This NCAA Bracket Rewards the Best In Bridging the Achievement Gap
There’s something thrillingly simple about a March Madness bracket, so much so that even non-sports fans willingly chip in a few bucks at the office every year to play. The genius is the matter-of-fact construction: One will lose, one will progress.
Though brackets have been used to determine everything from the best pizza toppings to hottest leading man, this year a new bracket has emerged. Terrell Halaska, a founding partner of HCM Strategists, a mission-driven public policy firm, created the “Equity and Student Success Index Score” to judge which NCAA tournament schools are bridging the achievement gap best.
Instead of rating hoops skills, HCM Strategists, a firm dedicated to advocating for policies that support higher education reform, rated schools by how well they serve students. Additional weight was given to how traditionally underserved and underrepresented backgrounds are supported and encouraged, Haskell in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
So how did they pick a winner?
They used four criteria:
Access Gap: The difference (by percentage) between minority student enrollment and non-minority student enrollment.
Low-Income Students Served: The proportion of students who are Pell Grant recipients.
Graduation Gap: The difference (by percentage) in graduation rates between minority students and non-minority students.
Graduation Rate: The overall graduation rate for all students.
And? Who came out the winner? Spoiler alert: The national champion is Georgia State University.