Posts published in January, 2014

Comprehensive State Remediation Laws

Comprehensive on Completion
Maryland’s public colleges are working to comply with one of the nation’s most ambitious college completion bills. High schools must test students on their college readiness before they finish their junior years and create “transition” courses for students who are deemed unprepared. Public colleges must require students to complete at least one non-remedial math and English course as part of their first 24 credits. (Inside Higher Ed, 01/07/14)

Black Females Far Exceed Males In College Entrance And Selectivity

By Su Jin Jez, Professor of Public Policy, Sacramento State Univeristy

As previously noted on The College Puzzle, outcomes for Black and Latino males are stunningly worse than outcomes for Black and Latino females.  The fact that males are falling behind is not a new story, however the gender disparities among minorities is striking.  In two studies, I examine the gap between Black males and Black females in college access. 

Noting that Black females make up two-thirds of black postsecondary enrollments and 60% of blacks with at least a bachelor’s degree, I seek to understand how do brothers and sisters with shared experiences have such markedly different outcomes?  Using the National Longitudinal Study of Youth 1997 Cohort dataset (NLSY97), I find that black females are more likely than black males to apply to college and attend college.  Moreover, black females are more likely than black males to attend both 2-year and 4-year colleges and are more likely to attend more selective colleges.   Why do these disparities exist?  Differences in students’ backgrounds, academic achievement, and Catholic school attendance explain the differences in the type of colleges black females and males attend, but fail to explain differences in college application and attendance rates.

Puzzled by the lingering unexplained differences, I sought out explanations beyond the usual education of economics factors.  In a new study, Crystal Renee Chambers and I use the NLSY97 to explore the concept of identity capital as an explanatory factor in understanding these disparities between black males and females.  Identity capital is individual’s investment in a set of personal resources and contextual awareness; it encompasses a portfolio of psychosocial skills that enable an individual to interact with a diverse array of persons and situations.  We find that differences in identity capital between black males and females explain differences in college attendance.  While the mechanism by which identity capital affects college attendance is not clear, these findings point directly to identity capital being a factor with potential to improve college enrollments among Black males.  We urge further research into the role of identity capital and urge policymakers and practitioners to think more broadly about creating environments that support minority males and building the capital necessary to be successful in fulfilling their postsecondary goals.

Su Jin Jez is an Assistant Professor of Public Policy and Administration at California State University, Sacramento.  Contact information and links to this (and other) work can be found at:

First study: Jez, S.J. (2012). Analyzing the Female Advantage in College Access among African Americans. In C. Chambers (Eds.), Black American Female Undergraduates on Campus: Successes and Challenges. Diversity in Higher Education Series.

Second study:  Jez, S.J., & Chambers, C. (in revision). An Exploration of Identity Capital as a Predictor of College Attendance Gender Differentials among African Americans.  [please email Dr. Jez for a copy]

Student Success Strategies Despite Tight College Budgets

Investing in Success: Cost-Effective Strategies to Increase Student Success

By Jane Wellman and Rima Brusi

This publication provides advice and planning tools to help educational leaders invest in high-impact practices, despite budget constraints. It presents ways to evaluate both the benefits and costs of high-impact practices, and strategies for investing in innovations. Building on research from the Access to Success initiative and the Delta Cost Project, the authors provide examples of campuses that have made wise investments developing or scaling particular practices, with positive results for student learning, graduation rates, and the bottom line.

Read an excerpt of this publication online.


Financial Incentives And Support Improve Community College Completion

Two-Year Results from an Evaluation of Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) for Developmental Education Students

This policy brief presents results from an evaluation of a program designed to increase the graduation rates of low-income community college students. The initiative requires full-time attendance and offers comprehensive supports and financial incentives for three full years. The program boosted two-year graduation rates substantially — by 66 percent.

Overview »    |    PDF »    |    Press Release »

ACT Ends Exams And Switches To Common Core

ACT Inc., is offering its Explore and Plan tests for the last time this school year as it gears up to debut a new suite of tests for grades 3-11 that are aimed at capturing a big chunk of the Common Core standards testing market. The exams, typically given in 8th and 10th grade, respectively, will be replaced by the ACT Aspire system, which is more aligned with the Common Core.

Want To Become A Successful College Student? Learn From The Habits Of The Best Ones

By Robert Morris

You already achieved great success when you got accepted to college, but that was just the start of the achievements you will have to make in order to be a successful student. According to the official statistics, the overall 4-year graduation rate for 2012 was 52% and 31%, for private and public colleges respectively. This information isn’t supposed to scare you, but it should motivate you to work harder if you want to achieve your goal and graduate on time.

In order to complete your college degree with success, you should learn from the habits of the best students and implement them into practice. It isn’t as difficult as it seems – you just need to work your way towards the degree step by step and you will soon notice how academic challenges become easier to face.

1. Benefit the most from on-campus resources

All colleges offer on-campus resources that have a great potential if you know how to use it. Make sure to get familiar with these places on campus as soon as you start with the studies: the career services center, the academic support center, and the library. These are three key places you should be able to find in your sleep.

Find out what types of resources and support these on-campus destinations offer. Career advisors, writing counselors, and librarians can become your greatest help towards turning your mediocre student skills into successful ones.

2. Know your priorities

As soon as you start attending lessons and completing college assignments, you should detach yourself from the high school habits, because they won’t help you balance the study time, classes, extracurricular activities, and socialization that college requires. Everything needs planning and you better start making priorities soon.

Successful students have one thing in common – they have daily schedules and always complete the most important tasks by the end of the day. Creating a time table will help you live with less stress while managing the entire workload with ease.

3. Showing up to class is not enough. Get involved!

Almost all students are intimidated by the large lecture halls, but that doesn’t mean that you should just keep showing up in class and sit quietly in the last row. The only way to understand the material and achieve higher GPA is to get involved and express yourself during the lectures. Your professor asks if anyone has a question? Deal with your insecurity and speak up. After all, the only stupid question is the one you don’t ask.

Don’t avoid sitting close to the professor – that is your best chance of getting noticed and participating in discussions whenever you have something smart to say. However, you shouldn’t go overboard with your involvement. No one likes those students who tend to dominate all discussions and always speak no matter whether they have something relevant to add or they just want to ramble without a point.

4. Develop lasting relationships with your professors and mentors

Even if your professors seem too “cold” during the lectures, they are still happy to develop meaningful relationships with students who have great potential. Keeping a close mentoring relationship with the faculty members you relate to is one of the greatest benefits you will get from college life.

5. Focus on your portfolio

You should think of college as a great chance to work your way towards the career you want. Make sure to get involved in activities and choose classes that are relevant for the career path you’ve chosen. In this way, your college studies will help you build a professional portfolio.

Whenever you’re part of a big project or you complete successful coursework, save the documents in PDF and include them in your portfolio. Your future employer will appreciate the fact that you’ve been a diligent and successful student.

6. Don’t delay thinking about your professional future

Many students don’t like thinking about the heading their lives will take after receiving the college diploma, but those are not the successful ones. You have to set your goals! You won’t achieve all of them after graduating, but that doesn’t mean that you should leave things to chance and go through college without making any plans about the life that comes after.

You can avoid the shame of being unemployed long after graduating only if you keep your long-term goals in mind and work towards their achievement.

Tips on how to become a successful student are written by Robert Morris, who is a professional writer for, where he writes on useful educational tips for students. 

New Book on Grit And College Success

How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character

reviewed by Erica Frydenberg — February 01, 2013

coverTitle: How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character
Author(s): Paul Tough
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Co, Boston
ISBN: 0547564651, Pages: 256, Year: 2012
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