Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Rethinking the Performance Gap | Higher Ed Gamma - Inside Higher Ed

Last updated Thursday, January 6, 2022 19:23 ET , Source: NewsService

How should colleges and universities address disparities in students’ academic preparation?

Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce asks a provocative question: What would it mean if those in the bottom 40 percent of the income distribution had the same proportion of associate’s and bachelor’s degrees as the upper 60 percent?

The answer:

  • We’d increase degree attainment for the bottom 40 percent by 29 percentage points – from 28 percent to 57 percent, with the biggest gains experienced by Blacks and Hispanics.
  • The financial benefit – from higher earnings and tax benefits -- would total nearly $1 trillion a year.


Equalizing educational attainment rates shouldn’t be a mission impossible. It’s not a radical or utopian goal.

So why does this seem to be beyond our ability?

I, like you, know the standard answers. Money – both higher education’s financial and opportunity costs – and competing demands on students’ time.

Then there’s the rationalization that seems to trump all others: The widespread belief that all too many students from low-income backgrounds are academically under-prepared for the rigors of a college education. After all, we know all too well, many of these students had unequal access to high quality preschools or to highly experienced K-12 teachers. Many were concentrated in high poverty K-12 schools that failed to offer advanced coursework.

The rationalization for disparities in college graduation rates takes various forms:...

Read Full Story: https://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/higher-ed-gamma/rethinking-performance-gap

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