Teaching qualifications

Stanford joins group offering classes to underprivileged high school students

Stanford University has joined a group of about a dozen highly selective colleges and universities that offer digitally-taught college courses with the goal of targeting academically gifted high school students in economically disadvantaged communities.

This fall, Stanford began offering a computer science class in which students watch pre-recorded lectures by a Stanford professor and then meet face-to-face with alumni in the field who act as teaching assistants. The class, which is part of the National Education Equity Lab, a non-profit organization that offers classes to underprivileged high school students for college credit, enrolled 225 students from across the country.

The country’s highly selective universities have continued a series of efforts to increase the number of low-income, first-generation students. Efforts have been to work with college preparation programs and low-income high schools across the country.

The National Education Equity Lab has recruited schools such as Princeton University, Howard University, and Cornell University to offer free classes.

Matthew Rascoff, vice-provost of Stanford Digital Education, a new initiative that oversees the effort among others, cited research by Stanford economist Caroline Hoxby and others which found that more than half of the potential candidates the most qualified and the most talented from disadvantaged families never apply. a competitive college.

The Education Equity Lab targets minority students and schools where at least 40% of students come from low-income families. The aim is to combat under-matching, a term used in college admissions to describe well-qualified disadvantaged students who choose less demanding institutions or decide not to attend college at all. According to the Education Trust, a nonprofit that advocates for equity and success in schools, 49% of black students and 41% of Latino students do not attend the more selective colleges their qualifications suggest.

“It’s a way to advance the academic skills, college readiness and self-confidence of academics who have told us they don’t think they are worthy of selective institutions,” Leslie said. Cornfeld, Founder and CEO of Education Equity Lab.

A successful course at a sought-after college can eradicate impostor syndrome that makes some students doubt their potential and also helps institutions identify and attract well-qualified candidates, Cornfeld said. None of the institutions offer admission benefits specifically to students in the program, but some have contacted professors about participants who applied to their schools, she said.

Janet Perez said her experience with the Stanford computer science course gave her the confidence to consider a career in the field.


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Janet Perez

Janet Perez, a grade 11 student at All City Leadership Secondary School in Brooklyn, NY, said her performance in Stanford’s computer class gave her the confidence to consider pursuing a career in the field. Initially, she considered pre-law as her specialty, but now she is looking for a school that offers strong pre-law and computer science programs.

“This experience made me turn more to competitive colleges,” she said, “because I feel like now I know I can take this course, and I can complete it and get a good score. “

She said she has now added the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to her list.

“Stanford alumni talk to kids about their careers and what they’re doing,” said Michael Quinones, assistant director of All City Leadership, which oversees the course. “It’s not just the professor talking to them about computers.

Even if students who take the course don’t end up going to Stanford, the course could inspire them to seek another selective college, Mr Rascoff said.

“This is the sort of thing that wealthy children discover during college visits and tours, learning about their interests and the strengths of different institutions,” Rascoff said. “Low-income students tend not to take advantage of these opportunities. “

About 8,000 students have enrolled in the program since 2019, and Ms Cornfeld said she intended to increase to 10,000 by the end of 2022.

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Write to Lee Hawkins at [email protected]

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