Talent Loss Among High-Achieving Poor Students
WILL J. JORDAN STEPHEN B. PLANK Johns Hopkins University
Many high school graduates having the academic ability to continue their schooling do not pursue higher education. This phenomenon has been referred to as talent loss. The challenges involved in financing higher education partially contribute to talent loss and its pervasiveness among poor students, but they fall short of providing a complete explanation. This chapter explores other possible sources of talent loss. The authors use multiple methodologies to examine critical sources of talent loss among students who perform well academically, but are placed at risk of academic failure because they also are from low SES families. Drawing from national panel data as well as eight in-depth interviews with guidance counselors from an urban school district, the authors suggest that social capital, operationalized as the interactions and exchanges between students and significant adults in their schools and families, exposure to a high content curriculum, and the availability of school resources all play a part in determining postsecondaryi trajectories.
Many young adults who have the academic ability to continue their schooling beyond high school do not enroll in postsecondary educational institutions (PEIs). The term talent loss is often used to describe this phenomenon and there are complex reasons that it occurs ( Plank & Jordan,