Posts published in January, 2015

Carnegie Unit Does Not Measure Student Performance Well

The Carnegie Unit: A Century-Old Standard in a Changing Education Landscape

Today, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching released the results of its two-year study of the influential, longstanding Carnegie Unit and its impact on education reform in K-12 and higher education. The Carnegie Unit: A Century-Old Standard in a Changing Education Landscape, authored by Carnegie’s Elena Silva, Thomas Toch, and Taylor White, describes how the Carnegie Unit’s time-based standard of student progress came to define the design and delivery of American education and its current usage across the country.

The report draws on historical research, interviews with dozens of experts in K-12 and higher education, and extensive study of emerging alternatives to the Carnegie Unit in the United States and aboard. The study finds that the Carnegie Unit continues to play a valuable role in education as an administrative currency and opportunity-to-learn standard, but it is miscast as a measure of student learning. The U.S. education system needs more informative measures of student performance in order to reach its goal of increasing transparency and flexibility in education.

Read the full report and join the conversation on Twitter by using the hashtag #CarnegieUnit.

Community College Student Success: Research Based Solutions

The New Forgotten Half and Research Directions to Support Them

Amid increased attention to the potential of community colleges to provide opportunities for young people, a new William T. Grant Foundation report examines the challenges facing community college students and outlines research objectives to increase their odds of success and improve the institutions that serve them.

In “The New Forgotten Half and Research Directions to Support Them,” James Rosenbaum and colleagues discuss the obstacles that lead nearly half of community college students to drop out before earning a credential. The authors reveal that youth with only “some college” fare no better in the labor market than those with a high school diploma alone, and point to areas of research that could prove pivotal in improving the odds that students will leave college with credentials that help them get ahead.

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7 Useful Money Tips For College Students

By Jane Hurst

Just because you are a college student, it doesn’t mean that you have to be the epitome of the starving college student. You may be looking around at your friends and classmates, and wondering how they can afford to wear nice clothing or drive decent vehicles. You may even be jealous, because you think they probably have wealthy parents who are footing the bills for everything. What you may not realize is that many of these students do not have wealthy parents. What they do have is the ability to handle their money well, so when they do want something extra, they can afford it. Here are seven tips that will help you to be in that same position, and you won’t be broke throughout your college career.

  1. Save Money on Textbooks – One of your biggest expenses as a student is your textbooks. Just one brand new book can cost $300 or more. This is absolutely ridiculous! There are many ways that you can get the books you need without having to spend this kind of money. Forget about the campus bookstore and full prices. Instead, look for used books from other students, at used bookstores, and online. You may also want to invest in a Kindle or an iPad, so you can download cheaper versions of the books you need.
  2. Think about what You Really Need – Every time you want to buy something for yourself, ask if you really need it. Chances are, you don’t. If it isn’t a must-have, don’t buy it right away. Write it down on a piece of paper and put it on your wall. Look at it every day for a week, and if at the end of the week you still really want it, then go ahead and buy it. But, by then you will probably realize that you don’t really need it.
  3. Avoid Debt that isn’t School-Related – Don’t be tempted to use your credit card to make impulse purchases that aren’t related to your education. You really don’t need a new game console, and you don’t need to end up with credit card debt. In fact, avoid using your credit card for anything, unless you need it for school.
  4. Track Your Spending – Track every penny you spend. Write it down in a notebook, or Quicken if you have it. Keeping records will let you see your spending patterns, and ensure that you have enough money in the bank so you don’t end up overdrawn.
  5. Start Investing – Find a cheap broker, and start making investments. This is a great way to get your feet wet in the world of investing, and you don’t have to spend a lot of money. Check out ShareBuilder, a great online investing service. You can get stocks right now for $6.95 per online trade. Make investments on a schedule of your choice for as low as $3.95 per investment. Don’t worry about the details right now. Just learn how to get into the habit of investing, and you will be pleased that you did when you see the return in a few years.
  6. Book Cheap Flights – If you are going to go away for spring break, make sure that you do it in the most economical way possible. Check out these tips on how to find cheap flights online.
  7. Practical, not Flashy Transportation – If you are attending a college in a city, you don’t really need to worry about transportation, because there are so many options via public transportation. If you live outside of the city, you do need transportation, but that doesn’t mean you need an expensive vehicle. If you can find someone to carpool with, you don’t need a vehicle at all. If not, look for a used vehicle that is reliable, and reasonably priced.


Jane Hurst has been working in education for over 5 years as a teacher. She loves sharing her knowledge with students, is fascinated about edtech and loves reading, a lot.

Another Skeptical Report On State Performance College Funding

Washington State’s performance-based funding formula has failed to move the needle on community college student retention and completion rates, according to a new research paper. But officials at the state’s two-year college system are contesting the findings. (Inside Higher Ed, Jan. 14). Washington’s approach has been cited as one of the most promising performance funding approaches.

New Book: Remaking College: The Changing Ecology Of Higher Education

Check out this new analysis of USA higher education



Obama Higher Education Tax Proposals ; Views Of New America Foundation

President Obama’s AOTC Plan: The Good and the Bad

Given the current state of higher education tax benefits, the president’s proposed changes to the American Opportunity Tax Credit are necessary improvements, writes Stephen Burd. But the tax code is still not the best way to achieve higher education policy goals, writes Ben Miller.

5 Reasons Why College Students Should Start Their Own Blogs

By  Melissa Burns

These days it seems that virtually everybody has a blog: some do it for fun, others to occupy free time, still others to make money. It, however, doesn’t seem to be a very popular pastime among students – while they have better reasons for blogging than many others. Why? Let’s find out.

1.      Blog Equals Portfolio

Before we start talking about fulfillment and finding like-minded people we would like to mention that students have a very down-to-earth and practical use for blogging – because a blog can easily be turned into a portfolio.

Depending on your future career, you may concentrate on different areas of creativity, but still – don’t waste an opportunity to post your articles, graphic designs, essays, photos, animations, 3D models – whatever you create. When the time comes for you to look for a job, you will include links to your blog and will easily show your potential employer that you have been working in the field for a long time, went a long way and are not going to stop. A negligible payment for web hosting is more than a reasonable price for such an opportunity.

2.      Blog Means Positive Digital Footprint

What does a potential employer do when he receives your resume (provided he doesn’t relocate it directly to the dustbin)? He Googles your name and checks the contexts in which it appears.

And it is up to you to, firstly, make it appear in search results, and secondly – appear in contexts pertaining to your field of activity. If your blog is a top result for your name, you’ve nailed it.

3.      Making Money

Frankly speaking, as a student you shouldn’t hope to considerably improve your financial situation by blogging. There are not that many people who earn a lot of money by blogging, and those who do don’t work on their blogs in their free time. Look at it this way: if your blog brings you some money, good. If it doesn’t – it shouldn’t be your goal. Your goal should be doing things you like.

4.      Build up Your Experience

In case you don’t dedicate your blog solely to posting the pictures of your cat, it is an excellent medium of accumulating knowledge and experience in your chosen field of activity. By making something public, you simultaneously test out your new ideas and methods, and comments left by visitors can give you an insight into the topic that is completely different from the way you are used to perceive it. By communicating with the people reading your blog you will be able to get acquainted with like-minded individuals or, on the contrary, learn how to debate and protect your point of view. Depending on the industry you are going to work in, it may prove to be an invaluable contribution to your expertise.

5.      Get in Touch with the Experts in Your Field

People who have already achieved something in your chosen field of work may seem to be high and unreachable, but we live in the age of the Internet, and the Internet largely eliminates the boundaries between people. You will be amazed how many successful people are ready to contact a humble blogger to say thank you for mentioning them in an article – which is an excellent way to start an acquaintance that may do you a world of good later on.

As you may see, starting your own blog has many more uses than to be a playground where you speak about your feelings and share cute pictures. It has many practical uses – and as a student you should not neglect them.

Melissa is a student of journalism. She is passionate about digital technologies and tries to implement them in the sphere of education.

Realistic Timelines And Capacity to Implement Common Core Needed

The real test of Common Core is about to begin

Teachers need to be trained quickly


This spring, for the first time since its embrace of a new national road map for public school instruction, California’s students will take their first real Common Core tests.

Brace yourself. The results will be just a baseline, but they may not be pretty. That was the message last week from Michael Kirst, president of the state Board of Education, and he is smart to get out in front of that prospect.

Though Common Core is a major upgrade from the way students here have learned for a generation, surprises in other states have made it vulnerable to needless drama and politicization.

Aimed at better preparing kids for 21st-century college course work and career choices, the new standards push critical thinking and analysis over multiple choice and memorization. The idea is to teach kids to explain and defend their ideas, not just regurgitate answers to study-guide questions.

That’s a big deal. For decades, education advocates and employers have argued that American students need more rigorous training.

But more rigorous training means more rigorous testing. And in the couple of states that have tried so far to assess kids according to Common Core standards, scores have been sobering.

In New York, the number of “proficient” scores dropped by about 30 percentage points in 2013, its first year of testing. Meanwhile, in Kentucky, pass rates fell from about 80 percent to less than 50 percent.

There are asterisks next to those numbers: Neither state used the carefully developed, computerized test that California kids will be taking. Both rushed into high-stakes testing in a way that was much less deliberate and more fraught than the go-slow approach in California.

Neither had the exceptional unity of purpose that this state has fostered, from parents to teachers’ unions to lawmakers to university offices of admission. And the new and old testing methods are apples and oranges; comparing the results is like comparing 3D with a snapshot.

But few things alarm suburban parents like a scary report card, and that drop in numbers, however crude, shed a jarringly different light on schools, teachers and children in those states.

Common Core has been relatively uncontroversial so far here, largely because California, which adopted Common Core in 2010, has resisted efforts to rush it. But here as elsewhere, tea party conspiracy theorists mutter that it will be used for socialist indoctrination, and labor leaders warn that it will be a tool to bust teachers’ unions.

Neither is going to happen. And even the fears of “achievement shock” may turn out to be exaggerated; students here did take a practice test last year, just to test the equipment.

But Kirst, a political veteran, knows it can’t hurt to manage expectations. So he minced no words when he told The Sacramento Bee’s editorial boardthat when elementary, middle school and 11th-grade students take the new Smarter Balanced assessment later this year, “the initial results will be shocking.”

Message received. And now, forewarned should be forearmed.

We get that Common Core is a heavier lift in California than in nearly any state in the nation. More than 6.2 million children are being taught here by some 280,000 teachers in about 1,000 school districts. Two-thirds of those kids are poor, in the foster-care system or unable to speak English fluently.

So far, only about a third of our teachers have been trained in the new standards, with Common Core math teachers particularly hard to come by. Despite floods of state money – K-12 education soaks up about 40 percent of the state budget – California’s education spending per pupil ranks near the bottom.

So it won’t come as a surprise if it turns out this spring that we all have massive room for improvement. What will be a failure is if those scores don’t rise.

Hundreds of millions, if not billions, of state and foundation dollars have been made available to facilitate Common Core, and some great development programs are underway at UC Davis, Stanford and elsewhere. School districts should use that new money to get all teachers fully trained, and quickly.

The math teacher shortage should be addressed, too. Though the state cut some popular incentives during the worst of the recession, nothing in the law says that districts can’t offer math teachers more money.

And teachers who can’t or won’t rise to the new standards must be managed out; students have to come before adults.

Kirst estimates it will take five years before we will be able to fairly assess Common Core, but the test of our commitment to our kids begins now.

Ready, California? Start the clock.

Read more here:

Small Application Barriers Deter Students From Applying

“Are Students Affected by Colleges’ Small Application Barriers?”

 Attending college is increasingly both costly and time consuming, and represents one of the largest investments people make in their lives, so one would expect students to engage in a thoughtful and deliberate college choice process. However, there is an increasingly large literature that shows students are not behaving optimally in the college application and enrollment processes. For example, Pallais (2013) shows that students rely on rules of thumb when applying to colleges that result in too few college applications, while Hoxby and Avery (2013) demonstrate that many high-achieving low-income students fail to apply to or enroll in the colleges that have higher graduation rates and would also likely be more affordable.

From :Policy Analysis For California Education


What Works In College Counseling

New from ECS

College counseling in high schools
The latest issue of The Progress of Education Reform  explores current state approaches to college advising that may not provide the hoped-for gains in college-going, recent research on approaches correlated with increased postsecondary enrollment, including approaches with traditionally underrepresented students, and promising state approaches to triage counselors’ efforts with other means to provide college counseling.