High-School Students Take Dim View of College Scorecard

The College Scorecard, President Obama’s proposed way to provide students with better data about their college options, leaves many of those students baffled and lacking desired information, according to a report released on Monday.

The Center for American Progress, a research organization, recently conducted focus groups with dozens of college-bound high-school students to gauge their views of the College Scorecard’s proposed design, as well as the center’s own version.

In the report, “Improving the College Scorecard: Using Student Feedback to Create an Effective Disclosure,” the center discusses the focus groups’ opinions and recommends ways to improve the scorecard.

The scorecard, which was proposed by President Obama last February, is an online tool designed to make it easier for students to compare colleges one to one, by providing at-a-glance information about universities, including their costs, completion rates, and average student-loan debt.

“It’s a big step to giving students better information” about factors “that historically have not been that transparent,” said Julie M. Morgan, the center’s associate director for postsecondary education and co-author of the report. “But oftentimes, in cases of many government disclosures, they don’t have the opportunity to test things out with students.”

One of the focus groups’ biggest findings was that students were unsure of the scorecard’s purpose and usefulness. The design of the government’s version did not easily convey the information and why it is important. The center’s version did little better, with students criticizing its lack of introductory content that would explain what the scorecard is. <Read more.>

Via Caitlin Peterkin, The Chronicle of Higher Ed. (May require paid subscription.)

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