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Posted on Wed. Jun. 11, 2014 - 12:30 am EDT

In county, 1 in 3 not in college

For those who are, report reveals gaps in readiness

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College readiness

The chart below shows local data for several categories included in the Indiana Commission for Higher Education's College Readiness report. The data was collected from 2012 Allen County public school graduates. The numbers are percentages.

Category FWCS NACS SACS EACS
Did not enroll in college 41.1 24.6 22.6 36.2
Enrolled full-time 69 84 83 68
Needed remediation 41 17 16 28
Needed math remediation 17 13 12 11
Needed language arts remediation 8 2 0 10
Needed both math and language arts remediation 16 2 4 7
Free/reduced lunch students who enrolled 56 69 66 53

Nearly one-third of 2012 Allen County graduates opted not to attend college, and many of those who did are among the thousands of Hoosier students deemed not “college ready,” according to a report released Tuesday.

Statewide, 34.1 percent of 2012 graduating students did not enroll in college, down slightly from the class of 2011, when 36.3 percent of graduates did not enroll.

Of the 2012 Hoosier graduates who continued into public or private universities, 28 percent reported needing some form of remediation.

The Indiana College Readiness Report shows where Hoosier students who graduated in 2012 chose to attend college and how many needed remediation, and it breaks down the data by race, socioeconomic status, advanced placement and other categories. The report is prepared by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education.

But at least one local superintendent said he isn’t sure the report accurately reflects where students are headed after they graduate or their success once they arrive at college.

“It’s a very complex issue, and I think we have a group of people wanting to make it very simplified,” said Chris Himsel, Northwest Allen County Schools superintendent.

“They want to narrow it down and blame the K-12 districts, and I’m not saying we don’t have issues in some instances, but it’s not as widespread as some are making it out to be.”

According to the report, about 25 percent of NACS students did not attend college, a number that Himsel says is likely inaccurate. Himsel said more questions need to be answered before the data can be considered accurate.

In Allen County, 32.2 percent of 2012 graduates did not enroll in college, compared with 32.7 percent from the class of 2011.

Fort Wayne Community Schools and East Allen County Schools reported a larger percentage of students who did not enroll in college, while Northwest and Southwest Allen county schools reported a smaller percent of students who did not enroll.

For SACS students who want to pursue higher education, the district offers advance placement and honors classes and is in the process of expanding dual-credit opportunities, said Philip Downs, SACS associate superintendent.

About 23 percent of 2012 SACS graduates did not attend college.

“We also spend a lot of time talking to colleges and universities ... and we talk with our (graduates) who come back to visit about what we did right and what we did wrong so we can tweak what we’re doing to make sure we prepare kids for what they are going into,” Downs said.

Krista Stockman, FWCS spokeswoman, said the district’s 41 percent of students who opted not to attend college is not unusual.

“We want any student who wants to have a career that needs a college degree to be ready to go to college, but we don’t just operate under the assumption that every single one of our students will follow that path,” Stockman said. “We focus on our students being college and career ready.”

Other students might wait a year or two before heading off to school, said EACS spokeswoman Tamyra Kelly. EACS had about 36 percent of 2012 graduates who did not attend college.

“It can sometimes come down to cost,” Kelly said. “I was talking to a student just the other day who said he planned to work and get some dollars under his belt, and after a year or so he would enroll in college.”

Many students are also deciding to stay local as they begin their college careers, she added.

Remediation

Monday’s report also outlined where most 2012 graduates from local schools attended their first year of college.

About 31 percent of FWCS graduates from the class of 2012 began at IPFW, according to the report. The proportion of 2012 graduates who went on to IPFW was similar for other districts: about 43 percent of NACS graduates, 31 percent of SACS graduates and 34 percent of EACS graduates began their college careers at the Fort Wayne campus.

The report also outlined the percentage of students who needed remediation as they entered their first year of college.

In Allen County, 28 percent of 2012 public school graduates who chose to attend college needed remediation, compared with the previous year’s 30 percent.

Kelly said EACS administrators have noticed the trend of more students needing remediation and have adjusted rigor to meet higher standards.

“Our teachers are always looking for instructional strategies and ways to help those students who need additional assistance,” Kelly said.

Stockman said another challenge is that Hoosier school districts have curriculum standards through a student’s senior year, but beyond that, there’s not much alignment with what colleges expect.

“Students might start in one college and need remediation, but then go to another college and not need remediation,” she said. “There isn’t necessarily a lot of consistency there.”

Yet, teachers and administrators do the best they can to offer students the support they need to succeed outside the walls of high school, Stockman explained.

“We start early talking to students about what they need to do to be successful in college or their careers,” she said.

Downs of SACS and Himsel of NACS said they frequently meet with former students to talk about their success in college.

Both Downs and Himsel said students report feeling prepared for higher education and praise the districts for their work in making sure they are college ready.

“We try to build those relationships with all of our kids and give them the best advice and education we can to help get them ready for the future,” Downs said.

jcrothers@jg.net


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