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Sunday, October 2, 2011

Fort Thomas Education Focuses on College Readiness

By now you have probably seen recent headlines about NKY schools’ performance on the Kentucky Core Content Tests (remnants of No Child Left Behind).  You can visit the link to see all the data for area schools including Highlands.

What may not have been as clear in these stories was that Highlands actually regressed according to the scores.  What is even more hidden in the stories and numbers is the shift that has occurred in the High Schools focus last year and going forward in terms of measurement and readiness.

Fort Thomas and Highlands began shifting their focus away from this Core Content Testing toward college readiness along with the state mandate for all juniors to take the ACT that began in 2008.

This new focus and the results of it is even evidenced in a recent accolade for the school as the Washington posted ranked Highlands #294 out of all high schools in the US.   The formula used by the Washington post values college placement and includes a formula that divides the number of college placement tests taken (AP & others) by the number of graduating seniors.

In addition to the focus on Advanced Placement exams general readiness for the ACT test has also been a boon to the school and its students.  Despite being fourth in the state in composite scores in previous years the most recent testing cycle has yielded a pretty dramatic increase in overall test scores into the 24 range – up from the 2008 average of 22 and a 2010 average of 23.3

Some other stats to consider when evaluating the success of this new focus include:

  • In 2010 94% of Highlands graduates went on to college
  • 47% of graduates earned college credits while at Highlands
When you add all this up it factors out to a pretty good return on investment for parents sending their children to college who send their kids through Fort Thomas schools.  If on average students graduating from Highlands have 6 - 12 college credits that is an extra semester we don’t have to pay for.  With escalating college costs and three kids who will enter the Fort Thomas school system in the next few years that is something to smile about.


  1. While 94% of Highlands'graduates go on to college, a just as important question is--"How many finish college"?

    With a population of about 16,495 and 11,076 over the age of 25-we have the following numbers---

    In Ft Thomas, adults with a Bachelor's degree are 22.91% of the population or about 2,538 people; Graduate or professional degree--14.07% or 1,558 people;
    Associate Degree 5.13 % or 568 people; Some college (no degree) 24.82% or 2,749 people

    According to Census figures for Campbell County as a whole--
    the percentage of the population with a Bachelor's Degree was 16%; Associates Degree 6% and a Graduate Degree was 10%.

  2. Great question and important point. Unfortunately there is no good data source for this info. Linking college graduation data to high school graduation data is next to impossible.

    Also, using degree info from the census is misleading as well since many students go to college and never return to Fort Thomas. Brain drain is a topic we can cover some day but the Fort is not immune to the problem.

  3. A few heathens might have slipped past the security gates and moved into town, as well...

    I apologize for my lack of degree.. My wife balances us out..

    50%, baby!! Yeah!!