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Moving the Needle

Exploring Key Levers to Boost College Readiness Among Black and Latino Males in NYC

Increasingly, school districts are recognizing that high school graduation rates may not be the ultimate measure of success, as evidence accumulates that students who obtain a college degree do markedly better than students who only graduate from high school. In New York City, while graduation rates have increased dramatically over the last decade, college readiness rates remain troublingly low, especially for young men of color. Among students scheduled to graduate in 2010, for example, only 9 percent of Black males and 11 percent of Latino males graduated college ready.

Our new report, Moving the Needle: Exploring Key Levers to Boost College Readiness Among Black and Latino Males in New York City, examines the trajectory of Black and Latino young men on their path to college, zeroing in on points along that path where schools might provide more effective support. The report describes college-related outcomes and other indicators that help predict college readiness for Black and Latino male students over time, and discusses key contextual factors that underlie these educational outcomes.

This paper is the first in our ongoing evaluation of the Expanded Success Initiative (ESI), a new citywide effort providing resources to 40 schools with the aim of improving college and career readiness among Black and Latino young men. The final chapter of Moving the Needle uses our findings to reflect on potential directions for ESI schools as they work to support Black and Latino young men on the path to college and successful careers.

The report is accompanied by three interactive charts. Explore these charts to compare the success that different subgroups of NYC students are having in graduating high school and making it to college.

“College readiness is becoming an increasingly important standard by which to measure school success and student achievement. While high school graduation and dropout prevention remain critical issues for educators, there is a substantial gap in outcomes between students who only earn a high school diploma and those who go on to obtain a college degree. For example, young adults with a bachelor’s degree earn almost twice as much—and are half as likely to be unemployed—as those with only a high school diploma.”