Posts published in February, 2011

Colorado Graduates More Students But They Also Need More College Remediation

More State High Schoolers Graduating, but Many Still Take Remedial Classes in College
Colorado high schools graduated more students on time in 2010 than the year before, according to state data that uses a new formula established by the U.S. Education Department. But a separate state report  shows that many graduates still are not prepared for college-level courses, and their remediation cost colleges $19 million in 2009-10, up from $13 million the year before.

Understanding The New Common Core Curriculum For College Readiness


Common Core initiative and The American Council on Education (ACE) and the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO), in partnership with Achieve and with support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, has released an issue brief (PDF) describing the the major lines of implementation work in which higher education must be engaged. Over 40 states have adopted the common core which features an aligned curriculum with college standards.

Oregon May Join Other States In Giving Universities Independence

A Senate education committee heard testimony on a bill to give Oregon public universities more independence. While business leaders support the measure, faculty and students raised concerns.  Senate Bill 242 would sever the university system from its status as a state agency, allowing it to operate free of legislative oversight. In exchange, the universities would be expected to meet performance goals. I assume Oregon universites could also set their tuition rates without state approval . This decision was given to Virginia Universities several years ago.


Why A Liberal Education Is Important

From AAC&U

  What Is a Liberal Education?
And Why Is It Important to My Future?

This brochure serves as an introduction to what a liberal education is—and why it is important to all college students. It is based on research findings from the LEAP initiative and was developed with input from leading employers, recent graduates, economists, and students. This brochure provides a contemporary definition of the term “liberal education,” the most important outcomes of college, and perspectives from recent graduates and employers. It also provides a set of questions designed to help students construct a purposeful pathway through college. Ideal for use in first-year and transfer student orientation, first-year seminars, academic advising, admissions, and career counseling.

Get your copy today.

Texas Considers Tracking In Community Colleges

Facing dwindling state dollars and more pressure to graduate students, Texas community colleges may begin steering students who test at the lowest skill levels toward shorter vocational programs or adult basic education before attempting college academics. Right now, most community colleges are enrolling those students in a gantlet of remedial classes they have little chance of surviving. (San Antonio Express-News, 01/21/11)

Student Loan Default Studies Need To Look At Student Background

New Department of Education data show that 25% of borrowers who attended for-profit colleges and entered repayment on their loans in 2008 had defaulted within three years. By comparison, 10.8% of those attending public institutions defaulted and 7.6% of those attending private institutions defaulted. At community colleges, 18% of borrowers defaulted on their loans within three years of leaving college in 2008. But for profit colleges claim that there students are more low income than those in other postsecondary sectors. Until we know the socio-economic background of students, it is difficult to conclude much from these raw numbers of defaults.

Report Shows Progress On College readiness Policies

Achieve’s sixth annual “Closing the Expectations Gap” report, released today, shows that in the six years since the National Governors Association and Achieve co-sponsored the National Education Summit on high schools, the goal of aligning the expectations for high school graduates with the demands of college and the workplace is the new norm across the United States.

“The biggest change we have seen since the Summit has been the broad acceptance by the general public, in addition to policymakers and business and education leaders, that all students should graduate from high school college- and career- ready,” said Mike Cohen, Achieve’s president. “While support for the college- and career-ready agenda is widespread, state progress adopting the policies of this agenda has remained mixed.”

Achieve conducts an annual policy survey that asks all 50 states and the District of Columbia whether they have adopted standards, graduation requirements, assessments and accountability systems aligned to the expectations of two- and four-year colleges and employers. The national survey of state education leaders has measured the same areas of reform each year since the 2005 Summit and this year’s survey reveals the following results:

  • Standards: Today, 47 states and the District of Columbia have developed and adopted high school academic standards in English and mathematics that are aligned with college- and career-ready expectations. Much of the progress in standards in 2010 was the result of widespread adoption – in 44 states and DC – of the K-12 Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in mathematics and English language arts.
  • Graduation Requirements: Today, 20 states and the District of Columbia require all students to complete a college- and career-ready curriculum to earn a high school diploma. Florida and Utah were the two states to raise their graduation requirements to the college- and career-ready level in 2010.
  • Assessments: Today, 14 states administer college- and career-ready high school assessments capable of producing a readiness score that postsecondary institutions use to make placement decisions. In 2010, only one new state – Delaware – adopted a policy to administer a college- and career-ready test to its high school students.
  • P-20 Data Systems: Today, 22 states have operational P-20 longitudinal data systems that link states’ student-level K–12 data with similar data from their postsecondary systems and are matching such data annually. The matching of student level records began for the first time in six states in 2010: Hawaii, Indiana, Kansas, New Mexico, New York and Virginia.

Accountability: While progress in this area has been slowest, 25 states have now incorporated at least one of four accountability indicators that Achieve has identified as critical to promoting college and career readiness. Only Texas meets Achieve’s criteria regarding the use of all indicators.

College For All Questioned In Harvard Report

From ECS:

The concentration on classroom-based academics with four-year college as a goal has failed vast numbers of students who need solid preparation for careers requiring less than a bachelor’s degree, concludes a Harvard University  report. The authors argue for an education system that articulates students’ career options as early as middle school and defines the coursework and training required

College Freshman Seem Overwhelmed In New Poll

From LA Times:

This year’s college freshmen report feeling higher levels of emotional and financial stress than their predecessors did, according to a national survey conducted by UCLA researchers.

The annual “American Freshman” report, released Thursday, showed that only about half of current first-year students, 51.9%, rated their emotional health above average or higher, down from 55.3% last year and the lowest since the question was first asked 25 years ago. Just 45.9% of women in the class described themselves as emotionally strong, compared with 59.1% of the men.

In addition, nearly two-thirds of this year’s freshmen, 62.1%, said the recession had affected their choice of college, and 73.4%, up from 70% last year, are depending on grants and scholarships to help them through. The young people, interviewed just before they started classes in the fall, also reported relatively high rates of parental unemployment.



“What it means is that going into college, students are already feeling more stress and feeling more overwhelmed and have lower emotional reserves to deal with that stress,” said John H. Pryor, lead author of the report and managing director of UCLA’s Higher Education Research Institute, which operates the survey.

First given in 1966, the annual survey is considered the nation’s most comprehensive assessment of college students’ attitudes. This year’s report was based on the responses of more than 201,000 incoming freshmen at 279 four-year colleges and universities around the country.

Pryor said he was struck this year by the gap between young men and young women in discussing whether they frequently felt overwhelmed by all they had to do at school, home and jobs as high school seniors. Nearly 39% of women said they were often overwhelmed, more than twice the share of the men. Overall, more than 29% said they had felt such stress, up 2 percentage points from the year before.

The gender gap, Pryor speculated, may be attributed to what young people do at home. “The guys are spending more time in stress-relieving activities, like watching TV and playing video games. The girls are more likely to be helping out with chores at home,” he said, citing responses to other questions in the survey.

But on the positive side, record high proportions of the freshmen said they expected to participate in clubs and community service in college and to receive good grades. A strong majority, 57.6%, said there was a “very good chance” they would be satisfied with their college experience, the highest share since 1982. Pryor said he found that optimism to be heartening.

The report also looks at political attitudes of students, finding that 46.4% describe themselves as middle-of-the-road, 30.2% liberal or far left and 23.5% conservative or far right. Researchers say that shows a modest shift from the liberal and left side of the spectrum to the middle, and may indicate a slight waning of the enthusiastic youth activism surrounding President Obama’s election in 2008.

In a new question this year, the survey found solid support among students for the legal right of gays and lesbians to adopt children, with 76.5% agreeing strongly or somewhat. That included a majority of freshmen who described themselves as conservative or far right politically.