Pathways to College: Improving Students' Access to and Readiness for College

In today’s competitive, global economy, in which the economic base has shifted away from manufacturing toward knowledge and service-based industries, a college education has become what a high school diploma once was: the gateway to a secure future. Approximately 90 percent of the fastest growing jobs in the United States require a college degree[1] and college graduates earn nearly twice as much as their counterparts who have only a high school diploma[2],[3]. College provides students with knowledge, experience, and connections that cannot be obtained in high school. However, access to college has not been a level playing field. Disparity in opportunity between students from lower and higher socio-economic classes, and between minority and white or Asian populations exists and affects the employment potential of those less affluent students.

On September 29, 2009, the Scientific Evidence in Education (SEE) Forums hosted an interactive discussion about the latest research on this important topic. The forum highlighted the newly released IES Practice Guide,“Helping Students Navigate the Path to College: What High Schools Can Do” which provides concrete recommendations, based on the best available research evidence, for high schools to help all their students prepare for and get to college.

Read the Event Summary, which provides a concise description of what was discussed at the forum.

View the PowerPoint presentations from the Forum.

Read the ResearchLink brief, which highlights the Institute of Education Sciences practice guide.

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Roberto Agodini
Welcome and Introductions

Becki Herman
SEE Forums Director and Managing Research Analyst
American Institutes for Research

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Roberto Agodini
Summary of Helping Students Navigate the Path to College: What High Schools Can Do Practice Guide,

Tom Bailey
National Center for Postsecondary Research, Columbia University
Practice Guide Panel Member

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Mary Lindquist
Panel Discussion

Ceci Rouse
Member of the White House Council of Economic Advisors


Kati Haycock
Mel Riddile
Associate Director for High School Services
National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP)


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Question and Answer
Question and Answer

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[1]U.S. Department of Education, Office of the Secretary, Answering the Challenge of a Changing World: Strengthening Education for the 21st Century, Washington D.C., 2006.

[2] Hecker, D.E. (1995). Earnings of college graduates, 1993. Monthly Labor Review, 118, 12, 3-17.

[3] Day, J. C. and Newburger E.C. (2002). The Big Payoff: Educational Attainment and Synthetic Estimates of Work-life Earnings. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Bureau.