Liv Ames for EdSource

Fewer than half of high school students across the country feel they’re ready for college and careers, even though these remain top goals for students, according to a survey released Thursday.

Results from a multi-year College and Career Readiness survey of 165,000 high school students conducted by YouthTruth, a San Francisco-based nonprofit, found that 45 percent of students feel positive about their college and career readiness.

An overwhelming number of students, 87 percent, want to eventually earn a college degree and land a career. But many believe that their schools aren’t helping them develop the skills they’ll need to succeed after graduation.

“We saw a number of different results in this survey,” said Jen Vorse Wilka, executive director at YouthTruth. “While it’s encouraging to see the proportion of students with high college and career expectations, most do not feel prepared to do so.”

About 56 percent believe their schools have helped them understand the steps they will need to take in order to apply to college. Meanwhile, about 46 percent said schools have helped them figure out which careers match their interests and abilities.

The survey of juniors and seniors was conducted from the 2010-11 through the 2014-15 school years. More than 260 schools across 31 states partnered with YouthTruth.

Vorse Wilka said the participating schools represent a cross-section of all high schools in the country, with students from different racial and socioeconomic backgrounds. Survey results by state are not yet available.

YouthTruth was launched in 2008 by the Center for Effective Philanthropy and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation with the goal of better measuring school reforms from the perspective of students.

“While it’s encouraging to see the proportion of students with high college and career expectations, most do not feel prepared to do so.”

Juniors and seniors took the 30-minute online survey that asked a series of questions about their views on college and career readiness.

Students were also asked whether they used their school’s support services to help them achieve their future goals. Here are some of those results.

  • 42 percent used college entrance exam preparation.
  • 36 percent used counseling for help on future career possibilities.
  • 34 percent used counseling for help on college admissions requirements.
  • 32 percent used counseling for help on applying for college.
  • 23 percent used counseling for help on paying for college.

“One goal for the survey is to prompt some questions for schools themselves,” Vorse Wilka said.

Schools can use the survey results, she said, to determine whether they need to increase counseling, career training or college preparation services, or if they have them in place already, what they can do to increase the number of students they reach.

“At a time when more high school graduates are enrolling in college and looking for work, we hope that these findings will help schools across the country recognize opportunities to better prepare students for a successful future,” she said.


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  1. Meg elder 1 year ago1 year ago

    This article was very frustrating as it has very little actual information about what students feel is missing. I also noted that a small percentage of students actually used the services schools provide.

  2. Linda Welford 1 year ago1 year ago

    Public schools face increasing financial stresses. Funding is often severely cut in state budgets resulting in limited services for students. I believe that the resources needed will have to come from non-profit organizations which are willing to find creative ways to provide those extra supports that students need to be prepared for college and career. I recently joined an organization which has been in my county for decades; however, has not received … Read More

    Public schools face increasing financial stresses. Funding is often severely cut in state budgets resulting in limited services for students. I believe that the resources needed will have to come from non-profit organizations which are willing to find creative ways to provide those extra supports that students need to be prepared for college and career. I recently joined an organization which has been in my county for decades; however, has not received the notoriety it deserves for pairing mentors to high school students to offer them support to reach graduation and choose a successful career path. Your interest in supporting “Mentors 4 Berks Youth” is greatly appreciated.

  3. Parent News Opinion 1 year ago1 year ago

    High School Graduation Survey Of If Young Adults Feel Ready To Go To Junior College or a Four Year College. I see it this way. The students now know or will shortly that the exit exam called CAASEE is no longer necessary to graduate from high school and in some school districts this means that straight "D" grades will allow the students to walk the stage and get the same diploma as a "B" grade … Read More

    High School Graduation Survey Of If Young Adults Feel Ready To Go To Junior College or a Four Year College.

    I see it this way. The students now know or will shortly that the exit exam called CAASEE is no longer necessary to graduate from high school and in some school districts this means that straight “D” grades will allow the students to walk the stage and get the same diploma as a “B” grade student.

    So, the question is, and I ask the reporter to go back and explore this… what is the average G.P.A. for all high school students in California that graduate. It should be available to look up.

    The students who got a “C” G.P.A. are smart and know that college will be tough for them and they will need extra services or they may drop out.

    The public school system has not adequately prepared the high school students (especially from low income areas) to go to college because, in my opinion, vast grade inflation has taken place.

    The good things about the new SmarterBalance/CAASPP test is that it will clearly inform parents that if they get grade inflation on the school report cards and the SmarterBalance/CAASPP testing shows that their son or daughter is scoring very very low and is not ready for college or city college without vast remedial help, then all stakeholders will know what is really going on and if going to school is worth it or if drop outs are the smart ones after all.

    .
    .
    Also, often schools tout the statement that…”more of our elementary, or middle school or high school, graduates enroll in college than the regular programs… or they say we guarantee all of the children who go through our program will enter college…

    well, if one looks at those statements, those statements say nothing about the actually success of a child making it through city college or a four year college and those programs falsely mislead parents into thinking that attending college is the same as graduating from college, thus we have a false self esteem thing going on in our Golden State of California.
    .
    .
    .
    I am thinking that the SmarterBalance/CAASPP may be a good thing after all if we can use it to determine and hold accountable all teaching in the State of California.

    It will mean teachers and administrators will have to put up or shut up with regard to making glowing reports on how well schools are doing and how well students are doing. The SmarterBalance/CAASPP will need to be the new cornerstone to how all parents and students will need to judge the student’s knowledge level in all subjects.

    Replies

    • Gary Ravani 1 year ago1 year ago

      PNO:

      In many, if not most, districts A GPA of 1, aka, “D,” is all that was needed to graduation. “D” indicates passing. This is entirely separate from CAHSEE. A student could have a 4.0 GPA (A) and fail CAHSEE and not graduate. Another student with a D GPA with a pass on the CAHSEE could graduate. The CAHSEE never made any sense and did more educational harm to students than any help. Good riddance.

      • FloydThursby1941 1 year ago1 year ago

        Tests like these scare the establishment because they tell the truth about our unequal society and how it gets there. Gary, it is more important what a kid knows than the grade they got. I have seen arbitrary grading in San Francisco. Also, everyone knows that Lowell in SF generally takes the top 15% or so of middle school students from public and middle cost private schools by grades and test scores. … Read More

        Tests like these scare the establishment because they tell the truth about our unequal society and how it gets there. Gary, it is more important what a kid knows than the grade they got. I have seen arbitrary grading in San Francisco. Also, everyone knows that Lowell in SF generally takes the top 15% or so of middle school students from public and middle cost private schools by grades and test scores. Some choose the elite privates, but Lowell is higher quality than SI, SH, Riordan, Mercy and most of the big privates. A few smart kids choose SOTA for arts or shy away from the challenge and go to those schools or another school because they don’t want to challenge themselves or think Lowell is too hard. However, let’s say 15 of the top 18 go to Lowell and another few are mis-categorized or choose another school. That means 1 in 5.5, so the top say 5 of every 34 kids in a class go to Lowell. You’re either with the top 5 of 34 representing all of the kids, meaning an A is going to be tough even if half of kids get an A, and it’s more like a third or fewer in some classes. Otherwise, say you go for the other school, at SI or Lincoln or SOTA or these other schools, maybe 1 in 25 is of Lowell Calibur, so any kid who could have gone to Lowell will get an A in any class which gives more than 1/25th As. In reality, out of 35 kids, if 1.4 are Lowell Calibur and 9-15 get As, you’re going to get mostly As.

        It’s similar to a player who can hit .310 with 25 homers every year in AAA but can’t make it in the Majors. Everyone knows the lamest MLB player at the end of the bench is better than that guy, and maybe that guy makes it up for a few teacups, but he never has a big league career. He just isn’t at that level, but his stats in the minors make him look good.

        This really comes out in the SAT Scores. Virtually every one of the kids gets SAT Scores in the top 10%, which is the equivalent of the top 5% of the State as only half take the SAT. Therefore, the SAT is far more accurate.

        This plays out all across the Bay Area. In a school in Cupertino or San Ramon or Sunnyvale or Palo Alto, dominated by Tiger Parents who are very good at getting the best possible results out of their kids, good grades are harder to achieve than in places like Hayward or San Bruno or East Palo Alto, communities dominated by single parents and families who don’t place schoolwork as a high priority and don’t study nearly as much nor dedicated family resources to tutoring or other such services. The GPAs of kids in both communities are very similar, perhaps only slightly higher in the first few. However, in SAT Scores, Lowell dominates SI or Lincoln, even with similar GPA averages. Cupertino will dominate Hayward in SAT scores. . In GPA, it will be similar.

        These tests are a great idea. They tell the truth.

        • Don 1 year ago1 year ago

          Classic case on confirmation bias, Floyd. Your POV can be summarized as "tests are good". Me likey. Your favorite aspect of schooling is standardized testing and it doesn't come as a surprise that you support any and all. The facts concerning what, why, and how of testing - the major controversies across the nation over them as with the disreputable rollout of SBAC in California - is of no concern to you. You … Read More

          Classic case on confirmation bias, Floyd. Your POV can be summarized as “tests are good”. Me likey. Your favorite aspect of schooling is standardized testing and it doesn’t come as a surprise that you support any and all. The facts concerning what, why, and how of testing – the major controversies across the nation over them as with the disreputable rollout of SBAC in California – is of no concern to you. You just categorically dismiss it is all as a political ploy of the unions. Your perspective can be summed up in your hilarious homage to testing as “a measure of moral human goodness” or some such shit. If this is your idea of what constitutes human goodness,studying for tests, then you might want to review your own comments for logic, organization, conciseness, grammar and syntax because your writing is atrocious and often unreadable and, thus, is far from the model that you purport to promote.

          • FloydThursby1941 1 year ago1 year ago

            Don, you had one kid in Lowell and one not in Lowell. To determine the better student, would you compare High School GPA? Or would you compare SAT Scores? I'm not saying all testing is perfect. I'm saying it's less imperfect than using grades to judge. Grades do provide a more neutral perspective, void of bias. For instance, girls are more likeable and friendly towards teachers in middle school. … Read More

            Don, you had one kid in Lowell and one not in Lowell. To determine the better student, would you compare High School GPA? Or would you compare SAT Scores? I’m not saying all testing is perfect. I’m saying it’s less imperfect than using grades to judge. Grades do provide a more neutral perspective, void of bias. For instance, girls are more likeable and friendly towards teachers in middle school. Lowell, which includes grades, is just over 60% girls. Other magnet schools such as Boston Latin, Bronx Science, and ones in Dallas, Chicago, New Jersey, Virginia, and other Cities use test scores and are about 53-55% boys. Grades are partially about playing the game. Test scores are about knowledge and ability.

  4. Bruce William Smith 1 year ago1 year ago

    Pupils in many American high schools do not have, with the counsellors who are often attempting to manage stratospheric case load numbers, the relationships that might inspire better use of their services. This is an area where, in my experience (I've taught in state, chartered, and private high schools), private schools have a large advantage over their counterparts in the state sector. Private school advisory tutors may well have groups as small as a dozen … Read More

    Pupils in many American high schools do not have, with the counsellors who are often attempting to manage stratospheric case load numbers, the relationships that might inspire better use of their services. This is an area where, in my experience (I’ve taught in state, chartered, and private high schools), private schools have a large advantage over their counterparts in the state sector. Private school advisory tutors may well have groups as small as a dozen to supervise; they are usually under 20. By contrast, counsellors in California’s public high schools generally have over 500 pupils they are supposed to advise, and they usually cannot form any relationship with those pupils without interrupting their study periods, which is not true in private schools where the teachers are the advisors. America should fundamentally rethink its approach here; but changing American high schools, where staffing levels are generally entrenched by a self-interested establishment, is difficult indeed, so I’m not waiting. For this reason (among many) my colleagues and I are proposing a fundamentally different kind of institution, One World Lyceum, as an alternative to what pretty obviously doesn’t work, the traditional American comprehensive high school.

    Replies

    • Gary Ravani 1 year ago1 year ago

      Bruce: Right (!?) America came to have the wealthiest economy in the world, one of the most competitive economies in the world, and the nation with one of the most productive workforces in the world because of " what pretty obviously doesn’t work, the traditional American comprehensive high school." Somewhere, maybe at a right-wing think-tank [sic], that makes sense. That doesn't mean we could not do better, of course. CA, and not because of an "entrenched…self-interested … Read More

      Bruce:

      Right (!?) America came to have the wealthiest economy in the world, one of the most competitive economies in the world, and the nation with one of the most productive workforces in the world because of ” what pretty obviously doesn’t work, the traditional American comprehensive high school.” Somewhere, maybe at a right-wing think-tank [sic], that makes sense.

      That doesn’t mean we could not do better, of course. CA, and not because of an “entrenched…self-interested establishment,” suffers from the fewest counselors per student in the nation. This is because of an abysmally low funding level for the schools which has persisted since 1985, and the inevitable negative impacts of Prop 13. (Check out “States in Motion” on this site.) Of course this state also has: the fewest adult school staff per student in the nation; fewest school administrators per student in the nation; fewest teachers and largest class sizes in the nation; and, CA has the fewest nurses and librarians (and functioning school libraries) in the nation. All in all a lot of work to do and most of it related to raising the state’s revenue stream so that it can support kids and schools. And then there’s the social safety net to think about. Whew!

      (One World Lyceum? Is that related to the UN’s Agenda 21, or the military’s Jade Helm by any chance? LOL)

      BTW: There’s plenty of solid information available to demonstrate that, when matched for SES status, public schools (across the nation) are “higher performing” than private schools, if only because the programs at public schools, if they are in affluent areas, tend to be much richer than typically smaller private schools can offer. Exclusive private schools do offer an opportunity for kids to hob-nob with other kids from wealthy families which does offer some employment advantages. It obviously doesn’t offer a chance to learn to deal with a diverse population, but with the US’s increasing levels of economic segregation that likely would not hurt the wealthy too much. Just raise the fences around the gated-communities a little higher and hire a few more security guards. Doesn’t do much for the rest of the US proletariat, though.

  5. Shirley Pike 1 year ago1 year ago

    To get to college takes so much time and effort from our juniors and seniors. They already have, school with 3 to hours worth of homework a night, not to mention sports, a job and a live not really. School need to provide classes for filling out college applications, how to do an assay about themselves and the fasha is difficult for some also. Also budgeting time to get the application and fasha in … Read More

    To get to college takes so much time and effort from our juniors and seniors. They already have, school with 3 to hours worth of homework a night, not to mention sports, a job and a live not really. School need to provide classes for filling out college applications, how to do an assay about themselves and the fasha is difficult for some also. Also budgeting time to get the application and fasha in with everything else going on in there teenage lives.
    It was an eye opener for us to send our daughter to college the first semester. She was a bright student and excelled in school being on National Honor Society, went to Girls State, and was captain for her cross country team and received must valued player award. However with all these wonder accomplishments it does not prepare you for the college life. Getting yourself up and ready to perform in class, eating meals in a hall with several people and it is loud. The dorm life is hell people coming and going all hours of the night, parties, screaming and drugs all over. People having sex in showers.
    Then one night it happened she was sexually assualted on her college campus in her dorm on Sept 9th. After this she found help for herself and tried very hard to stay and could not the truma was that bad. Then one night she tried killing herself and was admitted to a Psychiatry ward and was put on meds. Trying to figure out what she did wrong. In our minds it was simple nothing but in her mind it was failure for the rest of her life. Her fault that two guys assualted her.
    Now after 18 months she is living at home back in college, on the dean’s list ever semester she has been attending. On track to be an elementary school teacher. So proud of her.

  6. Clayton Moore 1 year ago1 year ago

    Student participation rates in the areas presented show less than 30 percent took advantage of the services available.

    High schools in my area all have a career center with vocational and higher education information. Military recruiting information is also available there.

    Students are regularly encouraged to ask questions…

    Replies

    • Gary Ravani 1 year ago1 year ago

      Clayton:

      I’ve been meaning to ask, how’s Tonto and Silver doing these days?

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