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Education Lab Blog

Education Lab is a yearlong project to spark meaningful conversations about education solutions in the Pacific Northwest.

May 16, 2014 at 5:56 PM

New York Times dives deep into grad rates and achievement gaps

Sunday’s New York Times magazine features an extensive story about how the University of Texas is working to help its low-income students fight the odds and graduate on time. At the center of the effort is chemistry professor David Laude, who started a special interdisciplinary program for low-income, high achieving students 15 years ago.

Today, his program has expanded across the university’s Austin campus and assists students by providing them with smaller classes, peer mentoring and extra tutoring. Administrators identify candidates for the program using an analytics tool that considers factors like a student’s family income and SAT score to establish the probability he or she will graduate in four years.

Many of the statistics and themes included in the story have appeared in previous Education Lab coverage, including Claudia Rowe’s recent piece about how outside guidance programs are helping more low-income students get into college.

One of the programs offered at Walla Walla Community College includes a John Deer tractor repair sequence. Nick Shultz, left and Joe Watts work on an engine during class. (Photo by Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times.)

One of the programs offered at Walla Walla Community College includes a John Deer tractor repair sequence. Nick Shultz, left and Joe Watts work on an engine during class. (Photo by Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times.)

On Sunday, reporter Katherine Long will examine the other side of the equation — making sure students finish their degrees. Katherine’s story looks at how Walla Walla Community College has used individualized counseling and software programs to help get students out the door on time. Nationally, only about 40 percent of first-time, full-time community college students complete a degree or transfer within three years.

At Walla Walla, the rate is 56 percent.

Next Tuesday, Education Lab will address the issue of college access and degree completion at a free community. Join us at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute for an inspiring evening of local students talking about how they overcame obstacles to pursue higher education.

Details are at seati.ms/storytellersevent.

Comments | More in News | Topics: graduation rates, higher ed, race

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