Putting Education Reform To The Test

Rural Students Vs. Urban Students: Who Performs Better in College-Level Classes?

Sarah Gonzalez / StateImpact Florida

One reason participation in college-level classes is low at rural high schools is because there isn't a lot of interest. Daniel Glawson, a senior at Sneads High in Jackson, Fla., wants to be a downhill pipeline welder for oil rigs. He welded this picture frame out of horse shoes in agriculture class. Glawson says he rather work with his hands than go to college.

In Florida’s rural counties, high school leaders say they can’t offer as many college-level courses as large urban high schools.

But rural students are more likely to earn college credit for the college courses they do take, than urban students.

Low participation counts against the grade high schools get by the state, which is tied to bonus money. Even if schools with lower participation have higher performance.

We’ve mapped out access to accelerated courses throughout the state here. 

So who does better in college-level classes?

You can compare rural and urban school participation numbers to student performance after the jump.

How the Grading Formula Works

The state’s grading formula gives points to schools for participation and performance in college classes, like Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB) or Dual Enrollment — where students take college classes and earn both college and high school credit, depending on how they score on the end of year test or how well they do in the class.

Out of 1600 points total in the school grading model, the state gave 175 points to participation in accelerated courses last year.

It gave 125 points for performance in those courses — which is measured by whether students actually earn college credit for the college courses they take.

We’ve picked out an A through F grade high school in an urban and rural county to compare participation and student performance.

Urban schools have higher participation but are less likely to get their students college credit.

Why do you think rural school students perform better in the college-level classes they take in high school than urban school students?

Some say its because rural school students are only taking one or two college level classes at a time.

Others say it may be because rural students have smaller class sizes.

Why do you think?

[spreadsheet key=”0AuTpuVN0EKutdF9CYWJ6LTZHQlU0cjhCc0kxVHJnYUE” source=”Florida Department of Education” sheet=0 filter=0 paginate=0 sortable=1]


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