Moving the Needle: Exploring Key Levers to Boost College Readiness Among Black and Latino Males in New York City

by Adriana Villavicencio; Brandon Guidry; Dyuti Bhattacharya

Jul 2, 2013

Moving the Needle addresses the challenges, opportunities, and potential solutions to increasing college readiness rates for young men of color in New York City. The report describes indicators that help predict college readiness, environmental factors that affect educational outcomes, and how this research can inform the City's Expanded Success Initiative.
  • In New York City, while graduation rates are increasing, few black and Latino males are graduating "college ready" (only 9 percent of black males and 11 percent of Latino males).
  • Attendance and retention in the middle grades, as well as ninth grade "on-track" status are important indicators and present opportunities to support black and Latino male students.
  • A substantial portion of students are also lost during transition phases: from elementary to middle school, middle school to high school, and high school to college.
  • Critical contextual factors affecting students' education trajectories include gender expectations, poverty, being born to foreign-born parents, overrepresentation in special education classes and among those being suspended or expelled, plus underrepresentation in rigorous classes.
  • The Expanded Success Initiative can increase college and career readiness among New York City's black and Latino males by: 1) focusing explicitly on college readiness; 2) investing resources in the ninth grade; 3) increasing opportunities for rigorous coursework; 4) cultivating student leadership; 5) forming strategic partnerships; and 6) training staff in culturally responsive education.