Interactive Map Offers Illustration of College-Readiness Disparities

Two screenshots from the Annenberg Institute for School Reform's new interactive college-readiness map show how many students in the Class of 2011 graduated college-ready in two adjacent Manhattan neighborhoods. Image courtesy of the Annenburg Institute.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, the Annenberg Institute for School Reform is betting that an interactive map is worth about 5,000.

The institute today released a 10-page report arguing that demography is still destiny for New York City schoolchildren, at least in terms of whether they are prepared for college. Accompanying the report is a new data tool that lets users handicap students’ chances of graduating from high school ready for college by neighborhood.

The interactive map was created by the Coalition for Educational Justice, the Annenberg Institute’s organizing partner in the city. CEJ has called attention to the city’s low college-readiness rate in the past.

Since last year, the city and state have released college-readiness rates for each high school. The state’s measure looks at students’ scores on reading and math Regents exams and how many students earn advanced diplomas, and the city’s measure adds performance in college-preparatory courses and tests and real college enrollment rates. Both methods found that fewer than a quarter of city students in the Class of 2011 graduated college-ready in four years, a statistic that both are using to justify changes to curriculum and assessment. The city is also launching new initiatives aimed at boosting the numbers.

But the city and state data reflect only where students attend school. The Annenberg Institute instead looked at students’ home addresses. Breaking the city into nearly 300 different neighborhoods, researchers found that the whiter, the wealthier, and the more educated the women in each area, the more likely students there were to graduate ready for college, regardless of where they attended high school.

On the Upper East Side, for example, 70 percent of students hit the college-readiness mark. But cross 96th Street into East Harlem, and a student’s chances of graduating college-ready drops to just 18 percent. Next door in Harlem, the rate falls to 13 percent. Continue on a little farther west to Morningside Heights, where Columbia University is located, and the rate rises again to 29 percent.

Continue reading at Gotham Schools…


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