College Readiness Initiative

Low-income students often drift through high school or drop out, while their higher-income peers prepare for college. The College Readiness Initiative helped students understand the value of college and work toward getting there. Over a nine-year period, College Spark worked to improve the college readiness of low-income students in Washington by investing nearly $10 million in AVID and Career Guidance Washington (formerly called Navigation 101). AVID helps all students, especially those in the academic middle, develop the academic skills and habits they need to prepare for college; Career Guidance Washington (CGW) provides college and career planning support to all students in a participating school.

Six-year grants were provided to 43 low-income schools, from 19 school districts, in an effort to prepare more students for college and career.  The results were promising: initiative schools increased their college-going culture and students in schools implementing AVID and Career Guidance Washington demonstrated impressive gains on measures of college readiness and had higher high school completion, college enrollment, and college persistence rates than their peers.

For example:

  • The percentage of students graduating having taken the courses required for entry into a four-year college increased from 36% to 56% at CGW schools and from 40% to 51% at AVID schools. In nearly all schools, gains were significantly higher for students of color.
  • CGW schools had a high school graduation rate that was nearly 20% higher than a group of comparison schools with similar demographics.
  • College enrollment rates increased by more than 10% in both AVID and CGW schools.

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