Posts published in November, 2011

Online Enrollment Increases, But Faculty Views Stable

   According to a new US survey, more than 6.1 million students were enrolled in at least one online course during the fall 2010 semester, an increase of 10%, far exceeding the 2% growth in the overall PSE student population. Meanwhile, views on the quality of online education compared to face-to-face courses have shifted by just 10 percentage points over the last 8 years. In 2003, 57% of surveyed academic leaders estimated that learning outcomes in online courses were equal or superior to those of traditional courses; this year, the figure reached 67%. This year, 32% of respondents agreed that their faculty “fully accept” the “value and legitimacy of online education,” up slightly from 30.4% in 2003. Among for-profit institutions, respondents’ estimate of OER rose considerably, from 47.5% saying OER would prove valuable to their schools in 2009, to 72.4

Source: Babson Research Group


National Report Finds Overlooked Causes For Increasing Graduation.


By Carla Rivera

Colleges should examine a wider set of social, economic and personal characteristics to determine how they can help students remain in school and graduate, a new report has found.
Aside from SAT scores and high school grade point averages, students’ success in college relies on a number of other factors — often overlooked — that more accurately predict whether they will stay in school, according to the report scheduled for release Tuesday by the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA.

Using information from a national survey of college freshmen in public and private institutions as well as graduation data, the report found, for example, that students who visit a college before enrolling, participate in clubs and other activities and those who have used the Internet for research and homework are more likely to complete a degree earlier than others. The costs of attending a college and the institution’s size also contribute to students’ success, the report found.
Overall graduation rates are up from a decade ago — nearly four in 10 students (39%) graduate in four years today compared to 36% of students who started college in 1994, the report showed. But 56.4% of students now take five years to graduate.
Disparities in graduation rates by ethnicity and gender persist and the gaps are increasing, according to the report. First-generation students are especially at a disadvantage: Only 27.4% of these students earn a degree after four years compared to 42% of students whose parents attended college.
“The message to colleges is to use as much information as possible about their incoming students to assess what their probabilities are in terms of completion and think about services and programs that need to be addressed,” said Sylvia Hurtado, director of the research institute and one of the report’s authors.
(Lower in article)The report found that private schools graduate more students in four years than public institutions. But the study suggests that much of that success is because private schools are more selective in the types of students they enroll. But public universities, which are likely to enroll more low-income and first-generation students, graduate more of their students than would be expected, the report also found.


Student Engagement In College Is Important

Fostering Student
Engagement Campuswide: Annual Results 2011

A 21st century vision of undergraduate education demands an integrated,
comprehensive approach to learning that is responsive to the whole student.
Educators must actively collaborate about the experience of their students,
talk about what students know and can do, and design new approaches to engaging
students at high levels. Student engagement results provide educators across a
variety of campus programs and departments information to consider in their
efforts to understand the student experience and to collaborate in the design
of educationally productive activities and programs. Institutions that have
effectively used student engagement results suggest that an important step to
bringing people together is to first help them see the relevancy of results for
their unit.

12 Major Trends In College Admission Policy And Practice

This is the best summary of recent changes in college admissions that I have seen. It addresses all types of colleges that use some selection . Below is the link:


North Carolina Is Another State Giving ACT To 11th grade

  Over 10 states administer ACT on a statewide basis to provide interstate comparisons and provide student feedback. There are concerns about how ACT aligns with other in- state secondary school assessments.

ACT to Be Given to Test High School Students’ Post-graduation Readiness
Beginning this spring, North Carolina high school students will take national exams to determine how well they are prepared for life after graduation. The education department will spend $5.5 million to offer the ACT to juniors, the run-up test to sophomores and a standardized test for students who have completed a sequence of career and technical education courses. (Raleigh News and Observer, 10/05/11)

Colleges Spend More On Recruiting Students Than Aid For Needy Students

Stephen Burd| November
2011, Higher Ed Watch


According a recent U.S.
Department of Education report, higher education has reached a troubling
milestone: the country’s public and private four-year colleges are now
spending a greater share of their institutional aid dollars on trying to
attract the students they desire than on meeting the financial need of the
low- and moderate-income students they enroll.The report from the Education
Department’s National Center for Education Statistics provides the clearest
picture to date of how colleges, under the sway of enrollment management
consultants, have fundamentally changed the way they spend their
institutional aid dollars, to the detriment of low-income students. Fifteen
years ago, colleges primarily devoted their aid funds to making college
more-accessible and affordable for those with financial need. But in the
years since, colleges’ priorities have dramatically shifted. The report found
that by 2007-08, merit aid trumped need-based aid at these institutions


Massachusetts Foundation Calls For Community College Overhaul


Last Friday at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, the Boston Foundation released The Case for Community Colleges: Aligning Higher Education and Workforce Needs in Massachusetts, a report offering a comprehensive set of recommendations for strategically revamping the Massachusetts community college system to better align it with the needs of a 21st-century workforce. The recommendations emerged from research by WSC and MassINC that illustrated the challenges facing the Massachusetts community college system and the features of effective community college systems in other states.

Critic Says Collegiate Learning Assessment Will Not Work

Measuring Learning

By Watson Scott Swail, President & CEO, Educational Policy Institute/EPI International

This week’s article, CLA as ‘Catalyst for Change,’ talks about the seven-year project by the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) to use the CLA, or the Collegiate Learning Assessment, to measure learning in a test-bed of its member institutions. The purpose of the project is to help “propel” reform on campus through its findings and comparisons.

It is a noble idea. But it won’t work.

The CLA, created by contractor RAND Corporation, is a tool designed to measure what students have learned, on average, at institutions of higher education. So, think for a moment—given the grandeur of the American Higher Education System (corp?), the massive variation between colleges and universities, departments, satellites, and more—how can one instrument tell us the “value added” of students in higher education?

It can’t, and that’s the problem.

The CLA was created to measure value added before and after going to college. The problem is, naturally, the variance in institutions and programs is so wide, and the experiences so distant—even within one institution—one measure like the CLA is almost meaningless. There is no “average” learning effect in higher education, because everyone takes a different set of courses, from a different set of instructors, using different sets of resources. There is no “average” learning. And the CLA can’t pretend to be a measure of this learning.




AEI Forum Provides New Perspectives On Postsecondary Problems And Solutions

From the American Enterprise Institute, Washington, DC




DIANE AUER JONES, Career Education Corporation

JEFF SELINGO, The Chronicle of Higher Education

ZAKIYA SMITH, White House Domestic Policy Council


Andrew Rosen, chairman and chief executive officer of Kaplan Inc. and author of “ Rebooting for the New Talent Economy,” discussed the role of for-profit institutions in higher education at an event at AEI on Wednesday. Rosen examined some misperceptions about for-profits and suggested they can serve a specific niche of students often ignored by traditional higher education institutions: middle-aged students who are often attending school while working full-time and raising children. Discussants Diane Auer Jones from Career Education Cooperation and Jeff Selingo from The Chronicle of Higher Education highlighted problems with the current state of higher education, such as rising costs, a diminished focus on vocational education programs and a failure to acknowledge all possible steps to success for adult learners. Zakiya Smith–a senior adviser for education at the White House–advocated for a more rational system of higher education in which students would be exposed to data to help them assess institutions and make informed decisions on higher education and student debt. Although panelists disagreed about federal control of student loans, they agreed America’s traditional higher education system is not well suited to serve a majority of today’s students. Rosen explained that for-profits have the potential to fill this void and establish themselves as staples of the American higher education landscape.



Secondary School Counselors Say Their Schools Inadequately Support Their Role In College Transition

Counselors say schools’ missions are misguided

By Jason Koebler

Middle and high school guidance counselors say they aren’t utilized effectively in their schools, according to a survey released yesterday by the College Board, the nonprofit organization behind Advanced Placement courses and the SAT college entrance exam.

The “2011 National Survey of School Counselors,” which included 1,327 middle school and 3,981 high school counselors, says that guidance counselors are among the most “highly valuable” professionals working in education, but that they are among the “least strategically deployed.” The survey is believed to be the largest ever of its kind.

Eighty-five percent of counselors said that schools should focus on preparing students to succeed in college and careers, but they believe American schools are failing to make those goals a top priority.

The US News & World Report