The College Puzzle Blog
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Dr. Michael W. Kirst

Michael W. Kirst is Professor Emeritus of Education and Business Administration at Stanford University since 1969.
Dr. Kirst received his Ph.D. in political economy and government from Harvard. Before joining the Stanford University faculty, Dr. Kirst held several positions with the federal government, including Staff Director of the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Manpower, Employment and Poverty. He was a former president of the California State Board of Education. His book From High School to College with Andrea Venezia was published by Jossey Bass in 2004.

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My blog discusses the important and complex subjects of college completion, college success, student risk factors (for failing), college readiness, and academic preparation. I will explore the pieces of the college puzzle that heavily influence, if not determine, college success rates.

Randomized Trials Provide What Works For College Success

qbnsHow do we know what solutions really work to improve college preparation and completion? One excellent way is to conduct a randomized trial using control groups similar to FDA drug tests. There is a start on this for community college effectiveness and persistence through a top flight research firm MDRC-http://www.mdrc.org/. They found that some types of dual enrollment programs in New york City can prevent remediation. Now they found "learning communities " in which students take several remedial courses together can advance them to credit level college courses. The same group of students took three courses together-remedial English, health or psychology , and an orientation course.The professors worked together to reinforce each other.
These are small scale studies and it is uncertain whether the results can be generalized. But research is moving in the right direction.

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