Examines college success and career readiness of 2010 Indiana high school students, identifying measures in the state longitudinal data system that predict early college success, and examining the usefulness of those predictors.

“This study supports [education reform] efforts by describing the early college success [and career readiness] of Indiana’s 2010 high school graduates who entered a public Indiana college, identifying measures in the state longitudinal data system that predict early college success, and examining the usefulness of those predictors” (p. 1).

 “Using data from the Indiana Student Information System, the state’s longitudinal database, this study examined the early college success of Indiana’s 2010 high school graduates who entered an Indiana two- or four-year public college in fall 2010. Because there is no widely accepted single indicator of early college success, the study [adopts] three commonly used indicators—enrolling in only nonremedial courses in the first semester, completing all attempted credits in the first semester, and persisting to a second year of college—plus a measure consisting of a composite of all three indicators. These individual indicators and their composite reflect achievements early in the college experience, and attaining these indicators suggests that a student entered a postsecondary institution ready for college. The study also [identifies] variables for student demographic characteristics, high school academic achievement, and behavior that might be related to (or predict) whether a student achieves success in the early college years” (p.i).

“Results from this study will help the Indiana Commission for Higher Education advise Indiana high schools and colleges about readily available categories of student data that can distinguish students who are likely to succeed as soon as they reach college from students who are likely to struggle during their early years of college. More generally, results from this study can help educators and policymakers allocate resources to students who are most likely to struggle in college” (p. ii).

 (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)

Full publication title: Who Will Succeed and Who Will Struggle? Predicting Early College Success with Indiana’s Student Information System

Major Findings & Recommendations

“The study found that half the students achieved early college success by the composite of all three indicators. In addition, the analyses found: • The percentage of students identified as achieving success varied by the indicator of success. Thus, using multiple measures of early college success may help capture different types of success. • The gaps in early college success between Black students and White/other students (where “other” refers to any student not identified as Black, Hispanic, or White) were 13–27 percentage points. The gaps between students eligible for the school lunch program, a proxy for low-income status, and those not eligible were 14–22 percentage points. • Having higher test scores and taking advanced coursework in high school predicted all three indicators of early college success as well as a composite of all three indicators, after controlling for other student and school characteristics. • The number of student absences in high school predicted whether students attain all college-attempted credits in the first year and persist to a second year of college, as well as a composite of all three indicators. Taking the SAT or ACT predicted all three indicators as well as a composite of all three indicators among students entering two-year colleges but did not predict any indicators among students entering four-year colleges. The average academic achievement level of a student’s high school also predicted these three indicators of early college success, but the predictive relationships were very small. • Most of the variation across students in early college success was not explained by the examined predictors from the state longitudinal data system. Models based on the available data explained 35 percent or less of the variation in all of the examined indicators for students first entering a two-year college and 26 percent or less of the variation in indicators for students first entering a four-year college” (p.i-ii). (Abstractor: Author)