Ohio Advocates Compare Graduation Rates to College & Career Readiness
September 20, 2019

A new Thomas B. Fordham Institute-Ohio report examines the correlation between Ohio’s ever-rising high school graduation rates and students’ level of college and career preparedness. 

While Ohio boasted an 84 percent high school graduation rate for the class of 2017 and the state’s college-going rate is consistently above 50 percent, only approximately 30 percent of students complete an associate degree or higher within 6 years of high school. The Mountain Ahead investigates this discrepancy and analyzes the number of students in Ohio who are truly prepared for college and career by focusing on the following metrics: 

  • Attaining a college-remediation-free score on both the math and ELA sections of ACT or SAT 
  • Earning an industry credential
  • Passing at least one AP exam
  • Accumulating at least three college credits via dual enrollment
  • Completing a two- or four-year college degree within 6 years of high school

The results of this study show that while Ohio’s high school graduation rate continues to grow, student readiness lags far behind. The resource includes six key findings based on data from Ohio’s graduating class of 2017:

  1. Only 26 percent of students met ‘college ready’ benchmarks on the ACT or SAT exams. ‘College-ready’ indicates that a student has a 50 percent chance of earning a B or higher in a first-year college course.
  2. Although slowly increasing each year, still less than five percent of students earned any industry credentials by their graduation date.
  3. Just 13 percent of students passed at least one AP exam, and 21 percent earned three or more dual-enrollment credits via Ohio’s statewide dual-enrollment program. 
  4. These disparities increase sharply when students are divided according to racial subgroup. For example, although 30 percent of white students met readiness benchmarks on the ACT or SAT, just six percent of black students did so. 
  5. For metrics that are nationally comparable, including ACT exam scores and AP course passage rates, Ohio falls behind both the national average and that of top-performing states. 
  6. Just one in three students from the 2009-2011 graduating classes earned at least an associate degree within six years of exiting high school. 

As advocates across the country work to ensure that student achievement and graduation rates reflect true student readiness, this resource offers a useful comparison for stakeholders throughout the education continuum.

Interested in connecting with advocates at Fordham? Reach out.


Hannah Oakley

Hannah is PIE Network's Policy Fellow


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