National Study of Unequal Opportunity Among the States

NCPPHE. (2004). Measuring up: The national report card on higher education. San Jose, CA: National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education. Retrieved October 10, 2004, from:
Although more high school graduates are prepared for college, most states, and the nation as a whole. have made few gains in college enrollment and completion over the last decade. And for most American families, paying for college has become more difficult. This report is the first to examine ten-year performance trends in the nation as a whole and in each of the 50 states. The achievement gains are not evenly spread through the population, the report also finds. Substantial racial, ethnic, income, and geographical disparities are hidden in the rising national averages in achievement.
The findings suggest that the national standards movement, and other reforms at the elementary and secondary school levels, have produced larger numbers of college-ready students.
More high school students are taking rigorous courses, such as upper-level math and science. In many states, however, smaller proportions of students are completing high school and going to college following graduation. Moreover, only slightly more of those who do enroll in college are completing two- and four-year degree programs than was the case a decade ago. The report evaluates the performance of each state in five areas: preparation for college; participation (do state residents enroll in college-level education?); completion (what percentage of those enrolled in higher education receive degrees or certificates?); affordability; and benefits (what economic and civic benefits accrue to a state that has a more highly-educated population?).