This is what Freshman Success looks like

College & Career Readiness | 07/12/2018

Toya Fick
Executive Director, Stand for Children Oregon

The goal for including Freshman Success (also known as Freshman On-Track) in Measure 98, and for launching the Oregon Center for High School Success (CHSS) last summer, was to help bring the truly impressive graduation rate improvements that these policies first created in Chicago, here to schools across Oregon. Researchers discovered that students who are ‘on-track’ at the end of their 9th grade – meaning they’ve completed a quarter of the total credits they need and received no more than one F in a core course – are far more likely to graduate than their off-track peers. By zeroing in on this on-track indicator, educators in Chicago were able to raise graduation rates by more than twenty points in just a few short years.

Here in Oregon, the Department of Education began monitoring freshmen on-track rates during the 2013-14 school year. Those same students graduated in 2016-17, giving us the first hard data showing the overwhelmingly positive impact that freshmen on-track policies are having in our state.

Here’s just a glimpse of a new report on that impact:

  • On-track students were more than twice as likely to graduate in four years than their off-track peers (91.07 percent to 40.12 percent);
  • On-track status alone is credited with more than doubling (137 percent increase) the likelihood of graduating;
  • These amazing results are consistent across demographic groups.

These results are more than exciting – they’re our first look at the true potential of Measure 98. While only funded at half its intended level, the Measure continues to support new Freshman Success programs as they grow across the state. And at Stand, we continue to support educators every step of the way through the Oregon Center for High School Success. Thanks to your generous contributions, we’re able to serve as a cost-free resource for educators, providing the professional development, foundational research, and expert advice they need to launch successful on-track programs of their own.

But in order to build on this progress and continue growing Freshman Success programs into the future, we need lawmakers to fund Measure 98 again in 2019 – and this time, we need them to fund it fully. If the initial $170 million investment was a down payment on the impact of the Measure, then in 2019 we need lawmakers to double down on what is clearly working and provide the full $300 million.

Your voice is critical to making this happen. Lawmakers need to hear from their constituents about all of the ways Measure 98 is improving opportunities for students in their communities. Learn how you can get involved by clicking here.

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