Helping D.C. students succeed in college

The overall four-year graduation rate in District of Columbia Public Schools is 58.3%—one of the lowest in the nation. Of those students who do graduate, a significant percentage either don’t attend college at all or drop out before graduation.

Leveraging their expertise in student success, members of a pro bono team from EAB set out to identify the challenges facing Washington, D.C., students and deliver a tool that could help students, parents, and school administrators better understand barriers to success in higher education.

“What has me most excited about these efforts is how they connect to the broader work we do in EAB to support our members. We often speak of how we put students at the center—your work on this initiative has really brought that to life.”
–Robert Musslewhite, Chief Executive Officer

Putting education expertise to work

After a year of research, the EAB team helped District leaders create My College FactFinder (MCFF), an online application that shows how District students have fared at colleges and universities across the country, and provides data on SAT/ACT ranges for enrolled students, graduation rates, and transfer behavior.

As EAB senior analyst Ben McGuire explains, “My College Fact Finder provides students with the type of relevant, local information that we hope will let them make a thoughtful, informed decision and select a school that really meets their needs.”

Making a citywide impact

In April 2015, the MCFF team presented the tool to more than 200 educators and policymakers. It was met with tremendous excitement, with attendees noting it could be a "game changer" for propelling scaled student success in higher education. By June, Mayor Muriel Bowser implemented the tool citywide—doing so within the first 100 days of her administration.

Community Impact initiatives offer Advisory Board employees the opportunity to take on new responsibilities and learn new skills, but the chance to make a difference in the local community is the real reward. "It was really humbling to see the impact this work will have on the lives of Washington, D.C., students. If they are able to make a more informed college choice and end up at a school that better meets their needs, it could give them better career prospects and more economic security” says Erin McDougal, a consultant with EAB.

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