Archive for October, 2012

College Completion: Where We Stand

October 10th, 2012

To take stock of where the college completion effort stands, the American Enterprise Institute pulled together essays from 11 researchers and policy analysts. The final product is the book Getting to Graduation: The Completion Agenda in Higher Education. In an e-mail interview, the editors jointly answer questions about what they see as key takeaways and common themes from the book.

Career And Technical Education Needs Postsecondary Priority

October 9th, 2012

By Tom Chorneau, SI&A Cabinet Report, Sacramento, Ca.

The U.S. economy currently supports 29 million jobs that provide a middle class salary and require only some postsecondary education– a healthy block of employment that will not fade away even with global market demands for a better trained work force in the coming decade, a new report from Georgetown University concludes.Researchers said that career technical education programs could be the vehicle for preparing those workers by using a variety of pathways from employer-based training and apprenticeships to industry-based certifications and associate’s degrees.

“The United States faces an enormous task in preparing tomorrow’s workforce that will have dramatic implications for the nation’s future prosperity and ability to compete internationally in the world economy,” said the authors from Georgetown’s Center on Education and the Work Place, and Civic Enterprises, a non-profit think tank based in Washington D.C.

“In an environment where budgets are tight, we believe that expanding (career technical education) will mean reallocating resources toward programs that have proven effective at enhancing the productivity and efficiency of the system,” the authors said.Noting that economic changes have made some post-secondary education critical – the research team said that not all workers will need a four-year college degree.

In 1973, nearly three out of four jobs required only a high school education or less. But, by 2020, two out of three jobs will require some post-secondary education or training.To plan for this need, the author said, the federal government should invest dollars “allocated toward CTE in programs of study that align secondary and post-secondary curriculum, reduce duplication and remediation, allow for dual-enrollment and create opportunities for students to learn and earn.”

Second, they said, the federal government should create a “Learning & Earning Exchange” — an information system that links high school and post-secondary transcript information about courses taken and grades with employer wage records.

“Such a system would allow all to see how successful various programs are at producing job-ready graduates,” the report said. “As a result, students would make more informed choices about what to study; educators would serve their students better; and employers would have greater success in finding the skilled workers necessary to satisfy their needs.”

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Females Exceed Males In College Success

October 8th, 2012

Female high-school students are more likely to aspire to attend college than are their male counterparts, and the young women enroll in college, persist, and graduate from it at higher rates as well, according to a report by the National Center for Education Statistics.

Cost Of Postsecondary Student Attrition

October 5th, 2012

New research from the Delta Cost Project at American Institutes for Research (AIR) addresses ways to measure and manage the institutional costs of student attrition. Defining attrition as the failure to obtain a certificate or degree from any type of institution-not just the institution of initial enrollment-the briefs find that roughly 20 percent of education and related spending in higher education results from attrition. Reducing attrition costs is both educationally effective (more students obtain degrees) and cost effective (due to efficiency gains resulting from reduced attrition). Each 20 percent reduction in attrition will increase degree or certificate production by 6 percent-a big step toward meeting national goals to increase educational attainment.

Highlights include:

  • Attrition costs are much lower than the overall attrition rate. Roughly one third of all undergraduate students in public and private nonprofit institutions leave college without obtaining a degree or a certificate. However, attrition costs associated with these students amount to just 19 percent of education and related spending in higher education-slightly more than half as much as would be predicted based on the attrition rate alone.
  • Most attrition is not caused by academic failure. Over 40 percent of attrition costs nationwide are attributable to students who leave with grade point averages in the A and B range. These are not students who are academic failures. In fact, attrition associated with poor academic performance (i.e., students leaving with C averages or below) accounts for just 15 percent of attrition costs.
  • Attrition costs should not be measured at the institutional level, since most students graduate from institutions other than those in which they first enrolled. But institutions should pay attention to attrition and measure changes in student retention and progression to the degree.
  • Attrition costs are highest for students who leave after several years. Spending on average for students who leave their institutions after one year is about $8,800 per student, compared to more than $40,000 for students who leave after three or more years of attendance.
  • Attrition levels in higher education are similar to attrition levels in other industries. Attrition levels in higher education are not particularly unlike such patterns in other human capital intensive industries, such as the United States Army (about 30 percent of first-time enlistees do not complete their initial terms of service), or clinical research (where 30 percent of people leave before the completion of the research).

More Secondary Students Complete Calculus But Not Much Achievement Gap Closing

October 4th, 2012

A recently-entered research study investigates the consequences of academic intensification for social stratification in American high schools, particularly focusing on inequalities in access to higher-level math courses such as calculus. The authors found that, rather than eliminating the tiered and socially unequal track structure of American high schools, the trend toward academic intensification over the past several decades has reproduced that hierarchy at a more advanced level.


7 Strategies For Dealing With A Tough Professor

October 2nd, 2012

Guest blogger: Florine Church


Note by Michael Kirst- These look sensible to me, but I wonder what your reaction is to the specific ideas.

Academic Coaching Can Improve College Success

October 1st, 2012

Academic coaching is becoming an integral formula for recruitment and retention, especially for minority and first-generation students who may need additional support to thrive in a collegiate setting.According to a recent study funded by Stanford University, InsideTrack reportedly has improved retention and graduation rates by 10 to 15 percent and is more cost-effective than previously studied interventions. The study was conducted by Eric Bettinger, an associate professor at Stanford’s School of Education. It compared the academic records of more than 13,500 students, half of whom had received coaching, and half of whom hadn’t. He found that freshmen in the coached group were 15 percent more likely to still be in school 18 to 24 months later. The article is in Diverse: Issues In Higher Education and provide to me by Carnegie Foundation.