Fifth in a series of who our students are and how they perform.
The role of every professor, in every classroom, guiding every student, is to challenge that student to a level at which he or she has never before been challenged. If a university does nothing else, this alone will mark it as successful.
Man's mind stretched by a new idea never goes back to its original dimensions.
-- Oliver Wendell Holmes
High-achieving students are infrequently thought of as an underserved group; but, from a number of perspectives, they are. Performance standards for all students migrate to the threshold level of expectation. As test scores and high school preparation slide, the preparedness of students for university study and general student ability impact the level of quality for which universities aim. Race and ethnicity, geographic location of origin and income level are all correlated with the likelihood of success at the university even for high-performing students. But one factor we can control is the level of expectation we have of our students.
For example, only 9% of the students at the most selective research universities are from the bottom half of the income ladder, while 74% of the high-performing students were from the highest quartile of the income spectrum, according to Carnevale and Rose in a study supported through The Century Foundation in 2003.