The High School Readiness Report

By: Matt S. Giani, Amy Lippa, and Shruti Khandekar
reading time icon3-20 min

UPDATE, October 2019: The 2019-2020 High School Readiness Survey is now open! By participating, you'll be able to assess the effectiveness of your middle school college and career instruction. With data from the study, you can better align future instruction with students’ most critical needs. To participate, you will administer a pre and postsurvey to your students. The presurvey is open now through October 31st -- find details here!


The High School Readiness Report presents benchmark data from Texas OnCourse regarding middle school students’ knowledge and awareness about endorsements and graduation planning. In general, the findings from this report suggest that students lack knowledge on these topics. Texas OnCourse seeks to bridge this gap.

The research presented in this report was conducted between 2016 and early 2018, before the complete portfolio of Texas OnCourse middle school resources was available to all Texas districts.

The report is based on three sets of research:

  • A high school readiness survey distributed to over 3,700 middle school students between November 2017 and March 2018.
  • A counselor and adviser survey distributed to over 1,500 counselors and administrators in 2016.
  • Field visits to a geographically representative group of middle schools.

In conducting this research, we sought to answer the following questions:

  • What are middle school students’ aspirations and beliefs about their future educational and career paths?
  • How familiar are Texas educators and students with HB 5 pathways?
  • What organizational approaches do districts use to address policy requirements of HB 18 at the middle school level?
  • What instructional approaches do middle schools use for career exploration? How do they familiarize students with career pathways? Who delivers this type of instruction in middle schools?

Our data analysis resulted in the following findings:

  • Students have high postsecondary aspirations, but many have lower expectations even before they enter high school.
  • Students and educators are not as familiar with the requirements of HB 5 as they need to be.
  • Students’ endorsement preferences appear to be misaligned with the endorsements they are actually pursuing.
  • District leadership plays a critical role in preparing middle school students for high school.

Texas OnCourse is committed to using the findings of this study to optimize the services we provide to our community. Our goal remains to equip middle and high school students for postgraduation success as Texas’ definitive resource for college and career preparedness.

Click to view the comprehensive High School Readiness Report as a PDF.