Friday, February 28, 2014

AVID - Helping College Dreams Come True

In 2006, the Boise District initiated a pilot of a program called Advancement Via Individual Determination - AVID - at Fairmont Junior High School. AVID is a college preparation program which started in San Diego in 1980, with the express purpose of preparing students from the "forgotten middle" - kids who might not otherwise attend college - for post-secondary opportunities.

In the AVID Program, students are identified in elementary school as having potential to go on to college, and provided with organizational and study skills, and with a belief that they can, oftentimes, be the first in their family to pursue college studies. Then, beginning in 7th grade, these students are enrolled in Accelerated Math, Reading, and English classes, and in a supporting AVID elective class during the school day. Tutors, usually from Boise State University, provide help during the AVID period with math and language arts, and students use critical reading and questioning techniques to develop skills in presenting their work and asking questions.

From its beginnings at Fairmont, AVID has expanded across the Boise District, and is now in place at each one of Boise's 8 junior high schools and 5 high schools. The chart below illustrates the growth of AVID in the Boise District.

Three AVID classes have graduated from Boise District high schools. Of 124 AVID grads, 101 (81%) enrolled in college the semester after high school graduation. 96 (77%) are still enrolled in college. The "Direct to College" rate for the Boise District class of 2013 was 60%; the statewide rate in 2010 was 45%.

Here is a pie chart showing where AVID grads are going to school.

Most AVID grads attend in-state colleges; however, among the "other" destinations are Northwest Nazarene University, Pepperdine University, Baylor University, Seattle University, and Northern Arizona University.

Three other Idaho districts are participating in AVID. Vallivue District in Caldwell is in its third year, and Mt. Home and Emmett Districts are in the initial phases of AVID implementation.

Here is a great video about the AVID program in Boise, and a powerpoint presentation about the history of Boise's AVID program can be found under "Current Highlights and Events".

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Boise District Students' College Destinations

With the help of National Student Clearinghouse data, we have been able to track Boise District hs graduates' college progress much more accurately, beginning with the high school graduating class of 2007. We know that we have made consistent progress in increasing the college-going rate of our grads.

Boise District "Direct to College" rates have increased from 53% to 60% since 2007. Latest data from the Higher Ed Information website show that between 2008 and 2010, the college-going rate for Idaho actually dropped from 49% to 45%.

Sixty-seven (67%) of Class of 2013 students who went directly to college the fall after high school graduation went to in-state colleges; 33% went out of state. The most popular destinations for the class of 2013 were BSU (29%), CWI (16%), and the University of Idaho (12%).

Class of 2013 students enrolled in colleges in 35 states and the District of Columbia. The most popular out-of-state colleges were the University of Utah (25), Brigham Young University and Utah State University (16), and Montana State University (13).

Just to give you an idea of the far-and-away travels of our students, here are some colleges attended by class of 2013 grads: Tufts (MA), 2, Cal-Berkeley, 2, Oberlin (OH), 3, Penn, 2, Baylor, 2, Santa Clara, 3, Brown (RI), 1, Duke, (NC), 1, Harvard (MA), 1, MIT, 1, Georgetown (DC), 1, Stanford, 2, Puget Sound, WA, 2, Nebraska, 2, Furman, (SC), 2, NYU, 3, Colorado, 3, Washington, 3, Alaska-Fairbanks, 1, and BYU-Hawaii, 4. Aloha!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Boise District Enrollment Trends

For each of the past five years, District enrollment has increased at a steady pace of 100-200 students per year. It's been a relief to see enrollment tracking positively, after the declines we saw in the early 2000's.

In 2013-14, District enrollment is up by over 500 students! The District kindergarten class is the largest we have seen since 1998, and much of the growth is in the elementary grades. Treasure Valley large district Superintendents reported in October that each of their districts saw growth this year. It appears that total valley enrollment is up just over 2500 students. Good news for Treasure Valley School Districts.

Here's a summary report of this year's enrollment trends

Monday, February 3, 2014

The SAT and College Readiness

Where do Idaho's high schools currently stand in terms of college readiness? The SAT, paid for by the state of Idaho and administered annually to 11th graders across the state, provides some answers.

Several years ago, the Idaho State Department of Education set "cut" scores for the subtests of the SAT to indicate whether or not a student was deemed "college prepared". The College Board, parent organization for the SAT, recommends that a score of 500 on each of the Critical Reading, Math, and Writing subtests equates to preparedness in that area, and that a composite score of 1550 shows overall preparedness for college.

The SAT reports for Idaho school districts and high schools are here. We took those reports, added free/reduced lunch information, and created scattergrams for "large" high schools (tested more than 50 students) in the state.

Here's the math chart, for example:

The x-axis on this chart is the percentage of free/reduced students at the high school (we used 10th grade 2013 free/reduced, because 11th grade data were not available. The y-axis is percentage of 11th graders scoring above 500 on the SAT math subtest. We also included a best-fit line for the data. So, for example, Eagle High School, with about 15% free/reduced, had 46% of its juniors scoring above 500 on the SAT.

Note that there exists a substantial gap between the highest and lowest performing high schools. Renaissance, Meridian's magnet high school, and Boise High have over 60% of juniors scoring above 500 in math. Several high schools have 15% or fewer.

A factor not considered in this chart is the number of Limited English students at each high school. For example, Borah High School has the largest number of Limited English students in the state of Idaho, which naturally affects overall performance on an exam such as the SAT.

In February, 2013, Southern Idaho Superintendents recommended to the Governor's Task Force that the state require each high school and district to set goals for improving college readiness, based on their standing on each SAT subtest. We know where we stand in college readiness; the above chart illustrates the urgency of moving forward in preparing Idaho's students.

Here's a more detailed presentation about the SAT and the information it provides.