Harper College's partnership with local high schools to get more students ready for college will be highlighted Thursday at a White House higher education summit.
The summit is aimed at creating programs to help more low-income and minority students attend and complete college.
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Harper President Ken Ender will join higher education leaders from across the country in sharing best practices and developing an action plan for increasing college opportunity for low-income and disadvantaged students. The group will be addressed by President Barack Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan.
Since the launch of the Northwest Educational Council for Student Success (NECSS) in 2010, the number of recent high school graduates placing into college-level math at Harper has risen from 45 percent to 57 percent, according to the college. Research shows students who start college by taking remedial courses are far less likely to earn a degree or certificate than students who begin in credit classes.
Under the partnership, high school students in Harper's district are tested for college readiness in their junior year. Math faculty from Harper and local high schools have aligned their courses, and data on prospective incoming Harper students is shared throughout the year.
Harper and local high schools are also working to encourage students to take math courses during their senior year. While Illinois requires only three years of high school math, an NECSS study determined the single biggest predictor of high school graduates who begin college-ready in math is whether they take math as a senior.
"The fact we were asked to come to share our partnership program tells me we're moving in the right direction," Ender said in a statement released by the college. "Thought leaders in this country believe this is an important initiative, and that's very reassuring."