New Book: Remaking College: The Changing Ecology Of Higher Education

January 23rd, 2015

Check out this new analysis of USA higher education



Obama Higher Education Tax Proposals ; Views Of New America Foundation

January 22nd, 2015
President Obama’s AOTC Plan: The Good and the Bad

Given the current state of higher education tax benefits, the president’s proposed changes to the American Opportunity Tax Credit are necessary improvements, writes Stephen Burd. But the tax code is still not the best way to achieve higher education policy goals, writes Ben Miller.

5 Reasons Why College Students Should Start Their Own Blogs

January 21st, 2015

By  Melissa Burns

These days it seems that virtually everybody has a blog: some do it for fun, others to occupy free time, still others to make money. It, however, doesn’t seem to be a very popular pastime among students – while they have better reasons for blogging than many others. Why? Let’s find out.

1.      Blog Equals Portfolio

Before we start talking about fulfillment and finding like-minded people we would like to mention that students have a very down-to-earth and practical use for blogging – because a blog can easily be turned into a portfolio.

Depending on your future career, you may concentrate on different areas of creativity, but still – don’t waste an opportunity to post your articles, graphic designs, essays, photos, animations, 3D models – whatever you create. When the time comes for you to look for a job, you will include links to your blog and will easily show your potential employer that you have been working in the field for a long time, went a long way and are not going to stop. A negligible payment for web hosting is more than a reasonable price for such an opportunity.

2.      Blog Means Positive Digital Footprint

What does a potential employer do when he receives your resume (provided he doesn’t relocate it directly to the dustbin)? He Googles your name and checks the contexts in which it appears.

And it is up to you to, firstly, make it appear in search results, and secondly – appear in contexts pertaining to your field of activity. If your blog is a top result for your name, you’ve nailed it.

3.      Making Money

Frankly speaking, as a student you shouldn’t hope to considerably improve your financial situation by blogging. There are not that many people who earn a lot of money by blogging, and those who do don’t work on their blogs in their free time. Look at it this way: if your blog brings you some money, good. If it doesn’t – it shouldn’t be your goal. Your goal should be doing things you like.

4.      Build up Your Experience

In case you don’t dedicate your blog solely to posting the pictures of your cat, it is an excellent medium of accumulating knowledge and experience in your chosen field of activity. By making something public, you simultaneously test out your new ideas and methods, and comments left by visitors can give you an insight into the topic that is completely different from the way you are used to perceive it. By communicating with the people reading your blog you will be able to get acquainted with like-minded individuals or, on the contrary, learn how to debate and protect your point of view. Depending on the industry you are going to work in, it may prove to be an invaluable contribution to your expertise.

5.      Get in Touch with the Experts in Your Field

People who have already achieved something in your chosen field of work may seem to be high and unreachable, but we live in the age of the Internet, and the Internet largely eliminates the boundaries between people. You will be amazed how many successful people are ready to contact a humble blogger to say thank you for mentioning them in an article – which is an excellent way to start an acquaintance that may do you a world of good later on.

As you may see, starting your own blog has many more uses than to be a playground where you speak about your feelings and share cute pictures. It has many practical uses – and as a student you should not neglect them.

Melissa is a student of journalism. She is passionate about digital technologies and tries to implement them in the sphere of education.

Realistic Timelines And Capacity to Implement Common Core Needed

January 20th, 2015

The real test of Common Core is about to begin

Teachers need to be trained quickly


This spring, for the first time since its embrace of a new national road map for public school instruction, California’s students will take their first real Common Core tests.

Brace yourself. The results will be just a baseline, but they may not be pretty. That was the message last week from Michael Kirst, president of the state Board of Education, and he is smart to get out in front of that prospect.

Though Common Core is a major upgrade from the way students here have learned for a generation, surprises in other states have made it vulnerable to needless drama and politicization.

Aimed at better preparing kids for 21st-century college course work and career choices, the new standards push critical thinking and analysis over multiple choice and memorization. The idea is to teach kids to explain and defend their ideas, not just regurgitate answers to study-guide questions.

That’s a big deal. For decades, education advocates and employers have argued that American students need more rigorous training.

But more rigorous training means more rigorous testing. And in the couple of states that have tried so far to assess kids according to Common Core standards, scores have been sobering.

In New York, the number of “proficient” scores dropped by about 30 percentage points in 2013, its first year of testing. Meanwhile, in Kentucky, pass rates fell from about 80 percent to less than 50 percent.

There are asterisks next to those numbers: Neither state used the carefully developed, computerized test that California kids will be taking. Both rushed into high-stakes testing in a way that was much less deliberate and more fraught than the go-slow approach in California.

Neither had the exceptional unity of purpose that this state has fostered, from parents to teachers’ unions to lawmakers to university offices of admission. And the new and old testing methods are apples and oranges; comparing the results is like comparing 3D with a snapshot.

But few things alarm suburban parents like a scary report card, and that drop in numbers, however crude, shed a jarringly different light on schools, teachers and children in those states.

Common Core has been relatively uncontroversial so far here, largely because California, which adopted Common Core in 2010, has resisted efforts to rush it. But here as elsewhere, tea party conspiracy theorists mutter that it will be used for socialist indoctrination, and labor leaders warn that it will be a tool to bust teachers’ unions.

Neither is going to happen. And even the fears of “achievement shock” may turn out to be exaggerated; students here did take a practice test last year, just to test the equipment.

But Kirst, a political veteran, knows it can’t hurt to manage expectations. So he minced no words when he told The Sacramento Bee’s editorial boardthat when elementary, middle school and 11th-grade students take the new Smarter Balanced assessment later this year, “the initial results will be shocking.”

Message received. And now, forewarned should be forearmed.

We get that Common Core is a heavier lift in California than in nearly any state in the nation. More than 6.2 million children are being taught here by some 280,000 teachers in about 1,000 school districts. Two-thirds of those kids are poor, in the foster-care system or unable to speak English fluently.

So far, only about a third of our teachers have been trained in the new standards, with Common Core math teachers particularly hard to come by. Despite floods of state money – K-12 education soaks up about 40 percent of the state budget – California’s education spending per pupil ranks near the bottom.

So it won’t come as a surprise if it turns out this spring that we all have massive room for improvement. What will be a failure is if those scores don’t rise.

Hundreds of millions, if not billions, of state and foundation dollars have been made available to facilitate Common Core, and some great development programs are underway at UC Davis, Stanford and elsewhere. School districts should use that new money to get all teachers fully trained, and quickly.

The math teacher shortage should be addressed, too. Though the state cut some popular incentives during the worst of the recession, nothing in the law says that districts can’t offer math teachers more money.

And teachers who can’t or won’t rise to the new standards must be managed out; students have to come before adults.

Kirst estimates it will take five years before we will be able to fairly assess Common Core, but the test of our commitment to our kids begins now.

Ready, California? Start the clock.

Read more here:

Small Application Barriers Deter Students From Applying

January 19th, 2015

“Are Students Affected by Colleges’ Small Application Barriers?”

 Attending college is increasingly both costly and time consuming, and represents one of the largest investments people make in their lives, so one would expect students to engage in a thoughtful and deliberate college choice process. However, there is an increasingly large literature that shows students are not behaving optimally in the college application and enrollment processes. For example, Pallais (2013) shows that students rely on rules of thumb when applying to colleges that result in too few college applications, while Hoxby and Avery (2013) demonstrate that many high-achieving low-income students fail to apply to or enroll in the colleges that have higher graduation rates and would also likely be more affordable.

From :Policy Analysis For California Education


What Works In College Counseling

January 15th, 2015
New from ECS

College counseling in high schools
The latest issue of The Progress of Education Reform  explores current state approaches to college advising that may not provide the hoped-for gains in college-going, recent research on approaches correlated with increased postsecondary enrollment, including approaches with traditionally underrepresented students, and promising state approaches to triage counselors’ efforts with other means to provide college counseling.



Very Few Chicago High School Grads get 4 Year Degrees

January 14th, 2015

The Educational Attainment of Chicago Public Schools Students: A Focus on Four-Year College Degrees
High-potential students still aren’t being reached.
Robert Pondiscio for Fordham Foundation

5 Best Cheap Tablets For College Students

January 13th, 2015

By Jane Hurst

As a student, it is likely that you don’t have a lot of extra money to spend. But, that doesn’t mean that you can’t get a decent tablet at a price you can afford. You can even sell your old tablet at GadgetSalvation to upgrade to a new tablet. Not only can you get low prices, you will have the money from the sale of your old tablet to go towards the new one. Here are our top five picks for the cheapest tablets for college students.

Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2

Not only does Samsung make some of the best smartphones in the world, it is also a leader in Android tablets, such as the Galaxy Tab Pro 12.2, with a stylus and a huge selection of apps that it can be used with. If you want a tablet to take notes with, this is an excellent option. This tablet has a 12.2 inch screen, and it is so versatile that you won’t need to have any other computer. The only thing it doesn’t offer is an official version of Microsoft Office. You will need to use other office programs, and there are many to choose from. There is even a version of this tablet that you can use to get on Verizon’s 4G LTE network, and others that use regular Wi-Fi.

Microsoft Surface Pro 3

This is the flagship device for operating Windows 8.1. With a 12-inch screen, you have the visual display of a laptop, without the weight. It also has a stylus that you can use with many applications, including OneNote. If you prefer to type, there is also an external keyboard. This is a bit on the higher end of most budgets at $799, but it is going to give you all of the power you need with its Intel Core i3 processor with 64GB of storage space. You can get other models with i5 and i7 chips that offer more storage, but these are more expensive.

iPad Mini2

If you are looking for something that has the functions you need, but is at a much lower price, check out the iPad Mini2, priced at $399. This tablet has retina display, so even though it is small, you are not going to have sore eyes and headaches from using it. It offers oleophobic coating, making it resistant to fingerprints, so the viewing area is always clean and clear. If you want a tablet that is smaller and more convenient to carry from class to class, and that isn’t going to break your budget, this is a great option.

Acer Iconia

The 128 GB Acer Iconia can be purchased for as little as $700. While this may not sound cheap, when compared to others that can cost upwards of $1,000, it is a pretty good deal after all. This has a large display screen, a 12 MP rear camera, optimized Dolby home theatre v4 audio enhancement, and you get nine hours of battery life, so you can use it to take notes all day long, and still have battery time left.

Samsung Galaxy Tab

An even better low budget option is the Samsung Galaxy Tab, particularly the Galaxy Tab 4. While it is smaller in size, you get around $300 worth of free apps and other fun stuff, including three free months of SiriusXM Internet Radio, free audio books, 50 GB of Dropbox space, and even a $10 Google Play credit. You get all of this, and more, for $170 or less. The display is nice and clear, and there is 8 GB of flash memory. It is thin and lightweight, and you can easily use for multi-tasking.


Jane Hurst has been working in education for over 5 years as a teacher. She loves sharing her knowledge with students, is fascinated about edtech and loves reading, a lot.


Procrastination And How College Students Can Beat it

January 12th, 2015

By Melissa Burns

Procrastination is a fact of life – all people suffer from it to this or that extent. It only so happens that students are among those most often associated with putting things off. Which is understandable – after all, at school and especially at college you have to perform a lot of time-oriented tasks, and for the first time in your life are given enough freedom to decide for yourself when and how you are going to do them. In other words, procrastination is a natural result of this situation; but students must fight it if they hope to achieve any success.

Nature of Procrastination

Procrastination is a complex psychological phenomenon that can hardly be summarized in two words. If one to understand how it works, one has to understand what causes it.

The mechanism of procrastination usually works as follows: you are unwilling to deal with a task or activity. Instead of setting a time to do it and following through with your plan, you either put it off until the last possible moment or start early but waste most of the time getting distracted.

The problem has more to do with habit than to time management – those suffering from procrastination have a very good idea of what they have to do and which tasks should have priority – but cannot help but put them off and find excuses to divert attention to other things. The degree of procrastination experienced by a student may differ from case to case – some simply are not as productive as they can be, while others are literally paralyzed by this condition, putting the simplest things off for days, weeks or months.

So How Can One Beat Procrastination?

Procrastination is a complicated issue, and its reasons may be completely different from case to case. Sometimes it is rooted in perfectionism – you have extremely high standards for your work, always have to redo everything multiple times before it satisfies you, get frustrated and are afraid to enter this cycle again. It may be low self-esteem – you don’t believe in your ability to do the task, and if you are unable to do it anyway, why bother starting it now? It may be something else entirely – procrastination is as varied as people suffering from it are. That is why methods of dealing with it are very different – if one doesn’t suit you, it doesn’t mean you cannot successfully use another one.

Cut the Task into Smaller Segments

Most often, we procrastinate because the task seems too difficult and overwhelming. It is so big you don’t know where to start. Well, to deal with it, change its nature: break it up into multiple manageable tasks, preferably – the ones you can do in one go.

Don’t Think. Just Do

The task looks unmanageable. It will take too much time; you’d better put it off until you can dedicate a whole day to it.

Don’t do it. Start right now. If the task is really big it may take dozens if not hundreds of hours to complete – and you will never have that much time to spend on it in one sitting.


If you’ve been putting the assignment off for so long that now you know for sure there isn’t enough time for you to complete it on time, seek help from an online writing service – they can be real life-savers in a pinch.

Kill Interruptions and Distractions

According to MagicDust, the best way of dealing with procrastination is eliminating the very possibility of getting distracted from work. Set a fixed amount of time every day that you will spend on work and nothing but work. Allow no distractions. Turn off your cellphone, Skype, Viber or whatever means of communication you favor. Don’t check e-mail, don’t watch TV, don’t go out for a cup of coffee or a snack, don’t chat with your roommate. Remember – after getting distracted you will spend from 10 minutes to half an hour to get into gear again, so don’t allow this to happen.

If you are unsure about your willpower, start small – set aside half an hour to fully dedicate to work, and gradually increase this amount.

One Thing at a Time

If you have a lot of work, ask yourself: what task is the most important one? If I do nothing but this today, will I be satisfied with the results of my day? If the answer is yes – start doing it and stop worrying about all other things you are not doing right now.

Create Artificial Motivation

The results from achieving the task may be remote and abstract – in other words, not enough to motivate you to do it right now. So what? Create artificial motivation, treat yourself. Set a reward you will give yourself after completing the task or its especially obnoxious part.

Remember – procrastination is not only counter-productive, it is deadly. By putting things off, you don’t really benefit from getting more free time. You live under constant shadow of undone work. Life that can be spent happily and productively is wasted in frustration and worry.

Don’t let this happen.

Melissa is a student of journalism. She is passionate about digital technologies and tries to implement them in the sphere of education. – See more at: – See more at:

How One Selective College Works

January 9th, 2015
Title: How College Works
Author(s): Daniel F. Chambliss & Christopher G. Takacs  for Teachers College Record
Publisher: Harvard University Press, Cambridge
ISBN: 0674049020, Pages: 224, Year: 2014
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How College Works reports on the methods and findings of an ambitious and elaborate 15-year ethnographic study of Hamilton College by the authors, long-standing faculty at that prestigious institution. Their project began in 1999 at the behest of then-President Eugene Tobin and the Dean of Faculty, David Paris; for the past ten years, funding has been provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Their study was intended to investigate what constitutes a good undergraduate education, and to use that information to recommend interventions to facilitate that outcome. The authors begin their story by posing questions that resonate with many in higher education: “In an era of fixed or even shrinking resources, can the quality of collegiate education be improved at no additional cost? Can students get more out of college without spending more money?” (p. 1) They argue yes and assert, “We believe there are methods—simultaneously reliable, powerful, available, and cheap—for improving what students gain from college.” (p. 1). The authors confidently argue that stakeholders—from senior executives to middle managers, and to some extent faculty, students, and their parents—can receive high dividends with a basic understanding of how college works.

The book itself is organized into eight chapters, first describing the origins of the study, its methods and ongoing development, and then the findings and their implications. The prose is narrative and non-technical, and weaves a number of illustrative stories about students and their navigation of the collegiate environment. The book includes many excerpts and examples—from an impressive 394 interview participants—spanning a variety of needs and viewpoints. Mundane tasks such as registration, studying, and other aspects of daily life at university are elaborated through their connection to broader policy decisions such as course sizes and scheduling. The authors demonstrate how decisions made by academic leaders affect students and faculty, illustrating a systemic review of the phenomena of institutional life.

I had two distinct and competing reactions to the book: a very positive and a very negative one. First, the sheer ambition and successful shepherding of such a long, complex, mixed-method, and creative ethnographic research program is to be lauded. The authors rightly note that this is a deep study of one prestigious and well-resourced institution. The students who attend Hamilton College are known to be intellectually and personally accomplished; they are also generally quite economically and experientially privileged. Chambliss and Takacs recognize that findings might be more applicable for other selective, residential liberal arts colleges than other types of institutions. There are no criticisms being given about this here: the College is described candidly, and readers can decide for themselves whether something that works at Hamilton might work at their own institution.