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Summer 2012 Vol. 19. No. 6 Focus on A Broken Pipeline to College

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Philadelphia's pipeline to college

16,000 students entered 9th grade at a District or charter high school in fall 2005. Six years later, here is how they fared:

By Anonymous on May 16, 2012 10:19 AM

Click on the image for a larger view of the chart

Above is a chart comparing the college enrollment of students who entered a District or charter high school in 2005.

This data is also available via Tableau, a data visualization tool. With Tableau, in the browser you can sort the schools by any data point, such as by school type or by percent of students without a diploma. The bar chart visualization with Tableau also gives you the option to filter by percent of students who enrolled in college, so you can quickly narrow the list of schools. You can also use the download link in the lower righthand corner to download a table of the raw data.

We're working on presenting and analyzing the data in different ways. Please email any feedback or suggestions on how to make this more useful to you.

Note: Data are for students who were first-time 9th graders in Philadelphia public schools in fall 2005. Data cover the period through fall 2011. Students who transferred to another school system before finishing high school are not counted. Students are attributed to the school where they started 9th grade. Some percentages in the chart above do not add up to 100% due to rounding.

  • No diploma includes students who have dropped out of high school and a small number of students who were still enrolled in 2011, but had not earned a diploma.
  • H.S. diploma, no college includes students who graduated high school but have so far not enrolled in a postsecondary institution tracked by the National Student Clearinghouse.
  • Enrolled in college includes students who enrolled in a postsecondary institution by fall 2011.
  • Continued to a 2nd year includes students who enrolled in a postsecondary institution in their first year after graduating high school, and either graduated or enrolled in a postsecondary institution again in their second year after graduating high school. 

Source: School District of Philadelphia, National Student Clearinghouse
Data analysis by Michelle Schmitt

Comments (2)

Submitted by Philly Parent and Teacher (not verified) on May 18, 2012 5:52 am

Thank you for compiling this information. What is needed now is more analysis. There are some obviously reasons why a neighborhood school has a lower college enrollment rate - the percentage of students with an IEP, and in some school who are ELL, is significant higher in a neighborhood school. Central has less than 1% of students with an IEP and I'm sure few of them have a learning disability because they wouldn't meet Central's admission criteria. Meanwhile, Germantown high school, about mile away, has about 30% with an IEP. Students with an IEP in a neighborhood high school are more likely to have learning disabilities and some have behavioral/social issues which impede their learning. The IEP and lack of English skills are not suppose to limit college access but they do. They certainly impact retention. The powers that be also have to consider home influence. If a parent/guardian works to get their child in Central or Masterman, they are obviously motivated and envision their child in college.

What I found more interesting is how many of Masterman's, Central's, and other magnet schools' students do not stay for their second year. Why is a student who has had the benefit of preparation at highly selective schools like Masterman and Central not staying in college after the first year? This should also concern the powers that be.

Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on May 18, 2012 7:10 am

Thanks for the last paragraph of your comment. Our "at risk" students are the "canaries in the coal mine". There is a disconnect that needs to be addressed at a policy making level (e.g. raising student loan interest rates), even for the kids that look like they have it "all together".

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