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Course, Counselor, and Teacher Gaps: Addressing the College Readiness Challenge in High Poverty High Schools

June 5, 2015

This paper presents a new analysis of education data on high schools in the 100 largest school districts that highlights the role of inadequate K-12 preparation as a barrier to postsecondary success for students who live in poverty. In particular, the analysis highlights stark differences in the quality of college preparation that high school students receive based on their schools' concentration of poverty. The paper compares characteristics of high-poverty high schools (more than 75 percent of students eligible for free or reduced lunch) to mid-high poverty (50-75 percent eligible), mid-low poverty (25-50 percent eligible), and low-poverty high schools (fewer than 25 percent of students eligible). Key findings include: Less-experienced and less-qualified teachers.College prep courses less likely to be offered.More schools without counselors.