The Medical Metaphor – Eating Right and Exercising

There is a difference between the absence of disease and being healthy.  I don’t have the flu.  I am enjoying a beautiful fall morning in the American Northwest, with a cup of coffee at my side and a dazzling sunrise out my window.    I don’t have a temperature, a cough, soar throat, nor do I have nausea or diarrhea.  I am, however, eating a second cinnamon bun from a pan of buns my wife made yesterday.  I have no intention of excising.  And, I’ll probably spend most of my day sitting down.  Either reading a book, watching television, or sitting at my computer.

There is a big difference between not being sick, and engaging in healthy behaviors.  The same is true for students and graduation.

The early warning indicators (EWIs) that this site is dedicated to are symptoms of disease.  They warn us when a student is in danger of dropping out.  They do not tell us that a student is doing everything they need to do to graduate and then go on to success in their post-secondary life.  A reverse of the EWIs are needed.  We need indicators of College and Career Readiness (CCRs).  It is lucky that these CCRs can be found on the opposite end of the spectrum for each EWI.

Let me explain:

  • Attendance: To have an EWI you need to miss more than 1 day in 10 (less than 90% attendance).  To be CCR you need to show up 19 out of 20 days (greater than 95% attendance).
  • Behavior: To have an EWI you need to be suspended at least once.  To be CCR you should never get suspended.
  • Course Performance: An F in math/ELA or an overall GPA of less than 1.0 will get you and EWI.  To be CCR you need As and Bs in math/ELA and an overall GPA of 3.0 or better.

These CCRs are the academic equivalent of eating right and exercising.

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