Posts published in February, 2013

SAT Could Undergo a Major Overhaul With Better Alignment To K-12 Curriculum.

College Board Plans an ‘Improved’ SAT
The College Board’s new president has hinted that change is coming to the SAT. While offering few details, David Coleman said the group would better connect elementary and secondary schools with colleges and universities by developing “a more innovative assessment that sharply focuses on a core set of knowledge and skills that are essential for readiness, access, and success.” (Chronicle of Higher Education, 02/26/13)

Single Stop Community College Counseling Shows Promise

Guest Blogger Sara Goldrick-Rab, University of Wisconsin

Community college completion rates are notoriously low.  Would students have a better chance of succeeding if their colleges helped to bring more support to the table?

In 1998, “Joanne” dropped out of the Borough of Manhattan Community College because she couldn’t afford the subway fare. When she came back to BMCC in 2011, after losing her job, it was very different.  Single Stop USA had set up benefits counseling on campus. In this blog, Sara Goldrick-Rab describes the approach taken by this new program, which has offices at 17 community colleges around the country. In the last year, the nonprofit helped 20,000 students collect $38-million in benefits. For every $1 the program costs, it brings $14 in benefits students wouldn’t have otherwise had. Single Stop hasn’t proven — yet — that its services boost completion rates. But according to Goldrick-Rab, it’s shown the community college can be “a point of connection as well as education.”



An Overview Of Current Higher Education Reforms

Ed Crego, George Munoz and Frank Islam provide a Whitman’s sampler of some of the approaches that are being discussed or are underway in the areas that they analyzed in prior posts: costs; graduation and placement rates, return on investment, career education and skill development, teacher preparation; technology and education; and the nation’s primary and secondary education system. The piece is in the Huffington Post.

Study Questions Online Effectiveness For Disadvantaged Students

Online education is often held out as a way to increase access to higher education, especially for those who have historically been underrepresented in college. A new Columbia University study suggests that some of the students most often targeted in online learning’s access mission are less likely than their peers to benefit from — and may in fact be hurt by — digital as opposed to face-to-face instruction.

Source: ECS

College Education Helps Protect Against Recession

The Protective Effect of College

Did a college degree protect against the worst effects of the Great Recession? This question is taken on by Beth Red Bird, Natassia Rodriguez, Christopher Wimer, and David Grusky in a new report funded and published by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Number Of Liberal Arts Colleges Declines by 39%

A new article in Liberal Education looks at what happened in the 20 years after David W. Breneman asked in a much discussed article “Are We Losing Our Liberal Arts Colleges?”  For the current article, three authors checked up on the 212 institutions and found that today, only 130 of them meet the criteria Breneman used for liberal arts colleges — a decline of 39 percent.

Why Men Have Fallen Behind Women In College Attainment: Includes Boy Friendly Solutions

A forthcoming book is worth following entitled, The Rise of Women: The Growing Gender Gap in Education and What It Means for American Schools by Thomas DiPrete  and Claudia Buchmann. Based on more than a decade of research, the book marks the first comprehensive look at why the gender gap in American education continues to expand dramatically — and why men have fallen behind.  I have not read the book, but more research on this topic has been needed for a long time.

T he book’s new findings focus upon  why women are pulling ahead, how the gender gap harms male earning power and U.S. competitiveness, and what solutions will help improve outcomes for men and women alike. The Rise of Women authors will cover provocative ideas, including why “boy-friendly” solutions such as more recess and single-sex classrooms don’t work, and only serve to reinforce gender stereotypes. (See their recent New York Times letter to the editor.)

They will also explore:

  • How profound social shifts and job opportunities have propelled women to overtake men in college enrollment and attaining Masters and PhDs
  • How lower educational outcomes hurt men’s earning power and lower educational performance of the U.S. as a whole
  • How strong male role models can help counter the so-called “boy problem” (school-age boys falling prey to peer pressure to shun studies)
  • Why, in spite of Hanna Rosin’s and others’ assertions that we’ve reached the “End of Men,” women continue to lag behind men in education in STEM fields— and in earnings overall in the job market—and what can be done to close the gap

Authors are :

Thomas DiPrete, author of The Rise of Women and professor of sociology at Columbia University
Claudia Buchmann, author of The Rise of Women and professor of sociology at Ohio State University

Higher Education Near Tipping Point Of Major Transformation

Harvard Business School Professor Clayton Christensen is the father of the idea of “disruption” as we currently understand it, that smaller, weaker, but more innovative companies break into the low end of a market, then end up completely overtaking previously dominant ones. In an interview with Jeff Howe at Wired, Christensen was asked which industries are being disrupted right now, or will soon be in a state of disruptive crisis. He replied that publishing, journalism — really anything ad supported is already there. Next up? Places like the one he happens to work: “I think higher education is just on the edge of the crevasse. Generally, universities are doing very well financially, so they don’t feel from the data that their world is going to collapse. But I think even five years from now these enterprises are going to be in real trouble.” The article is in Business Insider.

Source: Carnegie Foundation

Another Plan For Overhaul Of Federal Student Aid

The Institute for College Access & Success (TICAS) today issued a white paper calling for major changes to the way federal student aid is applied for, allocated, delivered, and communicated, as well as to how colleges are held accountable for the taxpayer funding they receive.

Federal grants, loans, and tax benefits help millions of students and families pay for college every year.  TICAS’ in-depth analysis of available data and recent research found strong evidence that financial aid can and does increase college enrollment and completion.  It also identified many aspects of current federal policy that must change to narrow persistent and growing income gaps in enrollment and outcomes.  Aligning the Means and the Ends: How to Improve Federal Student Aid and Increase College Access & Success was developed with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Reimagining Aid Design and Delivery project.

“When it works as it should, financial aid enables all students willing to study hard to go to college and get a quality credential without burdensome debt,” said TICAS president Lauren Asher. “Federal aid can and must do more to keep college within reach for all students and families.”


Long Term Fix Needed For Pell Grants

Ed Money Watch

The Congressional Budget Office this week released updated cost projections for the Pell Grant program – and the estimates show an unexpected surplus over the past several years. The figures are much awaited because they dictate the  appropriations needed to keep the program running as is.

Read More