Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

The Missing Link:College Aspirations & the Common Core

July 28th, 2014

By Watson Scott Swail , Ed.D. President and CEO, Educational Policy Institute

In 1988, approximately 27,000 8th-grade students took both a survey and test for the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a division of the US Department of Education. For some of us, 1988 doesn’t seem that long ago, but in educational research, it is an eternity. However, this study has stood the test of time and remains significant even after all these years. While the first cohort of the National Education Longitudinal Study (NELS:88) was originally surveyed in 1988, follow-up surveys were conducted in 1990, 1992, and 2000, providing a longitudinal prospective of life for our youth. There are more recent studies, but this is the one I still hang my hat on.

With complete abbreviation and little attention to detail, what we learned from NELS:88 is that all 8th-grade students are not equal. This is not a surprise, but let’s look at some specifics.

The chart below shows postsecondary aspirations for a nationally randomized group of 8th  graders in 1988, as well as followup data with the same students four years (scheduled high school graduation) and six years later (two years beyond scheduled high school graduation).

Take a minute to check the data. Particularly, notice that in column 2, “Planned PSE,” that at least 94 percent of all eighth grade students, regardless of race/ethnicity, family income, and educational legacy, thought they would go to college. Put another way, 19 of 20 students thought, back when they were 13, that they were headed for college. Conversely, only 1 out of 20 did not think they would go to college.



Should Colleges Provide More Career Skills To Students?

July 24th, 2014
Career and Technical Development
Students paying extra for skills not learned on campus
More and more programs are being started to help students master career skills before starting their first jobs, most costing thousands of dollars on top of the already high price of their higher educations. Which, for some critics, raises the question: Why aren’t they learning this in college? (The Hechinger Report, July 8) via ECS.

Colleges Need To Enhance Support Of Common Core

July 23rd, 2014

Common Core Goes to College Higher Education Needs to Prepare for “College-Ready” Students

Washington, D.C. — Each year, hundreds of thousands of American students graduate from high school and enter college without being adequately prepared to succeed there. This is partly the result of misaligned high school standards and higher education expectations. There are real, sobering consequences: millions of students have fallen short of earning a college degree. The widespread adoption of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and assessments presents a new opportunity to bridge the gap between high school and higher education, according to a new report released today by New America.

In Common Core Goes to College: Building Better Connections Between High School and Higher Education,” New America’s Lindsey Tepe describes the current landscape of higher education policies and practices that prevent clear alignment between colleges and the Common Core. Her analysis of state and institution policies within higher education—including the admissions process, qualifying for financial aid, and retesting and course placement, developmental education and teacher preparation—reveals many detours for students navigating the path from high school to college.

The route is littered with multiple layers of student assessment, including high school assessments and exit exams but also college admissions exams such as the ACT and SAT and an assortment of course placement tests. Tepe’s report examines the history and use of these various assessments in higher education. She argues that states’ new college- and career-ready assessments should, at the very least, provide an additional avenue for students to meet minimum college eligibility requirements, qualify for state financial aid, and place into the assortment of first-year credit-bearing coursework offered by institutions.

“If passing a state’s college- and career-ready assessment does not indicate that a student meets the state’s minimum eligibility requirements for higher education, it will undermine the standards as a true proxy for college readiness,” Tepe said Tuesday. “Further, we should streamline our confusing financial aid process by aligning state financial aid qualifications with state high school assessments.”

Tepe argues that the Common Core standards should guide and shape instruction within higher education, notably in the areas of developmental education and teacher preparation. “If students are going to continue taking what amount to high school courses in college, these remedial courses should be informed by states’ college- and career-ready standards.” Further, Tepe noted, “teachers will be much better prepared to implement the Common Core standards if colleges and universities actually prepare them to do so.”

“The path from high school to college is fraught with detours and pitfalls. States that have made a commitment to preparing all students for college success will be unable to uphold that ideal without addressing the complicated, piecemeal higher ed policies and practices which have been put into place over the past century.”

Read the full report, “Common Core Goes to College” here.


How Innovation Can Improve Higher Education Pipeline

July 22nd, 2014

AEI Center on Higher Education Reform, June 2014
Andrew P. Kelly, KC Deane, and Taryn Hochleitner

Key points

  • Academically qualified students with college aspirations often fail to make the jump to college because they are blocked by either procedural hurdles or common cognitive biases associated with making major decisions. Many enroll in low-quality options and fail to graduate, and some do not enroll at all.
  • When these hurdles stop students who would benefit from higher education, both the students and society miss out on the benefits of increased human capital.
  • Cutting-edge research shows how innovative thinking can help qualified students navigate the pathway to postsecondary education without breaking the bank: a short video can increase college aspirations in high school students, FAFSA filing by a tax preparer can significantly boost college enrollment, and sending students personalized information about their college options can help them choose a goo
  • Read this publication online

    View a printable copy

Federal Loans Hard Sell To Community College Students

July 21st, 2014

Community college students continue to lack access to federal loans compared to their peers at four-year institutions, and those in certain states and non-urban areas are especially underserved, according to a report out Tuesday from The Institute for College Access and Success. Read More


14 Web Tools For College Students and Teachers To Use And Share

July 17th, 2014

14 Web Tools those students and teachers can use in studying process

Here is a list of thirteen high quality tools that can be used by teachers and by students. They can be used by teachers to teach, and students to revise. There is also some use to be had by having students share the product of their efforts with other members of the class.


This is a very well known tool that is used by students and teachers to create Infographics. These are definitely good things to use as revision aides, and a teacher may very easily create compact pieces of information that will introduce students to the ideas that are being taught in the class.

2. Poll Everywhere

This is a veteran tool but it has been updated so that it still works. It allows students and teachers to create quizzes and open ended questions. A student may use it to revise, and a teacher may use it to test students. It is very easy to use. There is another tool on this article that is similar to this tool, but this is the easier version. You can try both if you wish to figure out which one works the best for your needs.

3. Padlet

This is a virtual board that you are able to put notes onto. You can share your board, move things around and make your own displays. They are good for students to arrange their own revision boards and can be shared by teachers that want to show the students something in a compressed manner.

4. Essay Writing Blog

This is a blog that is jam packed with helpful advice that is going to make a student’s and teacher’s life easier. It gives advice on studying, advanced learning, essay writing and much more. It is a highly rated blog with a lot of visitors. It is highly thought of in student communities and is becoming more and more popular as the blog posts become more and more robust. There is also plenty in the archives for you to look at.

5. The Noun Project

This is a little more "out there." It is a tool that allows students and teachers to arrange icons in a way that helps revision or learning. Play with it a little while to see how it works.

6. WeVideo

This is a video editing tool that students and teachers can use to create educational and revision videos. Having students create learning videos is easy these days secure since most people have a video camera on their phone.

7. Ipiccy

This is a Photoshop program that is free and less complicated. It allows students and teachers to create fancy effects and make their presentations look really good. The output of the tool can be used to help with revision or make presentations for students.

8. Sign Generator

The students and teachers can create their own signs that they fill with information relevant to their studies. They can be used a little like flashcards.

9. BigHugeLabs

The students and teachers can make trading cards and posters that are easy to share. The gimmick is to have the students create trading cards and posters and then share them around so that the other students can learn from them too.

10. Thinglink

This is a tool that allows students and teachers to add content to images. It is a good way of making revision aides and teachers can use them to make diagrams for explaining concepts. For example, a teacher may label all the parts of a dissected flower on a picture and show it to the students.

11. Aurasma

This allows teachers to set things up so that a student may hold up his or her phone to an object and a prompt comes up on their phone. It is handy for teaching students the names of objects in another language.

12. InfuseLearning

This tool has a very simple interface, but allows students and teachers to create prompts, quizzes and multiple choice questions. It is an alternative to the tool listed elsewhere on this article. This tool has more options, but is more difficult to use than the other tool on this article.


This is a tool that allows students and teachers to visually represent information. If the student creates an Infographic with it, then the student is more likely to learn what he or she is adding. If the teacher creates the Infographic, then the students may see a quick guide to a concept that they may refer to whenever they like.

14. Delivr

This is a tool that teachers can use to trigger the interest of their mobile phone hungry class of students. They can start with a QR code treasure hunt.

Jessica Millis, experienced writer, editor and copywriter. She works as an educator (writing classes) for 2 years and always tries to use innovations in the study process.

Improving College Accreditation: Here Are Several Ways

July 16th, 2014

IMPROVING THE ACCREDITATION SYSTEM. In Part One of a series of upcoming EdCentral posts on accreditation reform, New America’s Ben Miller discusses three major critiques of accreditation and the potential for finding common ground to enact reform. Read more at EdCentral. And check out Parts Two, Three, and Four.

Minority Serving Institutions Vulnerable To Performance Funding

July 14th, 2014
Good Reads

Will Minority-Serving Institutions Take a Hit from Performance Funding?
More than half of all students of color enrolled in public institutions of higher education are attending Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs). This report addresses ways in which state-level decisions on use of performance funding can differentially impact MSIs. Recommendations: include MSI leaders in policy development, reconsider the utility of commonly used metrics, make sure metrics are responsive to input factors (like low-income minority students), address data capacity before implementing policy, and use performance funding policies to address racial and ethnic equity. (Southern Education Foundation) via ECS.

Is College Paper Writing A Real Problem For Students?

July 10th, 2014

            By Lesley Vos

 Do all educators understand real reasons why their students do not like writing college papers? Moreover, they often consider such assignments the worst nightmare of their college life. Why does it happen, and what can we do to change the situation and make our students love research and paper writing?

 When a student enters a university, they might be shocked by a number of tasks they are asked to accomplish now. Young people try to get new skills: communication with new people, remembering a large amount of information, new data and schedule organization, right decisions making, ability to stay focused, new rules of discipline, etc. You must agree, all these skills may cause emotional stress or even panic from a student; and when the time to write college papers comes, students become more sensitive and vulnerable at once.

What can be a reason your students start to consider college paper writing a real problem for them?


  • It’s difficult for them to choose a topic
  • They do not understand the topic you offer
  • They have so many other tasks to accomplish, and they are afraid of failing with deadlines
  • They do not have a good theoretical base on academic papers writing
  • It’s not easy for them to organize and express their thoughts
  • They can’t make a research on the topic given
  • They are bad with writing in general
  • They do not understand what you want from them exactly

When a student faces some of above mentioned problems, they start to look for a way out; and big chances are they will ask someone else to write their papers instead of trying to do it themselves. The problem is, your students become cheaters in such a way.

Why do they choose this way to deal with the problem of college paper writing?


  • It saves them much time
  • It guarantees them a well-structured and professionally written paper
  • It’s not very expensive for them to order such a paper

Usually, students do not understand all risks and dangers of ordering academic papers from others. First of all, you (being their educator) know your students’ writing style and knowledge, and it will not be a problem for you to expose them. Second, a student can never be sure that a person whom they ask to write their papers is a professional essay writer. Third, students hardly understand they may be expelled from the university if they are disclosed: paying for papers or using others’ work as your own are considered cheating, and colleges have a very strict policy concerning that. And even if this paper is written by a college professor (we all remember that case with Ed Dante, who confessed about doing custom essay writing for students), it does not mean it should (and will) be accepted without any problems.

Can you help your students anyhow?

We will not speak about lazy students who always procrastinate and do not even want to give it a try and write a paper themselves. They were, are, and will be perfect clients for those people who make money from college paper writing. But as it has been mentioned above, reasons of the problem with academic writing can be different; and sometimes it will be enough to help your students once to solve this problem forever.


  • Advise them some useful links for writing:

Admission essays – to get some samples on application letters and essay writing.

TED – to find some lectures and experts’ advice on different topics, including writing.

Pro College Paper Writing Advice – to get an experts’ help and a good theoretical base on writing.

The OWL – to get an access to more than 200 writing resources, to choose a proper writing style, to learn how to cite resources.

MIT Online Workshop – to get both theoretical and practical information on the niche of college paper writing.


  • Tell them where they can get a writing help for free

Doesn’t it sound weird, that students are still ready to use others’ works or pay other people for essay writing when they have so many free helpers? Thanks to the Internet, young people have more chances to access and use all necessary information provided online.

What can your students do to get it?

  • to be active users of social networks where they can find dozens of thematic groups
  • to join thematic communities where others are ready to help with college papers proofreading
  • to visit online libraries to find resources for writing papers
  • to ask fellow students to help with topics or research
  • to take part in discussions of different topics online


  • Let them know you are always ready to help them

Usually, students are afraid of asking their professors for help. Do not be so strict, and let them know you are open to discussions; assign some visiting hours when students can come to you and ask all questions they have concerning your assignments. They should feel you are here to teach and help them, not torture them with all your tasks.

Remember: you and your students perceive college paper writing differently. It’s like night and day; so, try to understand them and accept the fact your assignments may seem really difficult for your students to accomplish. Your task is to help them, guiding them through the darkness to enlightenment.

 By Lesley J. Vos, a private educator of French language and a passionate blogger who works on her first e-book at the moment.

College Faculty Involment Needed To Implement Common Core

July 9th, 2014


Successful implementation of the Common Core standards in our public schools will lead to a fundamental shift in how students in K-12 schools are taught and the depth of what they are expected to know. This is prompting conversations between college and university faculty and their K-12 counterparts. Those in higher education are recognizing their need to better understand the potentially large shifts in how this new generation of students will be prepared for college and what their expectations will be of the college classroom. Both K-12 and higher education faculty and leaders have a lot to learn from each other about the best practices to support a new generation of students to reach this higher bar. Ultimately, the promise of Common Core standards does not end with high school graduation. Read More