Pilot Project to Help High Schools Gauge Success

Research and Reporting System Will Help Educators Improve College Readiness

Apr. 19, 2010

The University of Texas at Dallas Education Research Center (UTD-ERC) will help develop a groundbreaking research and reporting system that  high schools can use to measure the academic success of students after graduation.

The pilot program, “Tracking Postsecondary Outcomes for High Schools,” aims to develop detailed reports linking student data with postsecondary data. This information then can be used by schools, districts and states to improve the college readiness and success of their students.

Supported by a $2.9 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the pilot program is a collaboration among the National Student Clearinghouse, the Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University, College Summit, MPR Associates, and state and local education agencies in Florida, Georgia and Texas. The pilot will use the Clearinghouse’s unique database containing college enrollment and degree information nationwide to develop reports linking student data with postsecondary outcomes, as well as a Web tool and related professional development.

The resulting product will be an expansion of the Clearinghouse’s StudentTracker for High Schools system and will address the need within the education community for a standardized method for measuring the actual educational outcomes of students once they finish high school. Currently, there is no universally accepted way to determine the postsecondary attainment of high school students. As a result, U.S. policymakers and educators are unable to uniformly assess the performance of the nation’s secondary school system and make information-based decisions on policy and program improvements.

“This grant represents an incredible opportunity for the Clearinghouse and our participating institutions to contribute to a greater understanding of the country’s educational efforts,” said Clearinghouse President Rick Torres. “Most importantly, by providing an accurate and consistent way to measure student achievement, we enable educators to better prepare the nation's students to compete and succeed.”

During the next 16 months, the Clearinghouse, its partners and organizations from three pilot states, including the UTD-ERC, will conduct data-matching tests, redesign reports, develop new analysis tools, create professional development materials and obtain user feedback.

“We are pleased to be involved in this important project,” said Jim Parsons, assistant director of Texas Schools Project, the organization that manages the UTD-ERC. “Providing user-friendly tools that allow educators and policymakers to assess post-secondary student outcomes will be highly beneficial in many ways.”

The Texas school districts participating in the pilot program include Austin, Corpus Christi, El Paso, Fort Worth, Houston, McAllen and San Antonio.


Media Contact: Katie Patterson, Education Research Center, (972) 883-6424, katie.patterson@utdallas.edu
or Emily Martinez, UT Dallas, (214) 905-3049, emily.martinez@utdallas.edu
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The University of Texas at Dallas Education Research Center is managed by the Texas Schools Project, one of the premier education research institutions in the country and part of the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences.

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