Are Oakland High School Graduates Going to College?

Up until recently this was not an easy question to answer for a city in California (several other states make this data publicly available). The data has been available to individual schools and districts who seek it out, but the state has not prioritized releasing college-going data. Fortunately, for the the first time, California has publicly released college-going data. This is a great first step toward a statewide data system that can track student outcomes from pre-k through college.

What exactly is this data? College-going data is a combination of data from CALPADS, California’s student data system, and the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC), an organization that collects data from colleges across the country. CALPADS data tells us which kids graduate from high school. This data can then be matched with college enrollment data from NSC to tell us which high school graduates ultimately make it into college.

What are the key takeaways?

  • Oakland’s college-going rates are lower than the state and the county
    • Oakland is 6 points behind the state and and 13 points behind the county
  • The range in college-going rates across Oakland is wide.
    • Eleven schools sent more than 70% of students their graduates to college
    • Eleven schools sent 50% or less of their graduates to college
  • Girls are outpacing boys
    • Girls have higher college-going rates in Oakland, Alameda County, and California
    • The trend continues in most individual schools as well with gaps as large as 36 points

What’s the fine print? While NSC data is fairly comprehensive it does not include data for all schools or students. There are very few schools that have opted out of the NSC data collection, however, students have the right to opt out of the NSC data collection. Nationally the NSC opt-out rate is 3-4%, however, in California the opt-out rate has ranged from 8-12%.

One hypothesis for this difference is that students from immigrant families are more likely to opt out of the NSC collection for fear of revealing their immigration status. To be clear, NSC does not collect information on immigration and status, but the fear from families and students still exists. Since California is home to a large immigrant population, there is a larger proportion of students attending California colleges that have decided to opt out of the NSC data collection. While the data set is not exhaustive, this is the best available data set for college-going data and can still provide valuable insights for our community.

What’s next? Join us on Sept 24 at our second College Data Study session where we will dive deeper into college data with stakeholders from across Oakland.