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What are the college outcomes after six years for Tennessee’s high school class of 2007?

Region:
Appalachia
Description:

Regional Educational Laboratory Appalachia and the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) collaborated to conduct this study, which examines college enrollment, persistence, and performance for Tennessee's public high school class of 2007 six years after high school graduation. The study used student-level data from the Tennessee Department of Education to define the graduating cohort of 2007 and to describe students' demographic characteristics. These data were linked with postsecondary data from THEC and the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC). The NSC provided enrollment and degree-completion data for students enrolled in a public postsecondary institution, and THEC provided data on credits earned and grade point averages (GPA) for students enrolled in a Tennessee public postsecondary institution. Neither source provided data on private institutions, and NSC does not collect credit or GPA data. The study found that just over half of Tennessee's public high school class of 2007 enrolled in a public postsecondary institution within six years. Enrollment rates were highest for Asian or Pacific Islander students (62 percent), followed by White students (57 percent), Black students (52 percent) and Hispanic students (37 percent). Female students also enrolled at higher rates (60 percent) than male students (50 percent). Enrollment rates were highest in the fall immediately after high school (69 percent of those who enrolled within six years). About 16 percent of all graduates completed a four-year degree within six years. The completion rate was higher (37 percent) for students who enrolled immediately after high school. After one year, students enrolled full-time in a four-year institution earned more credits and had higher grade point averages than those in a two-year institution. Results highlight the higher success rates for students who enroll in postsecondary education full-time immediately after high school. The study also points to important subgroup differences—for example, low enrollment and completion rates among Black and Hispanic students. Additional study may reveal both why these differences exist and how they can be mitigated. Policymakers may consider replicating this approach for future cohorts of high school graduates reporting long-term outcomes back to individual districts and schools where local decision-makers can take action.

Publication Type:
What's Happening
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Publication Date:
February 2017
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