Measuring success, making progress: Informing educational improvement in California
THE TRANSITION from high school to college has become an important target for efforts to improve student success. Nationally, alliances among states and reform organizations are promoting academic standards that prepare students for college, fostering greater collaboration and alignment between secondary and postsecondary institutions, and encouraging the exchange of data to allow more accurate measurement of student success.1 In California, partnerships among institutions, organizations, and foundations,2 as well as recently enacted legislation,3 are designed to strengthen the preparation and support students receive as they navigate this crucial transition.
The educational success of California students—especially those attending public schools and community colleges—has been a significant focus of the Hewlett Foundation for nearly 10 years. As part of this work, the Foundation develops a set of priorities for its investments and chooses metrics to monitor. Until California has a data system in place that tracks students across education sectors—from elementary through postsecondary education4—the Hewlett Foundation shares the most up-to-date information available on its priority student outcomes. The indicators pinpoint where on their education pathways students struggle and, therefore, can help identify crucial times and places to intervene. We believe decision-makers should pay close attention to these existing indicators, and work continuously to improve the quality of available data, so that they and the wider community can learn more about how best to serve students throughout their education.