Posts published on April 29, 2009

Be Careful What You Wish For In Linking K-12 to Postsecondary Education

I presented my standard speech on the need to align k-12 curriculum more closely with the  academic standards needed by colleges. This speech emphasizes the need to provide  financial incentives to colleges to enhance completion of degrees and certificates. These fiscal incentives will help stimulate colleges to work with k-12 to increase preparation for college. The Gates foundation and Obama administration are considering these fiscal incentives for college student persistence and completion -such as paying more for students who stay in college beyond their first year , and bonuses for degree completion.

But one of the questions I got after my speech continues to concern me. What if colleges lower their academic standards closer to the high school level in order to collect the bonuses? In effect, colleges become more like high schools. College administrators will figure out how to beat the fiscal incentive system by not changing much except their standards for completion. This seems to be a real danger , and someting the new college completion designs need to solve.

 Ohio is typical of curent state formulas and pays schools for enromment after the 14 th day of the start of a new academic semester. Ohio legislature will be voting on whether to pay for the number of individual courses that students successfully complete. Course completion expectations would be adjusted for the institutions number of at risk students.