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The Value of College Readiness Indicators and Interventions: Lessons from Chicago


According to the collaborators of the College Readiness Indicator Systems (CRIS) project, in order to prepare young people for success in college, districts and their partners need to identify and develop a system of college readiness indicators and tie them to individualized supports and interventions.

The CRIS project invited Elaine Allensworth from the Consortium on Chicago School Research (CCSR) to present her research on college readiness indicators by the end of September. She found that the combination of GPA and course failures gave a highly accurate predicator of high school graduation, both of which are indicated by attendance and effort. She also discovered that strong attendance and effort depend on high levels of teacher monitoring and teacher support for challenging course content. However, increased rigor by itself was found counterproductive by actually increasing dropout rates. 

On this basis, Chicago Public Schools has developed an early warning system to identify students in danger of not being prepared for college. The system is tied to a district-developed handbook of interventions to improve student performance. There has been a significant increase in ninth-grade on-track rates and higher course pass rates.

The CRIS network is building on Allenworth’s findings to address the questions that remain.

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