Is Your College Prep School Meeting Placement Expectations?

Vol. 11 No. 1


The ACT annual report is out. The Condition of College and Career Readiness 2013, shows only 26% of ACT-tested students met the standards for English, reading, mathematics, and science. ACT also reports a U.S. trend of unprepared ACT-tested students enrolling in four-year and two-year colleges. As you know, your school’s goal is to develop students into your Portrait of the Graduate. Then, your portrait-driven curriculum can ideally prepare students for college. As Division Head, you must recognize program weaknesses to then alter curriculum and meet student expectations.

The Portrait of the Graduate is a list of desired student outcomes. ISM believes that once schools align their Portrait of the Graduate with curriculum, they can substantiate claims through actual alumni characteristics and experiences. Your portrait is the foundation for outcome verification strategies.

Here are five suggested strategies to identify if your school is delivering expectations.

  • Recruit assistance from your college counselors to track performance of alumni in college. They can ask graduating seniors before they depart to sign a release allowing colleges to send transcripts to your school’s college counselor. If this option is not widely accepted from students, consider periodically sending a survey to your last five graduating classes seeking college performance and preparedness data.
  • Host yearly events for your youngest alumni. For example, a holiday gathering between semesters in December or January. Listen in on the conversation to hear how they are adapting as a college student. Ask if there were areas your school could improve to better prepare students.
  • Survey random graduates from the last six years using the Portrait of The Graduate as the foundation for your questions. For example, “Please indicate your agreement with the statement ‘Our school faculty strengthened my use of technological resources.’”
  • Stay close with alumni to highlight their achievements related to Portrait of the Graduate. Use testimonials from alumni who demonstrate an aspect of your portrait and explain how your school has helped its students achieve success.
  • Create social media platforms for alumni. By creating Facebook and/or LinkedIn alumni Groups (an invite only online community differing from a “public page”) as an outlet for alumni to reminisce about student life and academics. Your schools Community Manager should post relevant school events as well as encourage conversation, when necessary.

Additional ISM Articles of Interest

ISM Monthly Update Private School News Vol. 11 No. 1 From the Private School Blogosphere
ISM Monthly Update for Division Heads Vol. 10 No. 2 Common Core Standards and Independent Schools
ISM Research Area 18 Essentials For A Successful College Counseling Program Part 1

Additional ISM Articles of Interest for Gold Consortium Members

I&P Vol. 34 No. 13 New Research: The Relationship Between Faculty Professional Development and Student Performance
I&P Vol. 31 No. 4 Price, product, or Process: How Do You Define Your School?
I&P Vol. 31 No. 7 Purpose and Outcome Statements: Portrait of the Graduate

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