Making Strategic Use of Higher Education Data in International Schools

A nice graphic from the English Schools Foundation on fields of study for their graduates.

Students at OIS-KG are accepted at many outstanding universities around the world. We are proud of them, and most importantly, they get to pursue their dreams. I am attending this workshop at the IB Asia Pacific Region Conference to better analyze where our students go to university, better promote it in and out of our community, and ultimately, to improve the higher education and career opportunities for our students.

This workshop is being put on administrators from the English Schools Foundation, which operates 15 schools in Hong Kong. They were established by the British Hong Kong government in 1967. 90% of the over 1,000 ESF students graduating from their schools, exit through the DP diploma.

Good Idea – They showed a creative example of how a school can demonstrate where their graduates study in higher education. A map of the world with pop-out names of universities and/or students is in my opinion, much better than a list.

They have accumulated a database of 5000 graduates from their schools over the years and they asked these questions.

  • What do they do after they graduate?
  • Which countries / universities do they go to study?
  • What are they studying at university?
  • How accurate/generous are students’ university predicted grades?
  • How “successful” are students in being accepted into university?
  • Are we ambitious enough with our applications? (first choice)
  • Do students with unconditional offers from US offers “drop-off” with their IB exams?

They suggested for schools to do the following:

1. Centrally store applications, offers, and destination data

2. Create a database that counselor and students can share.

3. Analyse and understand the data

4. Decide on priorities and development.

ESF Statistics

  • 88% higher education 10% gap year (doubled since 2010) 1% military service (Israel, S.Korea,Singapore)
  • gap year – Why? (68% by choice with deferred place – 32% did not get offers or re-take IB exams)
  • more students are staying in Hong Kong in recent years; trend – they are looking for more diverse places in Asia because Hong Kong is full, HK is cheap
  • Because the USA is so expensive, the number of students is steady and the stronger DP students go study there.
  • trend – medicine in HK

Predicted grades

  • Most schools use the grades to parents pessimistic and grades to universities optimistic
  • UCLA admission officer in attendance said he found 2.8 +/- from predicted DP grades to actual and they keep a list of over-predicted schools that are too high and take that into account.
  • University of Melbourne got back to HSF – recently some DP schools are considered better than others
  • U British Columbia – they did a study of first-year exam performance for Asian students 34-35 same as an US student gets a 29 – they are offering lower grades to US students;
  • how do we get our students more informed about the admissions process? they send counselors with “readers”
  • HSF students 5.67 average predicted grade – 5.54 actual
  • 1/2 of predicted grades were spot on – half are +/-1; easy to explain -4 or -3, crisis, but difficult to look at +3?
  • HSF wants to push the overall graph over to overselling our students; examine high performers are being undersold, how to identify them

How do we measure success?

  • % of getting a place at university
  • scholarships
  • accepted at first/second choice of universities
  • % accepted at “top-ranked” universities (goal is the fit)  – HSF 10%  – which rankings do you use?
  • application success rates (top-ranked US universities – which ones are we highly successful vs. lower successful)

Other notes:

  • publish offers, deceiving when 1 student gets three or four offers?
  • hot discussion on limiting the number of applications, some are 6 firm, some are not
  • We are the guardians of our reputation! The policies and practices will be based on evidence. Are we spending too much time weighing the pig instead of fattening it.
  • Smaller schools keep yearly data – share with other schools – collect evidence!

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