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Student Characteristics: Are New York State High School Graduates "College & Career Ready"?

New York Minute / Issue 70 / November 2015 (download PDF)
by Jan Vink and Robin Blakely-Armitage, Cornell University

Are NYS high school graduates “college & career ready”?

Patterns by student characteristics

Graduating from high school is an achievement. But as societal and workforce needs change, traditional graduation requirements  may not be sufficient preparation for college and/or the workforce as, analytical and collaborative demands have increased. New York State (NYS) recently created an Aspirational Performance Measure (APM) intended to better assess college and career readiness by establishing a more rigorous standard for student achievement in English Language Arts and Math1. However, rates of APM achievement are significantly below overall graduation rates, suggesting that a large proportion of graduates may not be prepared for the next phase of life.


While the 2015 NYS public high school graduation rate was 78%, only 40% of students were deemed “college and career ready” according to the APM. The gap is particularly striking when characteristics such as ethnicity, disability status, English proficiency, and economic status are considered. For example, while 62% of Asian public school students meet the APM standard (though 85% graduate), only 17-22% of Black, Hispanic, and Native American students met the APM standard (65% graduate). On average, economically disadvantaged students have worse outcomes than non-poor children, and students with disabilities and/or limited English proficiency fare even worse. In our January 2016 issue, we will examine geographic patterns of the APM, by school district type, resources and “need” status.

About the New York Minute publication series

The New York Minute is a publication of Cornell University’s Community & Regional Development Institute (CaRDI), produced in collaboration with the Program on Applied Demographics (PAD). These publications are free for public reproduction with proper accreditation.

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