High School Rankings Are Incomplete

The Urban Institute has a new paper seeking better ways to identify high schools that are producing positive outcomes for historically underserved students. Using data from Kentucky, Massachusetts, and Virginia, they find that, “…school quality is not a monolith. Schools that see gains on one metric do not necessarily see gains across other metrics.”

They find that test score gains and college enrollment rates have a correlation of just 0.13. They conclude, “schools that are good at raising test scores are not necessarily the same schools that are good at preparing students to enroll in college.”

This is a topic near and dear to my heart. Back in 2015, I published a similar paper looking at the overlap of high school metrics in Tennessee. The traditional metrics that states use to assess high school quality–test scores and graduation rates–are insufficient to answer the harder questions of whether high schools are preparing students to be successful in college or careers.

–Guest post by Chad Aldeman