Elite private schools hope to end traditional high school transcripts
- A movement from about 100 elite private high schools throughout the country wants to make high school transcripts and grades a thing of the past when high schools record a student’s educational career. They also hope to cause a sea change in how colleges measure applicants, Inside Higher Ed reports.
- The group of supporters, called the Mastery Transcript Consortium, hope that by focusing on well-performing and well-renowned high schools, colleges would be forced to consider an alternative evaluation process lest they lose the applicant pool coming from those high schools.
- The new transcripts would not include any courses or grades, but would measure students by levels of proficiency and offer different “levels of mastery.” These alternative transcripts could be supplemented by examples of work the student has done, such as lab reports or essays.
The Mastery Transcript Consortium’s ambitions mirror other districts wary that a typical transcript or report card may give an incomplete understanding of a student’s progress and potential, but colleges and these high schools should be cautious when scaling the project beyond its current stage. There is a tremendous benefit to a competency-based transcript, but it could be difficult to present uniform mastery of concepts and competencies needed to make reasonable admissions decisions. Not only that, but the elite private high schools described in the report have the benefit of resources and prestige that public high schools may lack. Higher ed institutions may be willing to accept alternative credentialing from such a school, while being judgmental for a less renowned school that offered the same approach.
For the program to work, higher ed institutions must be all in for all high schools, or there is the possibility, however inadvertently, that such a program exacerbates gaps in acceptance and enrollment for low-income students, particularly in selective colleges and universities. One solution offered by a member of the consortium is that a private school could “certify” a public school’s “mastery transcript,” but such integration and partnership will take time to develop.