Archive for November, 2013

Can Any Test Measure College Graduates Learning?

November 11th, 2013

By Dr. Watson Scott Swail, President & CEO, Educational Policy Institute

Last month, Time Magazine and Minnesota Public Radio both interviewed me about the use of the Collegiate Learning Assessment PLUS (CLA+) as a measure of “workforce readiness.” For the uninitiated, the CLA+ is a reuse of the “College Learning Assessment,” created by Rand Corporation with support of several large philanthropies back in the 2000s. I wrote about the CLA in the Swail Letter back on November 18, 2011.

In short, I have never agreed with the premise that a singular test could truly measure what a student—any student—learned while in college. It’s like that Robert Fulghum poem that many of us have had on our walls at one time: “All I Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.” How an organization, let alone a school of researchers, could wither four years of liberal arts, scientific, or other four-year postsecondary education into a number is a little beyond me. It’s one thing to use the SAT or ACT to give an indicator of college readiness (and we know that the correlation is still limited past the first year of college), but something completely else to try and do the same thing to gauge what a student learns in 1,800-plus hours of holistic instruction.

Now the Council for Aid to Education (CAE), the mothership for the CLA+, wants to expand the CLA empire and start charging students and universities to take yet another test at $35 a pop.

Here is what I said to Time Magazine:

“The idea of the CLA+ is to measure learning at various institutions and compare them. I don’t think that’s technically possible with such a diverse system of higher education. That’s based on the fact that all the curriculums are different, textbooks are different, and you’re expecting to get some measure of—in a very generic way across all ­curriculums—how someone learns in one institution compared to another. All institutions are different, and all of their students are different.”


USA Tuition Is High In International Comparison

November 8th, 2013

It is hard to find a tuition comparison that involves many countries so see below

We at published an infographic which we really think will add value to your blog and readers interest, the post “College Tuition Around The World” (

Self Regulation As A Key To College Success

November 6th, 2013

How can schools boost students’ self-regulation?
Cecilia Le and Rebecca E. Wolfe, Phi Delta Kappan
In this article, Jobs for the Future authors Le and Wolfe expand on the Students at the Center paper Motivation, Engagement, and Student Voice, finding that research, documentation, commentary, and policy all point to the fact that mastering academic content and skills is not sufficient for today’s youth. In order to fully prepare students for success in college, career, and civic life, education must incorporate additional behaviors, skills, and mindsets, often called metacognitive skills or 21st-century skills. The article profiles three schools and programs serving low-income, off-track youth that have recognized the importance of these metacognitive skills.

Massachusetts Makes Big Bet on Performance Funding

November 4th, 2013

Massachusetts is in the first phases of moving toward performance funding for its community colleges and education leaders hope it will generate a flood of talent to fill local jobs. Massachusetts is setting aside half of its community college funds for that purpose. Tennessee is the only other state that goes that far. Massachusetts also increased its community college funding by $20 million after years of cutbacks. (Governing, 11/01/13)

10 Things To Know About Common Core College Prep

November 4th, 2013

As a rebuttal to critics of Common Core look at the following:

Dual Enrollment Benefits Higher Income Students

November 2nd, 2013

Taking courses for college credit while in high school may be a good way to get a head start on an expensive higher education — and graduate on time — but research in Illinois says it’s more available to kids in wealthier schools, who already do well academically, than it is in low-income schools. The study found that the proportion who took dual-enrollment courses ranged from zero to 88%, depending on what high school they attended. (Hechinger Report, 10/31/13). Provided By ECS