(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)
I missed the release of the Arizona Board of Regents College Completion report back in April, this time covering the Class of 2010. The chart above shows the four-year college completion rate after six years for the top 10 schools. For those of you scoring at home, that would be 7 charter schools, one district magnet school (University High) and two comprehensive district schools (Catalina Foothills in Tucson and Chaparral in Scottsdale). All 10 of these schools represent choice options, with seven of them using random assignment admission lotteries, one employing placement tests and minimum GPA admission requirements, and the final two mostly for those who can afford pricey real estate.
Overall the news is not good. Only 27.1 percent of the statewide Arizona Class of 2010 earned either a four or two-year degree after six years. This is a lagging indicator, but a very important one. As is the case with the NAEP data, the chart above reinforces a case for a Cheers theme song theory for more small schools, you know, where everybody knows your name:
When you are tracking six year results from cohorts from seven years ago, they are by definition a time capsule. For instance these results come before the recent surge in NAEP scores. It certainly is not the case that only people with degrees contribute to society at all, and it might make sense to track the earning of professional certifications and military service in addition to higher education results. With the state’s age demography challenge unfolding we must continue to find ways to improve the productivity of education spending.