Published Online: June 7, 2016
Published in Print: June 8, 2016, as High School

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High School

"Path Least Taken III: Rigor and Focus in High School Pays Dividends in the Future"

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The right combination of career and academic skills can pay off for high school graduates who don't go to college, producing higher wages and a better chance of working full time than their peers who earn associate degrees or leave college without earning a degree, a new study says.

In a report released last week, the Center for Public Education at the National School Boards Association defines the six ingredients of what it calls the "high credentials" combination: completing Algebra 2 and advanced science, carrying a C-plus grade point average or better, completing three or more related career-focused courses and earning the accompanying professional license or certificate, and, of course, graduating from high school.

The study, the last in the NSBA's "Path Least Taken" series, finds that students who earn the high-credentials combination have better job and social outcomes than young adults who earned associate degrees or didn't finish their college degrees, and, in some cases, better outcomes than those who earned bachelor's degrees.

Looking only at earnings, the study found that high-credentials students who didn't attend college did better than every group other than bachelor's degree holders.

Vol. 35, Issue 34, Page 5

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