Posted on 04/08/2016 at 11:00 AM by Liz Determan

“Predictors of Postsecondary Success” (Postsecondary)

College & Career Readiness & Success Center, American Institutes for Research

November 2013

Vanessa Hein and Becky Smerdon, Quill Research  Associates, LLC, and Megan Sambolt, American Institutes for Research committed to “summarizing early childhood through early postsecondary education research that identifies student skills, behaviors, and other characteristics that predict future academic and workplace success” (pg. 1).  They looked at a broad range of benchmarks using three categories: indicators, predictors, and other potential factors.  After a review of this report, I felt that it would be helpful to share what they found in the research they reviewed that covered PK through 16 (including the first two years of postsecondary education).

Below is a brief summary of what they found.  This month our focus will be on postsecondary indicators and predictors.


While there were no surprises, it acts as a good reminder that there are a number of students in our districts who are missing some of the significant attributes, academically and/or personally, who may struggle at achieving the competencies needed to be college and career ready.  I believe we need to develop a long-range plan to address the needs of these students because we need each and every student leaving our districts to be equipped to persist through postsecondary education and training, whatever that may look like, and enter the workforce with the personal and professional attributes that will help them live successful lives.


Age/Grade Span Indicators Predictors Other Potential Factors
Postsecondary (Years 1-2 at both 2- and 4-year institutions):

Completion of mathematics,

       ELA gateway courses and

       career exploration course

15 credits per semester

Passing general education

      courses without

      remediation within the first

      2 years of college

>3.0 GPA

Enrollment in a baccalaureate

      transfer program

Immediate enrollment after

      high school graduation

Working less than 15 hours

      per week

Participation in extracurricular

      activities; high educational

      expectations for self

Vocational intent

Participation in college and

      career orientation




“None of the indicators, predictors, or other potential factors are intended to be used independently; rather, they are potentially valuable components of a comprehensive data-informed decision process designed to improve postsecondary success for all students.” (pg. 2)

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