Shiny New Toy for Data Wonks

Thanks to Virginia’s new longitudinal database, we can track the number of students graduating from Virginia high schools who proceed to higher education. A simple search on the Virginia Department of Education (DOE) website informs us that 62% of all students in the 2010-2011 cohort of high school grads enrolled in a two-year or four-year college within 16 months.

We also know that females (66%) enrolled at a much higher rate than males (58%). And we know that Asians (76%) enrolled at a much higher rate than whites (65%), blacks (54%) and Hispanics (50%)… or even “Native Hawaiians,” all 105 of them, who enrolled at a 56% rate.

We also  find that 46% of “economically disadvantaged” high school grads sought higher education, while 49% of students with limited English proficiency did so.

Moreover, the searchable database allows us to drill down to the level of school districts and individual schools. Thus, we discover that 63% of all Patrick County high school grads in Southside Virginia advanced to college-level learning compared to 74% of all Fairfax County students. We also find that the disparity narrows somewhat if we focus just on disadvantaged students. Fifty-one percent of disadvantaged Patrick County grads enroll, compared to 56% of disdvantaged Fairfax grads.

Likewise, the database tells us that 87% of the graduates of the elite Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology seek higher ed, while only 30% of those who graduate from Petersburg High School do so.

This Postsecondary Enrollment Report gives just a taste of things to come. One day, integrated state databases will combine student standardized test scores, college graduation rates from Virginia institutions and some workforce history, allowing analysts to probe the effect of educational policy with greater depth and precision than ever before. One day, with luck, Virginians will be able to invest their multibillions in educational spending more wisely.


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One response to “Shiny New Toy for Data Wonks”

  1. what the Shiny Data tool should ALSO tell us. What happens to the kids who do not go to college?

    I think that is just as important if not more important from a number of different perspectives not the least of which is that with the RIGHT KIND of education, you don’t need college to make a good living but you DO NEED a GOOD technical education and that good technical education ALSO REQUIRES a GOOD HS education.

    so the question is – what happens to the kids in school who are not on a college track?

    In Europe and Asian – these kids on a non-college track STILL have to accomplish a RIGOROUS academic education.

    Bonus Question – how many kids in HS who are not on a college track can pass the Armed Forces Test?

    why isn’t that a requirement for non-college track?

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