A previous Education Trust report, "Breaking the Glass Ceiling of Achievement for Low-Income Students and Students of Color", described inequities at the high end of the achievement spectrum and found that gaps at the advanced level on the 12th-grade National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) have generally stagnated or grown over the past decade.
In this report, we want to explore the experiences of these high-achieving students. We examine the trajectories of students who are high-achieving when they enter high school and document their success on key indicators of postsecondary readiness, including high school course-taking, performance on AP exams and college admissions tests (SAT/ACT), academic GPAs, and college enrollment patterns.
Our intention is to drill down further and understand if and on what indicators initially high-achieving students of color and low-socioeconomic status (SES) students are getting off track in high school. By better understanding such patterns, we hope educators can look at their practices with a fresh eye and think anew about how to provide truly rigorous opportunities that will best support students of color and low-SES students who are already high-achieving.
This responsibility, of course, also lies with elementary and middle schools, but there are actions that high school educators can take now to improve experiences for these students. Schools like CAHS provide some insight into how this work is being done.