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.

State Scholarships Can Inhibit Challenging Course Taking By Students

College preparation relies in part on students taking the right courses that include content and skills aligned with college completion and persistence. But many state scholarship programs based on grade point averages encourage students to take easy courses where they know that they can get good grades. For example, Kentucky pays a $125 bonus for a 2.50 GPA, but $500 for a 4.o. Sources in Kentucky say this sliding scale incentive pay inhibits students for taking advanced courses with difficult content. Ky weights AP more than other courses, but not much money is involved.
States need to evaluate the impact of GPA incentives in their merit scholarship programs , as well as looking at need more carefully

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