Making the Transition: High School to College


Venezia, A., & Jaeger, L. (2013, Spring). Transitions from High School to College. Future of

     Children23(1), 117-136.

In continuing my review of scholarly writings this week I found the article Transition from High School to College that provided information that directly relates to my line of inquiry. The title from the article led the way as a direct intro to the subject matter that was being given by the authors. The focus of this piece was to provide research and insight on the current trends of providing interventions to improve access into higher education for high school students in the United States. Venezia and Jaeger (2013) presented their research and information by looking at the state of college readiness among high school students, the effectiveness of programs in place to help them transition to college, and efforts to improve those transitions.

In looking at the formulation of the research presented in this reading, it was very easy to see from the onset that the authors were first focused on using more quantitative data to support their findings. The researchers looked at statistical data from various sources including the National Center for Educational Statistics, U.S. Department of Education, College Board “SAT Report”, and several others. I felt the research was conducted from a more analytical approach than anything. Although the text provides some excellent support to the author’s positions, it seemed to be a report more motivated to impact policy makers. The study showed very little humanizing elements, telling me it was a more data driven approach with research methodologies used for this report.

The information presented to readers was turned to help one understand first and foremost, that there is a problem in the U.S. with students being ill prepared for college entrance. The report also lightly approached the idea that social inequity continues to hamper access to college in underserved communities in the U.S. The paper leaves readers contemplating the effectiveness of current measurement tools for college readiness, because it is something that history shows challenging to track. The report also helps readers to understand that college transition challenges for high school students is recognized at the national level. Hence, there is state and federal funding currently being used for success programs like TRIO, Early College, Gear UP, and Upward Bound programs. The article also reflects on common core standards, the push at the national level for college preparedness, and also presents readers with the idea that there is not one particular fix to guiding students in college and career readiness. The end findings of this article can be summed up in one of the author’s final statements.  According to Venezia and Jaeger (2013) “While great variation in approaches and implementation strategies will no doubt continue, the field would benefit from a more comprehensive and consistent method for learning what works across different types of reforms—for example, using similar definitions and metrics—to help clarify what is transportable, effectively, across different contexts and scaling needs” (p.132).

As a reader, the authors of Transition from High School to College did an excellent job of initially capturing my attention by presenting their stance and position on what the readings was going to present. The piece itself was very coherent from start to finish, and all topics were placed in a safe fashion, to help the reader understand both problem, potential solutions, and end findings. The data was structured into this writing nicely to help support the authors points and to help users continue to build on understanding the issues of high school to college transitions in our country. One of the strongest points made in this article came as the development of the argument was laid out. As a reader, I could feel that there was not going to be any healthy final recommendations to solve the issues being presented.

In reflecting on this reading, I think it may contribute to my research and field of inquiry. Was this article worthwhile? I would say yes to an extent. I will keep it in my archive for reference points that I felt were very sound. I will say the strength of the argument was not supported as well as I thought it could have been, because of the lack of connecting the reader with the human side of the challenges being presented. I know not all scholarly writings are intended to appeal to a reader’s emotion, but if the authors could have provided a more human element, this reading would appeal to me even more.

Some of the key items in this article were highlighted in the way the authors framed their argument and presented their story while supporting it with data. As I read through the material, the author helped me to see some of the challenges that are faced in measuring the topic at hand. Another part to this writing that impressed me was the author’s last take on the analysis presented. In addition to directly supporting academic preparation for students, capacity-building efforts need to focus on ensuring that large comprehensive high schools have strong college-going cultures, on providing the necessary professional development for educators to help all students meet college readiness standards (Venezia & Jaeger, 2013), was well stated. Again, not robust findings, but the author helped me understand there is more research needed in this area.

The authors of this paper made good connections with analysis and material being presented. As a doctoral student who is looking at research methods and tools, I defiantly found some of the examples and materials used as potential tools for my future research efforts. I found clarity in the way some of the material was presented, but also questioned some portions to the writing. I learned from this piece that sound data and resources can help the reader better understand the issues you are looking at. But when topics are presented that have little findings to help support current actions being taken, it can call for challenges in trying to transfer your message to the intended audiences.

I selected this article to review because I found some positives and negatives in how it read. My final thoughts were that the use of statistics and data can do an excellent job in helping support an issue you want people to recognize. The authors of this article did an excellent job at using national statistics and measures to help show readers the impact of the issue at hand. In my professional setting working in higher education, I have to work with top level leadership occasionally to present my view or ideas, and to gain support or funding for projects or other needs. The use of data to support my argument seems always to play a vital role in the impact I can have on my audience. The use of solid supporting quantitative data to help support any measure can always help. On the other hand, this study might be able to build on its argument and position by bringing more qualitative research. Story telling focused on the collective impact of the challenges being faced and the results to be had by some of the programs discussed may help this research become even sounder for the future. The result in reflecting on this article; I had some positive takeaways to help me in the review of research practices, but still many questions to ensure I can be a successful academic researcher in time. a successful academic researcher in time.

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