Advancing College-Going Culture

Girl in classroom looking intently

How to begin a conversation and assess the college-going culture at your school?

Jump to Resources

The first step in developing this work at your school site is to initiate a conversation with the school community and review the present college-going culture at your site.

It is important that everyone at the school site be aware of school-specific data on student achievement and college-going indicators.

The following resources provide data on your school that can anchor the conversation about challenges in building a college-going culture.


Basic college preparation indicators
Go to the DataQuest section of the website of the California Department of Education (

This screen provides two "drop-down" menus: Select Level and Select Subject.
From the first, Select Level, choose "School".
From the second, Select Subject, choose the particular type of information you want to view:

"School performance" for:

  • Academic Performance Index (API)
  • Adequate Yearly Performance (AYP)

"Test scores" for:

  • Scores for the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE)
  • Scores for SAT, ACT and AP tests

"Student demographics"/"Graduates" for UC/CSU required courses.

"Other"/"Subject area courses" for:

  • Enrollment in selected math and science courses
  • Number of classes by subject

After "selecting subject", click Submit. In the following screen enter the name of your school. For yearly data sets (e.g., test scores), you must also choose a time frame.

These data provide various indicators of student achievement and college preparation, including:

  • Students who have taken the UC/CSU (a-g) curriculum
  • CAHSEE pass rates
  • SAT, ACT, AP scores
  • Students who are in college prep math and science courses

College enrollment data on a specific high school
Visit the Detailed Data section of the website of the California Postsecondary Education Commission web site (

From the menu near the top of the screen, select "High School."

On the next screen, it will ask for the name of the school and other information. Fill in all you can BUT do not put in the words "high school" when asked the name of the school.

Then scroll down this page and click "Search."

It may then give you more than one school with that name, click on the correct school.

On the next screen that appears scroll down to "College Destinations." Either chose "View a List" (this will give you a list of California colleges that graduates from this high school attended in the most recent year by ethnicity), or chose "Freshman Pathway" (this will give you the number of first time freshman from this high school who enrolled in specific California colleges dating back to 1993).

Once you have analyzed all this basic information on your school, explore the following resources. They include surveys for teachers and students on their knowledge of college preparation, tools for assessing your school's college-going culture, and suggestions for using your own college experiences to advance this goal.


Sample Agenda: Professional Learning Workshop on Strengthening College-Going Culture

University of California, Center for Educational Partnerships, 2005

A sample agenda of how you could organize a four-hour workshop for your school or program on strengthening college-going culture. Sample_CGC_Workshop_Agenda.doc (29.7KB)

Information Sheet on College-Going Culture (one page)

McDonough, UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies; 2006

A quick one-page overview of college-going theory and principles. Helpful for school site staff, parents, and community members to get an overview of the concept. One_page_overview_of_CGC_Theory(MCDonough.doc (36.35KB)

Educational Journey Exercise

McDonough and UC Berkeley

We find that one of the most important tools that adults have to share with students is their own educational journey (the good, the bad and the ugly). This brief PowerPoint presentation provides a “How To guide” to facilitate an exercise that helps teachers, counselors, administrators, parents, and community members think about their educational journey and how they might use this information in their work with students. Schools have used the results of the Educational Journey exercise to increase “college talk” at their sites through strategies such as: placing posters of staff and their journeys in classrooms and around the school as well as taking time to have students ask staff members questions about their educational journeys. Educational_Journey_Exercise_Hand-outs_exercise.ppt (559.62KB)

Educational Journey Metaphors: Short Exercise or Introduction

UC Berkeley, Center for Educational Partnerships, various schools; 2005-8

This is a list of metaphors that teachers, administrators, and parents have used in workshops to describe their educational journey. You could introduce your workshop by having participants tell what metaphor best describes their educational journey (or use another not listed), or have particpants share this information in small groups. EdJourney_metaphors_(2).doc (22.53KB)

Teacher Ed Journey Questionnaire

Amy Abdallah, GearUP San Francisco, Willie Brown Academy

A quick survey to give to teachers about their educational journey. Can be used to begin dialog among teachers, with students, to create teacher ed journey posters etc. ejourney_form.doc (29.7KB)

Idea for using Teacher Educational Journeys

Hoover Middle School, San Jose California

Middle school plan for how to use teacher educational journeys to increase dialog and conversation about college. Teacher_Ed_Journeys_Hooverimplemenplans.doc (36.86KB)

College-Going Culture Rubric: Assessing the College-Going Culture at Your School

Adapted from McDonough by the Center for Educational Partnerships

Using the nine principles of a college-going culture, this rubric helps your school site assess where its strengths and challenges are as you build college-going culture. College-Going_Assessment_Rubric.doc (29.7KB)

Student Questionnaire: College-Going Culture

Center for Educational Partnerships, Realizing the College Dream Curriculum, 2004

A brief ten-item survey that will help you understand the beliefs/attitudes of your students towards college-going. The information from this survey will help you plan the most needed activities for your students and it is also a good motivational tool to get your students talking about college-going. CGC_Student_Questionnaire.doc (44.54KB)

Teacher Survey on Implementing College-Going Culture

UC Berkeley, Center for Educational Partnerships, 2006

A brief questionnaire for teachers who are working to implement a college-going culture. Provides a quick snapshot of the successes and potential challenges and is helpful in planning future college-going activities. Teacher_survey_on_success_of_CGC_implementation.doc (23.04KB)

Pathways to College Web Site

Pathways to College

An excellent resource. Click on "College Readiness for All Toolbox," click on "Tools," sign-in to access all the resources, click on "Create Awareness" and go to the following sections: a. Talking Points (the questions we often hear on developing a college-going culture and some responses); b. Assessing My Role (what is my role/responsibility as a teacher, administrator, counselor, what do I think of college-going culture issues); c. Teacher's Self-Reflection (an exercise that helps educators understand their own expectations of students) d. Modeling Expectations exercise (helps educators think through what they can do to raise expectations for all students)

SF Chronicle: Going to School Pays Off in Higher Salary

San Francisco Chronicle, August 18, 2007

Useful data on why it is important for students to have post-secondary educational opportunities. 2007 information on earnings and unemployment rates by educational level. Data shows that workers with college degrees earn more than those finishing high school or less.


Go to top

Last modified on 9/30/2009

  • cheap nhl jerseys canada
  • cheap fake oakley sunglasses
  • fake oakley sunglasses