Short answer. Yes, free-and-reduced price status likely impacts college segment of initial enrollment. See the pretty Sankey diagram below that shows the college segment of initial enrollment for high school graduates by free- and reduced-priced meal (FARMS) eligibility status. However, read my data notes below before making any conclusions.

Most notably 47% FARMS eligible high school graduates failed to enroll in any college segment compared to 24% of non-FARMS eligible high school graduates. Also, 10% of FARMS eligible high school graduates initially enrolled in an out-of-state college compared to 24% of non-FARMS eligible high school graduates.

Click here if you can not see the diagram.

Long answer. As an analyst, I can think of a long list of reasons why this data does not answer this question. The first being is that the data source does not list actual numbers, just percentages. So I had to back into the numbers I used in the diagram. However, due to rounding, the numbers do not add up to the proper totals. If this was for real analysis I would try to get the actual numbers. I need to use numbers, even if they are not quite correct to get the diagram to render properly.

But for this project, I am just attempting to see if I can code this type of diagram and getting a general sense of what the diagram would show. On that end, it is a success. I can do the coding, I am sincerely hoping that you can see the diagram above right now. I also think I really like the visual effect. I think it works well when you have a few categories for each node.

Notes about the Data

  • The number of students are estimates from the percentages published by the Maryland Longitdinal Data System Center. I have not fully checked my calculations, this is primarily for me to learn how to create the diagrams using the software. I am also attempting to learn which types of data visulizations I find useful and worth pursuing. I also am trying to better understand the data.
  • Due to rounding in the data source the numbers do not add up to the correct totals. This is just for a general idea of the data, not for specifics.
  • Some notes adapted from those provided by the Maryland Longitudinal Data System Center, all errors are my own.
  • The number number of years following high school graduation impacts the initial postsecondary enrollment numbers. Graduates who enrolled in Private Career Schools or Continuing Education and Training Certificate sequences are not included.
  • This dashboard uses “initial enrollment,” which counts only the first enrollment of a student after graduation. For example, a student graduates high school, enrolls in a summer community college course, and then enrolls in an out-of-state college in the fall. The initial enrollment count for that student is one in-state enrollment. Other methods of counting enrollment may count that student as one in-state and one out-of-state enrollment. Accordingly, when reviewing, and especially when comparing post-secondary enrollment reports, it is important to understand how the enrollments are being counted.
  • The number of high school graduates reported on this dashboard includes: (a) only the counts of 12th grade graduates; and (b) eliminates any duplicate graduation recordsSome numbers are rounded or estimated due to data suppresssion. For general illistrative purposes only.

College of Initial Enrollment

During the 2013-2014 academic year approximately 58,300 students graduated from a Maryland public high school. Of those graduates, approximately 39,900 students had enrolled in college by the following year. The data set captures the higher education segment (community college, public four-year, State-aid independent institution, or out-of-state institution) that a graduate initially enrolls.

As shown in the Sankey diagram, high school graduates enrolled initially as follows: 30% at community college; 17% at a public four-year institution; 3% at a State-aided independent institution; and 19% at an out-of-state institution. An additional 32% of high school graduates did not (yet) enroll in a postsecondary education captured in this dataset.

This data set only captures the college of initial enrollment. For example, if a student enrolls in a community college for a summer class and then enrolls in a public four-year institution in the fall, the student will be recorded as enrolling in community college.

I wonder how the college of initial enrollment for public high school graduates compares to the total enrollment of the various sectors.

Click here if you can not see the diagram.

Source: Maryland Longitudinal Data System Center, Maryland Public High School Graduates with Initial Postsecondary Enrollments, 2013-2014 data

Notes about the Data

  • Some notes adapted from those provided by the Maryland Longitudinal Data System Center, all errors are my own.
  • Due to rounding the numbers do not add up correctly, so this is just for proof of concept if I had the actual numbers.
  • The number number of years following high school graduation impacts the initial postsecondary enrollment numbers.
  • Graduates who enrolled in Private Career Schools or Continuing Education and Training Certificate sequences are not included.
  • This dashboard uses “initial enrollment,” which counts only the first enrollment of a student after graduation. For example, a student graduates high school, enrolls in a summer community college course, and then enrolls in an out-of-state college in the fall. The initial enrollment count for that student is one in-state enrollment. Other methods of counting enrollment may count that student as one in-state and one out-of-state enrollment. Accordingly, when reviewing, and especially when comparing post-secondary enrollment reports, it is important to understand how the enrollments are being counted.
  • The number of high school graduates reported on this dashboard includes: (a) only the counts of 12th grade graduates; and (b) eliminates any duplicate graduation records
  • Some numbers are rounded or estimated due to data suppresssion. For general illistrative purposes only.

Refining the Pipeline

I spent yesterday trying to figure out how to create a divergent stacked bar chart in amcharts that would display properly on my website, which is based in WordPress. I was unsuccessful. I will need to continue reading through the documentation which is written for people who actually know how to code. Since I got frustrated with my original project, I decided to return to the immediate college enrollees pipeline again to refine it as I learn more about how amcharts operate.

This version of the Sankey diagram is a bit more readable. I was able to wrap the label text and add more space on the right-hand side. I also added code that will allow the data or the image to be downloaded, which I think is a cool feature. I am still having a bit of an issue getting the amcharts diagrams to display as part of the blog, but they work when looking at an individual post. I also added int the percentage numbers, each of which had to be separately added. I have read in the documentation that it is possible to load data into an amcharts from an external source, such as a spreadsheet, but I have not yet figured it out.

As with other versions of this diagram, the biggest weakness is that it does not capture transfer students.

Immediate College Enrollees Pipeline

Overall 65% of students that enrolled in college directly after high school graduation graduated college, from the same sector, by age 25. An additional 3% of students were still enrolled in college (in the same sector). Looked at another way only 31% of high school graduates graduated from college from the same sector that they enrolled in.

Click here if you can not see the diagram.

Source: Maryland Longitudinal Data System, Maryland Public School Pathways 2011

Notes about the Data

  • These notes are adapted from the notes provided by the Maryland Longitudinal Data System. Any errors are my own.
  • To be counted as a community college graduate, the student must have enrolled in any community college and graduated from any community college. Students who start at a community college but graduate from a college in another sector are not counted as graduates. Students who start in another sector but graduate from a community college are also excluded. To be counted as persisting (still in college), the student must have NOT graduated from any community college and be enrolled in any community college in Fall 2019. Some students who enrolled in community college transferred from the college and are enrolled in another four-year public, state-aided independent, or out-of-state institutions. Those students are not reported here.
  • To be counted as a public-four year college graduate, the student must have enrolled in any four-year public and graduated from any four-year public. Students who start at a four-year public but graduate from a college in another sector are not counted as graduates. Students who start in another sector but graduate from a four-year public are also excluded. To be counted as persisting (still in college), the student must have NOT graduated from any four-year public and be enrolled in any four-year public in Fall 2019. Some students who enrolled in a four-year public transferred from the college and are enrolled in another community college, state-aided independent institutions, or out-of-state institutions. Those students are not reported here.
  • To be counted as a State-aided indepented college graduate, the student must have enrolled in any state-aided independent institutions and graduated from any state-aided independent institution. Students who start at a state-aided institution but graduate from a college in another sector are not counted as graduates. Students who start in another sector but graduate from a state-aided independent institution are also excluded. To be counted as persisting (still in college), the student must have NOT graduated from any state-aided independent institutions and be enrolled in any state-aided independent institutions in Fall 2019. Some students when enrolled in a state-aided independent institutions transferred from the college and are enrolled in another community college, public, or out-of-state institutions. Those students are not reported here.
  • The out-of-state table above evaluates within sector college graduation independent of college of enrollment. To be counted as a college graduate, the student must have enrolled in out-of-state institutions of any type and graduated from an out-of-state institution of any type. Students who start at an out-of-state institution but graduate from a college in Maryland are not counted as graduates. Students who start at a college in Maryland but graduate from an out-of-state institution are also excluded. Out-of-state institutions may be community colleges, public four-year, or other types of private institutions.

Context

I have been reading through the Maryland Higher Education Commission’s Annual Data Book 2021. I am interested to see if I can learn any new insights by exploring different visualizations of the data. I am also teaching myself how to use data visualization/graphing software. Today I am taking a look at SAT scores statistics published in the databook as well as additional SAT scores published by the Maryland State Department of Education. The populations for all of these datasets are slightly different.

SAT Scores of Entering for High School Seniors 2020

According to the databook, the mean combined evidence-based reading and writing score and math for Maryland high school seniors in 2020 was 1029, slightly less than the nationwide mean of 1051. I have read in the past this is because a higher percentage of students in Maryland take the SAT than nationally, but I will have to find a citation that is true.

SAT Scores By COunty

On the Maryland Report Card, the Maryland State Department of Education publishes data about students. As part of the "college readiness data", average SAT scores are published. In addition to an average for all students from the local school system, the scores are disaggregated by a number of subpopulations including by low-income students, that is those eligible for free or reduced price meals. Low-income students scored lower on the SAT than all students in every county. However, the average scores were nearly identical for students from Dorchester County. At the SEED school, where almost all students are low-income, low-income students scored higher than all students.

There is a large range of scores between counties and between low-income students and all students in most counties. Howard County has the highest average score for all students and the second-highest average score., after Carroll County, for low-income students. In fact, low-income students from Carroll and Howard counties had a higher average score than the average score for all students from 14 counties, Baltimore City, and the SEED school.

I plan to examine the data for more subpopulations in the future. Including the best way to visualize the data.

SAT SCores of Entering Freshmen

The MHEC databook publishes the average, 25th percentile, and 75th percentile SAT scores of entering freshmen at the public four-year institutions. Institutions submit aggregated data on average SAT scores for all incoming freshmen. Some institutions do not require SAT scores for admission. Institutional score ranges are based upon those scores that were used as a basis for admitting students to the institution.

This chart shows the SAT scores of entering freshmen for the University of Maryland, College Park from the 25th to the 75th percentile