Interventions to Support Readiness, Recruitment, Access, Transition, and Retention for Postsecondary Education Success: An Equity of Opportunity Policy and Practice Analysis

January 21, 2010

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Recognition is growing about the public health and civil rights imperative for reducing the high rate of school dropouts. However, too little policy attention is paid to enhancing equity of opportunity for those transitioning from adolescence to young adulthood by increasing enrollment and success in postsecondary education.

Previous policy and practice reports from the Center at UCLA have provided analyses indicating that reducing dropouts, increasing graduation rates, and closing the achievement gap require more than improving preK-12 instruction and enhancing school management. In doing so, those analyses clarified fundamental flaws in prevailing school improvement policies and practices for addressing barriers to learning and teaching and recommended transformative changes.

This new report extends the earlier work by analyzing postsecondary education. Given concerns about diversity and the degree to which some subgroups are underrepresented in postsecondary education, the report stresses that it is essential to use the lenses of equity of opportunity and social justice in rethinking postsecondary education policies and practices.

Using these lenses, the report focuses on interventions for improving K-12 in ways that reduce dropouts and improve readiness for postsecondary education, programs for bolstering recruitment and access, and efforts to facilitate transition and retention; recommendations for a shift in policy to enhance equity of opportunity are offered. The work is particularly timely given the increasing calls for enhancing enrollment in and completion of postsecondary education programs and for ensuring inclusion of more and more students from subgroups that have been underrepresented for too long.