Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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


Ohio Uses New Performance Funding For Community Colleges

July 7th, 2014

Ohio’s new funding model starts for community colleges

State funding for Ohio’s community college soon will be tied to student achievement. Funding used to be based on enrollment, but it’s now based on milestones such as when a student completes a course or earns a degree. (Ohio State Impact, July 2)


College Ready Assessments Should Include Writing

July 7th, 2014
Commentary by Achieve President Michael Cohen
 Is The Nation’s Report Card “College and Career Ready”?

After nearly a decade of research, the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB) released in May the first outcomes of its efforts to use the results of the 2013 12th grade National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) to report on the academic preparedness of U.S. 12th graders for college. It found that only 38% of 12th graders meet its preparedness benchmark in reading, and 39% meet its preparedness benchmark in math. NAGB’s efforts to track college readiness in the United States is uniquely important as it has the only assessment program that reports on the academic performance of a representative national sample of high school students.

That said, the group that issues the Nation’s Report Card deserves a grade of “Incomplete” for its work. Reading and math are obviously necessary indicators of academic preparation for college and careers after high school, but higher education and employers say it’s not enough. When it comes to the ability to complete college level work (and to being career ready), writing skills are essential. Yet, despite the fact that NAGB also administers a 12th grade writing test, it inexplicably chose not to include writing as an indicator of readiness.

If NAEP wants to remain the “gold standard” for assessment, NAGB must remedy this situation quickly. Postsecondary institutions and systems throughout the nation assess writing in order to determine whether students have the academic skills to succeed in first year courses. According to ACT, approximately one third of ACT test takers do not meet its readiness standard for English Composition. Recent data from Florida indicates that 32% of first year students are placed into developmental writing courses. Using preparedness indicators that do not include writing will not only provide incomplete information to the public but will send the wrong signal about the importance of writing for high school graduates. And states that assess writing need an independent external benchmark they can rely on, which NAEP has always provided with their reading and math assessments.

Unfortunately, the current NAEP 12th grade writing assessment, starting with the Writing Framework that guides the development of test items, will need substantial revisions to be a valid indicator of academic preparedness. One of the most important advances made through the development of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) English Language Arts/Literacy standards is the understanding that preparation for both postsecondary education and careers requires the ability to read texts of appropriate complexity and mobilize evidence from the text to make a clear and logical written argument. Achieve’s earlier research with states on college and career readiness for the American Diploma Project provides a strong foundation for expecting high school students to be able to write coherent arguments supported by evidence from credible sources. The CCSS are quite explicit on this issue, building the idea of “writing to sources” into the grade-by-grade progression of the writing standards. Focus groups of postsecondary faculty conducted by the PARCC assessment consortium powerfully underscored the importance of these skills.

While NAGB does not need to align its assessments and their frameworks to the CCSS, it does need to pay careful attention to the evidence upon which they rest.

A review of the 2011 NAEP Framework and sample items makes clear that the assessment does not address the ability of students to draw on evidence to make persuasive arguments. In fact, the released 2011 12th grade items do not come close to assessing writing to sources.

One item asks students to write an essay describing how he/she uses technology. It includes a prompt that presents survey data on how students use computers, but doesn’t require use of or reference to the data in order to respond to the prompt.


12th Grade NAEP Writing Prompt 

Write an essay for a college admissions committee about one kind of information or communications technology you use. Describe what it is and explain why the technology is important to you. Develop your essay with details so the admissions committee can understand the value of this technology. You may use information from the presentation in your essay.  

Source: NAEP

NAGB’s web site shows several sample responses, including one that was rated Effective (the highest score), one rated Competent, and one rated Adequate. None of those highly ranked essays made any use of the survey data presented in the question. Those data were window dressing. In short, this item does not require students to read anything (except the question), nor to make an argument based on the evidence provided.

Another item asks 12th grade students to write a persuasive letter to the local council on whether or not to build a discount store in the area. It too is also of limited value for assessing preparedness in writing. It asks students to read a contrived “newspaper article” regarding plans to build a store in the community. First, the text is considerably less complex than what 12th graders should be able to handle and even less complex than what would be found in many newspaper stories.


12th Grade NAEP Writing Item 

The following article recently appeared in your local newspaper. Write a letter to the local council members arguing for or against the building of Big Discount in your area. Support your argument and defend it against the arguments the opposing side might make.

  Source: NAEP

And while students are expected to marshal evidence to support their positions, the sample responses include assertions about evidence and facts, but with no sources cited, and no useful evidence provided in the article students were asked to read. Students could simply make up evidence for their response. That’s not the type of preparation for college we should encourage.

If NAGB wants to make a significant contribution to the national conversation about college readiness, it will have to quickly step up its game. Both multi-state assessment consortia, PARCC and SBAC, have developed assessments that incorporate “writing to sources” into their high school assessment programs, and many states will begin to administer them next year.


PARCC 11th Grade Sample Writing TaskToday you will read a biography of Abigail Adams, and then you will read two examples of correspondence between Abigail and her husband, John Adams, who served as President of the United States from 1797 to 1801. As you read these texts, you will gather information and answer questions that will help you understand John and Abigail Adams’s relationship and opinions. When you are finished reading, you will write an analytical essay.

Question: Both John and Abigail Adams believed strongly in freedom and independence. However, their letters suggest that each of them understood these terms differently based on their experiences.

Write an essay that explains their contrasting views on the concepts of freedom and independence. In your essay, make a claim about the idea of freedom and independence and how John and Abigail Adams add to that understanding and/or how each illustrates a misunderstanding of freedom and independence. Support your response with textual evidence and inferences drawn from all three sources. 

Source: PARCC

Sending the right signal to the public and to state policymakers about the importance of assessing writing for college readiness is particularly important now as some states are contemplating buying off the shelf tests or creating their own.

In addition, if NAGB is serious about having a complete indicator of college readiness, they should revise the schedule for administering the 12th grade writing assessment. The last 12th grade writing assessment was given in 2011, and it is not scheduled to be administered again until 2017. Every six years simply isn’t enough.

In the decade it took NAGB to conduct its academic preparedness research, states moved rapidly to make college and career readiness the mission of their K-12 systems, and a national priority. Today, every state has adopted college- and career-ready standards in literacy and mathematics, either the CCSS or their own state standards. And, states are working to develop and administer tests that measure college ready skills – and are honored by postsecondary institutions – to high school students statewide. Twenty states have raised course-taking requirements for high school graduation, and many are working to incorporate indicators of college-readiness into their accountability and reporting systems.

In short, the states are way out in front on promoting and assessing college readiness. NAGB doesn’t have a moment to waste.


Remedial Education Measures Vary Widely Among States

July 3rd, 2014


New from ECS
Reporting on and measuring remedial education varies significantly across the states, according to a new ECS report. A companion report offers states a common  framework to more consistently report students’ remedial needs and progress. Read Inside Higher Ed’s article on the reports. (ECS, July 2)