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REL Pacific

College and Career Readiness in Kosrae

REL Pacific
Lisa Scherff
May 14, 2018

How do we ensure that more students are prepared for and successful in their post-secondary endeavors? Education leaders at the K–12 and college levels are working to answer this question through collaborate data analysis. Collaboration is an integral part of school improvement—in particular, marshalling stakeholder participation and getting people excited about data use can help us analyze what is and isn't working to improve student learning.1

A group representing K–12 and college stakeholders came together—bringing a range of data.

A group representing K–12 and college stakeholders came together—bringing a range of data.

In a comprehensive study of 20 school systems from around the world—all of which underwent system transformations—researchers2 found that any system can improve itself as long as leaders integrate three actions: assess the current performance level, select interventions to address it, and adapt the interventions to fit the context and culture of the organization. Data analysis is part of the first action.

But even with increased amounts of data available, many educators feel ill-equipped to analyze and use educational data effectively. 3 One critical initial step is generating a question to guide the collaborative analysis. In Kosrae, education leaders are interested in understanding why so many students do poorly on the college placement exam, resulting in their placement in developmental, non-credit bearing courses.

In April, the Kosrae Partnership for College and Career Readiness and Success, a group representing K–12 and college stakeholders, came together—bringing a range of data (8th and 10th grade reading and math scores, college placement examination scores, college developmental course syllabi, etc.) with them—to begin to assess current student performance levels and gaps in order to improve educational outcomes. Participants spent a day and a half working in small groups, making preliminary observations about the data. REL Pacific staff will return to Kosrae in June to continue the data analysis and to begin to work with the Partnership to identify potential interventions to ensure that students are better prepared for college and career when they graduate from high school.

If you have any questions, would like information about our evidence-based resources, such as recent studies, Ask a REL responses, and more, or if you would like to know more about the work being done with our Partnerships, please feel free to contact us at We'd love to hear from you!


1Holcomb, E. L. (1999). Getting excited about data: How to combine people, passion, and proof. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

2Mourshed, M., Chijoke, C., & Barber, M. (2010). How the world's most improved school systems keep getting better. New York, NY: McKinsey & Company. Retrieved from

3Ronka, D., Lachat, M. A., Slaughter, R., & Meltzer, J. (2009). Answering the questions that count. Educational Leadership, 66(4), 18-24.