Achievement Trajectories and College Pathways
This chapter addresses the questions of achievement trajectories in terms of excellence. How much do students learn and develop in the way of academic achievement during the course of P-16 education? What factors influence varied academic growth patterns among students? The analysis of national longitudinal assessment data shows diminishing rates of academic growth in reading and math. The average student’s academic growth curves fall short of new performance standards for college readiness as defined by 2- or 4-year college completion. The comparison of learning environment profiles reveals large gaps between college on-track and off-track student groups in terms of their teachers’ (value-added) performance and expectations for student performance, and moderate gaps in parental involvement and student engagement. Even when students are academically ready for college, many disadvantaged students suffer from college undermatch, which negatively affects their chance of college success and degree completion.
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