ChesterThe difference between six-year and four-year graduation rates is particularlypronounced among “very competitive” colleges. The difference overall between four-year and six-year graduation is 24 percentage points, whereas within “very competitive”institutions, the difference is 31 percentage points (24% of students who entered “verycompetitive” colleges from Philadelphia high schools in 2003 had graduated by 2007 [infour years], and 55% had graduated by 2009 [in six years]). By comparison, thedifference between four-year and six-year graduation rates at “competitive” colleges was19 percentage points (30% and 49%, respectively). (Figure 7). 13 | P a g e
  • 15. Figure 7: Proportion of first-fall students from Philadelphia high schools who matriculated into select colleges* in 2003 and graduated in four and six years from “competitive” and “very competitive” colleges *Colleges represented: Competitive: Bloomsburg, East Stroudsburg, Indiana, La Salle, Lock Haven, Millersville, Moore, Peirce, Shippensburg, USciences, West Chester; Very Competitive: Temple, UArtsQuestions for Further Reflection:1. What is the impact on students of taking six years versus four years to graduate?2. How are college-level policies impacting students’ longer time to graduation and/or supporting students who take longer? 14 | P a g e
  • 16. 6 Colleges of different selectivity (e.g., very competitive, competitive, non-competitive) tend to enroll Philadelphia students from certain high school types (e.g., special admissions, parochial, and neighborhood).Non-competitive college (CCP) enrollees from Philadelphia came disproportionatelyfrom neighborhood and citywide public schools compared with other college selectivitytypes. In 2009, across all of the college enrollees in this study from Philadelphia, 22%were from neighborhood and citywide high schools; however, at CCP, 48% ofPhiladelphia students were from these school types (Figure 8). Figure 8: First-fall student enrollment in colleges and universities, by college selectivity group and high school type, in 2009.100% 3% 8% 5% 5% 10% 11% 90% High School Type  25% 80% 21% Private 30%  28% 22% Total percent of first-fall student enrollment 36% 70% 12% Archdiocese 60% 4% 22% 19% 11%  13% 13% 50% Charter 22%  40% 39% 18% 24% School District of 30% 33% Philadelphia, Special 48% Admissions Only 20% School District of 28% 33%  23% Philadelphia 10% 21% 15% 0% Very Competitive Less Not Special competitive competitive competitive      N=814          N=1239          N=118            N=1168          N=27       TOTAL=3,366 Note: The stacked colors represent the high school types from which the students graduated prior to their college enrollment. Includes all colleges in the study except Peirce and UPenn because of incomplete Philadelphia high school enrollment data.A higher ratio of “competitive” college enrollees from Philadelphia came fromArchdiocese high schools compared with other college selectivity groups. Across all ofthe Philadelphia graduates attending college in this study, 30% were from Archdioceseschools; however, 36% of the Philadelphia students attending “competitive” collegeswere from Archdiocese high schools (Figure 8). 15 | P a g e
  • 17. Philadelphia special admissions high school graduates in this study enrolled at ahigher proportion in “very competitive” colleges compared with other college types.Across all of the Philadelphia graduates attending college in this study, 22% were fromspecial admissions high schools; however, 39% of the Philadelphia students attending“very competitive” colleges were from special admissions high schools. (See Figure 8 onpage 17.)Philadelphia charter high school graduates enrolled in “competitive” and non-competitive colleges in similar proportions to their overall representation in the studysample. Charter school graduates made up a relatively small part of this sample overall,11%. Twelve percent of the Philadelphia students attending “competitive” colleges and13% attending non-competitive colleges were from charter schools. (See Figure 8 onpage 17.)Questions for Further Reflection:1. What is there to learn from the patterns of students enrolling in certain college types from specific high school types?2. What are the reasons that pathways to certain college types are different across different high school types? 16 | P a g e
  • 18. 7 The data suggest that differences exist between the patterns of students from Philadelphia versus non- Philadelphia high schools.In 2003, students from Philadelphia high schools had marginally lower acceptancerates than non-Philadelphia students, but very slightly higher enrollment rates. In2003, students from Philadelphia high schools were accepted about 6% less often thanstudents from non-Philadelphia high schools; however, enrollment rates of studentsaccepted from Philadelphia high schools were two percentage points higher. Thissuggests that Philadelphia students enrolled more often in colleges that accepted them(Figure 9). Figure 9: Connection and entry patterns among students from Philadelphia versus non-Philadelphia high schools, 2003 fall entering cohort Connection Acceptance rates Enrollment rates were 6 percentage were 2 percentage points lower among points higher among Philadelphia Philadelphia students students Note: Acceptance rate is the percent of applicants who were accepted. Enrollment rate is the percent of accepted students who enrolled. The Technical Appendix provides a list of the colleges included in each analysis.Although Philadelphia and non-Philadelphia students enrolled at near equal rates,developmental education course requirements were much higher among Philadelphiastudents. Trends show that once enrolled, more Philadelphia high school studentsrequired developmental education courses in English and math than their non-Philadelphia counterparts; the differences were 20 percentage points higher in Englishand 13 percentage points higher in math in 2005 (Figure 10). Figure 10: Developmental education course enrollment and pass rates among students from Philadelphia versus non-Philadelphia high schools, 2005 fall entering cohort Entry English Math developmental developmental education course education course enrollment rates enrollment rates were 20 percentage were 13 percentage points higher among points higher among Philadelphia Philadelphia students students 17 | P a g e
  • 19. Both four-year and six-year graduation rates were lower among Philadelphia studentsat four-year colleges than among non-Philadelphia students. Philadelphia students’four-year graduation rates were 24 percentage points lower than those of non-Philadelphia students, and six-year graduation rates were 23 percentage points loweramong students enrolled in four-year colleges (Figure 11). Figure 11: Completion rates among students from Philadelphia versus non-Philadelphia high schools, 2003 fall entering cohort Completion Four-year Six-year graduation rates graduation rates were 24 were 23 percentage points percentage points lower among lower among Philadelphia Philadelphia students studentsQuestions for Further Reflection:1. What practices are in place at colleges for supporting Philadelphia students’ progress across the entire college continuum? Technical Notes Our comparison of Philadelphia versus non-Philadelphia student patterns includes a smaller number of colleges than the other analyses since fewer colleges provided non-Philadelphia student data. As for the analyses of Philadelphia students above, the colleges that provided data on connection, entry, and completion are different for each step in the progression, making comparisons across the continuum challenging. The Technical Appendix provides a full overview of which colleges included both Philadelphia and non-Philadelphia data that were used in our analyses. 18 | P a g e
  • 20. 3. Preliminary Recommendations As a community that seeks to build its profile as a city working to address its low rates ofeducational attainment, Philadelphia is poised for greater economic, cultural, andcommunity development. However, to meet this important charge, Philadelphiastakeholders will need to continue to connect the mayor’s ambitious goal of doubling thenumber of Philadelphians with college degrees to the ground-level work that leads to realchanges for students in the community.We hope that the data presented in this report can help to do just that, guide newconversations about policies and practices as well as future data collection efforts that canlead to action in the community. Below, we offer some preliminary but concrete policyand data recommendations for moving forward, as well as a series of questions forrefining and generating new ideas among Council members and in the Philadelphiacommunity.Moving Forward: Policy Recommendations Data Findings Policy Directions 1. Identify opportunities across K-12 and postsecondary partners for Student applications are rising faster Connection than acceptances and enrollments. increasing not only Philadelphia student applications but also corresponding enrollments Developmental education course 2. Explore strategies at the K-12 requirements are high for and postsecondary levels to Entry Philadelphia students entering minimize the burden of college, especially at the community developmental education as a college. barrier Getting through the first semester and the first year of college are not 3. Target persistence strategies to the only critical retention points for students dropping off after students; students may also be completing a second year Progress losing ground even after completing their second year. Academic challenges appear to 4. Consider and address non- explain only a portion of Philadelphia academic reasons for student student drop off once in college. loss 19 | P a g e
  • 21. Policy Recommendations (cont’d) 5. Design policies that help more students graduate within four Among Philadelphia students years Completion completing college, many are taking 6. Ensure that policies, particularly more than four years to graduate. financial aid policies, support longer times to graduation when appropriate 7. Identify the reasons why these High School Colleges of different selectivity tend to enroll Philadelphia students from primary pathways exist (e.g., Type certain high school types. academic preparation, recruitment policies) Philadelphia Differences exist between the 8. Identify particular strategies that patterns of students from have been successful in targeting vs. Non- Philadelphia versus non-Philadelphia the needs of Philadelphia Philadelphia high schools. studentsMoving Forward: Recommendations for Future Data CollectionAlthough we have identified some key findings and some possible policy implicationsand directions in this report, one of the most important next steps out of this effort will beto improve data collection and analysis moving forward. As with any new data collection,a crucial element of this process has been not only learning from the content of the data,but also identifying some of the specific challenges in collecting and analyzing thesedata.This first round of the Council’s data collection uncovered some key challenges around(1) individual institutional research capacity, (2) shared interpretations of data definitions,and (3) data interpretation. These types of challenges are typical of multi-system datacollection efforts. Developing a common set of indicators for collection acrossindependent institutions is an iterative process; refinements need to continue to be madeif these data are to inform policy changes and drive effective improvement strategies andpractices in a meaningful way.We have developed a series of recommendations that we hope can help strengthen thesedata efforts in the future.Add additional variables: Information about introductory college-level (credit-bearing)coursework (e.g., Gateway Math and English classes) would add opportunities foradditional analyses. • Although information was available about developmental education course enrollment and pass rates, the degree to which this led to students’ enrollment in introductory college-level coursework versus additional developmental education courses could not be determined. 20 | P a g e
  • 22. Strengthen areas in which data were missing: Less complete developmental education andnon-Philadelphia student data limited the ability to analyze and draw firm conclusionsabout these points along the pathway to completion. Only 11 of 20 schools in the studyprovided developmental education data on their Philadelphia students for both Math andEnglish, and only seven schools provided such information about non-Philadelphiastudents. This represented fewer schools than in our other analyses.Collect additional years of data: Although we highlight areas to strengthen this datacollection, the data from the original template suggested many trends. However, the mostrecent data in this study was from the 2008-2009 academic year. Information from the2009-2010 and 2010-2011 academic years will be particularly useful in order to exploresignificant contextual influences like the economy that may have had an impact in themost recent years.Collect student-level data: A longer-term goal for this effort might be to collect andanalyze data at the student level. The collection of data at the school level limited theability to track the progress of individual students across the college continuum. Forexample, from the data in this study, it could not be determined whether an increase inapplications across colleges represented an increase in the number of students applying oran increase in the number of applications per student. Likewise, bivariate andmultivariate analyses, which could highlight associations between demographic factorsand the outcomes in this study, can only be conducted with student-level data.Furthermore, without student-level data, we cannot track the impact of transfer patternson these data. Without the ability to match students across colleges, we cannot determineif a student enrolling initially in one college graduates from another college.Finally, student-level data would offer the opportunity to link School District ofPhiladelphia, Archdiocese, and Independent high school data and answer additionalquestions about the connection of students from the K-12 to the postsecondary educationsystem.Align metrics with those of Complete College America: Complete College America is anational nonprofit working to increase the number of Americans with a college degreeand to close degree attainment gaps for traditionally underrepresented students. In July2010, the National Governors Association (NGA) adopted the Complete CollegeAmerica Common Completion Metrics, highlighting the importance of consistent data todocument the progress and success of postsecondary students across all states. Having acommensurate set of metrics from Philadelphia would signal Philadelphia’s willingnessto align with this national agenda, and would allow for higher-quality data reporting anduse to drive policy. 21 | P a g e
  • 23. Questions for Further ReflectionA key focus of this report is to present data in a way that can contribute to newconversations across the community. For all of our findings, we posed a number ofquestions for further reflection that arose during the analysis process and during ongoingconversations with Council members. We have compiled these below. Throughout thecommunity, we hope that these questions can help make the data presented in this reportactionable and drive partners toward an aligned, multi-sector response in supportingstudents’ degree attainment once in college.1. What is driving the increase in applications: more students applying or more applications per students?2. Why hasn’t the increase in college applications led to a greater rise in acceptances and subsequent enrollments?3. What are some of the differences among students enrolling in four- and two-year institutions that might be driving higher developmental education course rates at CCP?4. What is driving higher developmental education enrollment and pass rates in English versus math and what are the policy implications at both the K-12 and college levels?5. How does placement and success in developmental education courses impact students’ performance in introductory college-level coursework and their prospects for completing college?6. To what extent do changes in progress numbers represent students leaving college versus simply not being on track to a four- or six-year graduation but still enrolled?7. Among those students who leave college or are at risk of not completing, what connections might exist between why and when a student falls off the pathway to graduation, and how might strategies be targeted for students falling off track at different points on the college continuum?8. What is driving the low percentage of students who are on track to graduate in four years after the second year? 22 | P a g e
  • 24. 9. What are the different student support strategies or institutional policy changes that can help students to pursue and stay on a four-year, or alternatively a six-year, track to graduation?10. What is the impact on students of taking six years versus four years to graduate?11. How are college-level policies impacting students’ longer time to graduation and/or supporting students who take longer?12. What is there to learn from the patterns of students enrolling in certain college types from specific high school types?13. What are the reasons that pathways to certain college types are different across different high school types?14. What practices are in place at colleges for supporting Philadelphia students’ progress across the entire college continuum?Closing ThoughtsIn order to reach Mayor Nutter’s goal of doubling the baccalaureate attainment rate ofPhiladelphians by 2017, the partners in this work will need to explore the questionsoutlined above and develop policies to address the challenges that the data reveal.Furthermore, college-specific strategies that have improved access and completionoutcomes for students do exist in the community, and offer learning opportunities forother colleges. Improving and standardizing the use of data across Pennsylvania collegeswill help institutions to maximize the successes and better understand the challenges,while enabling better tracking of changes in college outcomes over time.The Council for College and Career Success, with its representatives from a variety ofstakeholder groups, has an opportunity to facilitate the alignment of college successstrategies among colleges and between the K-12 and postsecondary system. The datasuggest that strategies to help students progress through the first years of college andpersist through to college completion need to be diverse and adaptable, addressingacademic, financial, and students’ life circumstances. Employing a holistic approach thatincludes curriculum alignment, adequate financial aid offerings, and targeted studentadvising services will be essential for achieving the Mayor’s college completion goal forPhiladelphians and for positioning Philadelphians to succeed in a world that increasinglydemands a college-educated workforce. 23 | P a g e