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.

Arizona Study Demonstrates High School Exit Test Does Not Measure College Readiness

The Arizona Republic
7:25 am | 55°
January 30, 2009 |

New way urged for gauging schools
Lawmakers: Measure using college-readiness

Half of Maricopa County’s high-school graduates who enter Arizona universities or colleges must take a remedial math class. And just under a quarter must take a remedial English class.

The new findings are helping legislators push for a change in how Arizona decides if its high schools are excelling or failing, a move that would topple AIMS test scores as the main measurement.

Two key House leaders are proposing a pilot program that could lead to making the percentage of students who graduate “college-ready” the prime indicator of how well a high school performs.

Rating schools by AIMS scores sets the bar too low because the state’s standardized student tests are based on 10th-grade skills, said Reps. Rich Crandall, a Mesa Republican, and David Lujan, a Phoenix Democrat.

Some educators fear that the new approach would put too much emphasis on college-bound students and not enough on marginal students who need extra help or students who don’t want to attend college.

The findings come from an Arizona Community Foundation study released this week that aimed to measure how well high schools prepared their college-bound students.

The College Readiness Report calculated how many 2006 high-school graduates could directly enter freshman-level English and algebra classes and how many had to take remedial classes first.

The study tracked graduates at each of 115 Maricopa County districts and charter high schools who entered one of the three state universities or Maricopa Community Colleges. Those students accounted for 55 percent of the county's 2006 graduates, or about 17,400 students.

The results: Seventy-seven percent were prepared to enter a college-level English course without extra help; half were ready for college algebra.

“The glass is half-full or half-empty, depending on how you look at it,” said Arizona State University’s David Garcia, who conducted the research. All the students in the study had passed Arizona’s Instrument to Measure Standards, passed their high-school courses and earned diplomas, he said.

“After that, the burning question is: ‘What did that mean?’. . . Are we aiming at the right place?” Garcia said. “My primary interest in doing this is to put something else out there for public discussion other than AIMS.”

The study is the first to track such data for individual high schools. Garcia said he is preparing to conduct the research statewide and include students who attend colleges and universities out of state. He also is working on tracking students who attend trade schools.

The College Readiness Report caught the attention of Crandall and Lujan, who plan to introduce a bill this week that would establish a pilot program using the report’s data as the primary measurement of a high school’s performance.

The schools would be measured on improvement in the percentage of graduates who entered college without needing remedial classes.

“When you use AIMS as your total measurement, you get 10th-grade results, and that’s not good enough,” said Crandall, chairman of the House Education Committee. Crandall, once president of the Mesa Unified District governing board, who has already established a legislative task force to examine the future of AIMS. Its recommendations are due in June, and it could suggest changing the AIMS exam, killing it as a graduation requirement, replacing it or adding a college-entrance or another test.

The bill, drafted by Lujan, would keep AIMS scores and graduation rates as part of a new formula to evaluate school instruction, but College Readiness Report data would play the key role. Lujan said it’s easier for parents to understand.

In all measures, schools would have to show progress in the percentage of students meeting the new goals.

The AIMS reading, writing and math exam is taken each year by students in third through eighth grades and in 10th grade. It measures how well students are achieving grade-level learning goals, and high-school students must pass the exam to graduate. Test scores are used to rate schools on a six-level scale that ranges from excelling to failing.

“People really don’t know what the AIMS test measures,” Lujan said. “Looking at how many students have to take remedial classes when they get to college, I think that’s a really good indicator.”

Schools participating in the pilot would include all the high schools in one district, most likely Phoenix Union High School District, where Lujan still sits on the board, and five charter high schools.

The schools would develop the new formula and use it to determine their rankings by September 2010.

State officials would track and report on the progress of students in schools using the new formula.

Tom Horne, state superintendent of public instruction, said he, too, wants to push all high schools to improve learning for college-bound students. College-readiness numbers could become a small part of the current formula, but AIMS scores should remain the key indicator, he said.

“I worked very hard to make sure the formula, as a whole, is fair,” Horne said. “We must be sure the kids who don’t go to college are still well prepared for life.”

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.

Stimulus Bill Intensifies But Does Not Change Federal Role

While the stimulus will be helpful for college success, it does not include many new concepts for funding. It increases Pell grants dramatically, has a new tax credit plan, 3.5 billion for construction,.5 billion for work study, and other indirect aid through state government allocations. Other than yet another tax credit scheme , it breaks little new ground. I am skeptical that tax credits up to $160,000 per couple will create more low income enrollment in college. The Clinton tax credits went to the middle class who would have attended college anyway.
Another concern is wether this new money will be temporary or part of the future federal base. But the stimulus will provide much more money than postsecondary education would have received through the regular appropriation process. Will more students complete college because of this bill? No one knows.

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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.

College Presidents MIA In Discussion About College Preparation And Completion

David Breneman , former Dean of the University of Virginia Education School, wrote this for Measuring Up:2008. He has followed the decline of college presidents in the problems of transition from k-12 to college.

Facing the Nation: The Role of College Leaders in Higher Education Policy
By David W. Breneman

Measuring Up 2008, the fifth edition of the National Center's biennial reports on state performance in higher education, arrives at a time of great uncertainty and concern about the nation's economy, as the financial credit crisis has spawned bank failings not seen since the Great Depression. As the country lurches toward recession, most state and local budgets are in serious deficit, families continue to lose homes to foreclosure, jobs are being lost by the thousands, and a massive $700 billion federal rescue plan has yet to demonstrate its success. The luxury we may have had in prior years to ignore the warning signs of current problems has now expired. We have no choice but to focus intently on solving these economic problems, casting aside the behaviors that helped bring us to this critical moment.

That higher education is central to future economic progress is beyond dispute, but a decade of Measuring Up reports paints a worrisome picture about how well this vital sector is performing: participation in higher education remains flat at best, affordability has declined sharply, and graduation rates continue to be a disgrace. Whatever lead we enjoyed over other countries in the last half of the 20th Century has been lost, as both our participation and completion rates have declined relative to other advanced nations. Far too much effort and too many resources have been devoted to enhancing institutional prestige, at the cost of balanced development of a high-performing system of colleges and universities able to serve the diverse educational needs of the next generation. We have increasingly relied on market forces to shape higher education, and the result has been a vastly widening resource gap between a small number of exceedingly wealthy institutions and a much larger number of poor ones. In a sense, the Measuring Up reports can be read as assessing the average performance of our colleges as a whole.

In earlier reports, Robert Atwell, Jane Wellman, and I have remarked on the absence of college and university leaders from the national policy debates about higher education. One result has been an unfortunate, if understandable, tendency for state and national political leaders to dominate the discussion. Let me be clear in what I am saying; college and university leaders have certainly worked hard on issues of institutional self-interest, as they must, but few have provided strong voices on policy matters that transcend the local campus. To default to those outside higher education on such substantive issues as academic preparation for college-level work, access for the poor and disadvantaged, success in retention and graduation, and the serious and growing problem of affordability is to limit the nation's ability to make headway in improving the performance of our system as a system. One result, as external parties have criticized and advocated for changes, has been a growing defensiveness on the part of higher education leaders rather than an active engagement with legislators and policy analysts in seeking solutions. We are all the poorer for this failed conversation, and as noted earlier, such failure is a luxury the nation can no longer afford.

One concrete example from the National Center's experience may clarify this point. The Measuring Up series has been criticized by numerous college leaders for reporting failing grades for virtually all states in making higher education affordable for students and their families. In private conversations, university leaders have told me that these failing grades have made it more difficult for their institutions to achieve tuition increases. Another response has been to attack the methodology used in Measuring Up to assess the affordability of higher education. In short, many university administrators, rather than addressing the state and national challenges that Measuring Up emphasizes, perceive the reports themselves as the problem.

None of us associated with Measuring Up would argue that we have the perfect instrument for measuring the complex issue of affordability in higher education. However, we all agree that keeping college affordable is a serious and growing problem, potentially much worse for the next generation of aspiring college students. We also agree that there are limits to the share of educational cost that can be shifted to students and families. Furthermore, if state and national leaders fail to improve upon this situation, the economic prospects for the United States will be grim. Yet, so far, we are failing as a nation to address this issue squarely and honestly.

The National Center is committed to developing a forum in which college and university leaders can meet with political leaders and knowledgeable policy professionals to advance a conversation about the enduring challenges of preparation, participation, affordability, completion, and accountability in higher education. The problems are now so serious and the stakes so high that the most experienced educators and political leaders must work together for policies that will enable higher education to continue to serve the millions of Americans whose well-being depends upon it.


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.

College Data on Student Preparation and Success Is Getting Worse

Dennis Jones of the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems wrote this analysis of college data weaknesses as part of the report Measuring Up: 2008 by the National Center for Higher Education and Public Policy
The Information Gap: Much Talk, Little Progress
By Dennis P. Jones

Over the past decade, states have used Measuring Up to evaluate and compare their performance in higher education. Policymakers and the public have tracked their state's progress and setbacks in preparing students for education beyond high school, enrolling them in college, trying to keep college affordable, and conferring degrees. During this time, one trend has held constant: not all the information needed by policymakers is available to them.

When first published in 2000, Measuring Up identified the key areas where comparative, objective information was not available across states. Most of the deficiencies noted at that time persist today (see table). In fact, in many areas there is less information available now. In some cases, states have not participated in national assessments that would have provided important state-level data; in other cases, national groups have not collected sufficient data from each of the states. The result is a failing grade-an F-for the nation's performance in developing data resources for state-by-state comparisons in higher education.

There has been some improvement in assessing how well states prepare students for college. The Census Bureau's new American Communities Survey (ACS) now provides more timely and accurate data about high school completion. However, this improvement does not affect two important areas: advanced course taking and student achievement.

Advanced K-12 Course Taking. Enrollment levels in advanced courses can help to indicate preparedness for college. Since 2000, substantially fewer states participate in national surveys that indicate how many eighth graders take algebra and how many high school students enroll in advanced math and science.

Student Achievement in the 12th Grade. Most states-but not all-continue to participate in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) for eighth graders. For high school seniors, there is a comparable national assessment but it does not provide data at the state level. Information about the "stock of learning" that students acquire in high school and carry into college continues to be missing in the states.

There has been no progress in assessing the extent to which states provide opportunities for residents to enroll in higher education.

College Enrollment Rates for Recent High School Graduates, by Income. At the national level, rates of college enrollment are available by racial group and by income. At the state level, these rates are available by racial group, but not by income. Data about student financial aid packages for college freshmen have improved, but nothing is known at the state level about the family incomes of students who do not apply for (or receive) such aid. Given the changing demographics of college students, information about the family incomes of college-eligible individuals and those who actually enroll is crucial for effective state policymaking. Its absence represents one of the most notable of all the information gaps.

Migration of Students Across States. Information about the state of origin of college freshmen continues to be available. As a result, state-to-state migration of entering students can be determined. Once students enroll, however, federal data collection does not offer a way to track their progress or geographic location. The National Student Clearinghouse (NSC) could be used for this purpose if the protocols for use could be agreed upon nationally. Matching records from multiple state-level record systems has proven possible but arduous. At a time when workforce development is particularly important to state policymakers, the inability to assess migration patterns beyond the freshman year represents a severe handicap.

There has been some progress in tracking the affordability of higher education for students and families, but this progress has not gone nearly far enough.

Unmet Financial Need for Eligible and Qualified Students. The available data estimate unmet financial need on a national basis, but not at the state level. As a consequence, there is still no state-by-state assessment of the extent to which financial factors affect college participation.

Distribution of Student Aid. Since 2000, some progress has been made in calculating financial aid patterns, though the improvements are far from adequate. Data on the amounts of different kinds of aid distributed to freshmen is now available by campus. Still missing, however, are data about the economic circumstances of aid recipients and the extent to which aid packages change as students advance in their college careers. For example, do loans supplant grants after the freshman year in some states more than others? An oversample of 12 states by the National Postsecondary Student Aid Survey in 2004 provided this kind of in-depth information. Until this information is available for all 50 states, however, policymakers will not be able to have a clear picture of college affordability.

Undergraduate Student Loans. In 2000, data about borrowing by graduate and undergraduate students were combined, making it impossible to determine levels of undergraduate borrowing. This problem has been remedied-one of the few areas of clear progress.

Problems remain in assessing whether students are completing their educational programs in a timely manner.

Progression of Individual Students Across Systems and States. Since many students transfer among colleges, it is important to track students across institutions. Many states have data systems that allow such tracking across public institutions in-state, but not across state lines. Data from the National Student Clearinghouse have been analyzed through a pilot effort. While this resource has limitations, it has proven capable of yielding good information for most states. Not all institutions participate, although a majority in most states do. Key data elements have not been available, such as whether a student is enrolled for the first time in college. Since protocols have not been agreed upon nationally to continue the pilot analysis, it must be concluded that no lasting progress has been made in this area.

Degree Completion in Six and Ten Years. Unlike in 2000, all institutions of higher education now report information on the proportion of full-time, first-time students who complete their programs within 150% of program length (six years for bachelor's degrees). Completion rates are also provided for students after four and five years. This is clearly an improvement, but there are still major shortcomings. Six years is too short a time period for many students, particularly working adults. The data cannot track students who transfer between institutions, both in-state and out-of-state. And the data are particularly flawed for community colleges because they fail to account for students who start part-time (the majority of enrollments at many community colleges) and students who transfer to four-year institutions. This is an area where most of the data are available in many states, but not in a way that allows national comparisons. In sum, progress has been made but remains inadequate.

There has been some improvement in tracking the benefits that accrue to states as a result of having an educated population.

Educational Attainment. Two improvements have occurred in assessing whether state residents have a bachelor's degree. First, the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS) now provides much more accurate data about the educational attainment of adults. Secondly, it is now possible to calculate the percentage of college degree holders who were born in the state in which they are living. This provides a basis for comparing states in developing home-grown talent.

Civic Engagement. New information about volunteerism is now available, including comparisons of volunteerism for college graduates and for those without college degrees. Although these data have rather large sampling errors at the state level, some progress has been made.

As in 2000, there are still no common benchmarks that would permit state comparisons of the knowledge and skills of college students. There are isolated instances in which learning outcomes are assessed, such as South Dakota's mandatory exam of rising college juniors. There are assessments that cover portions of the population, such as Graduate Record Examinations (GREs), which test those pursuing graduate study. And there are assessments in selected fields, such as licensure exams in nursing or WorkKeys in selected vocational fields. But there is no nationwide approach to assessing learning that would allow state-to-state comparisons. What energy was available for state assessments in 2000 has been directed to campus-level assessments in 2008, such as the Voluntary System of Accountability. This represents a step backward, not forward.

Adult Skill Levels. In assessing adult skills in the states, there has also been a large step backward. In 1992, the National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL) provided a sufficient survey base to estimate the mastery of higher-level skills among the adult populations of most states. That assessment was re-administered in 2003. In 1992, 13 states participated in an oversample; in 2003, only six states did so. And almost five years later, the data have not been released for secondary analysis. National results indicate lower literacy levels for adults in 2003, but data are unavailable for all but a limited number of states. If states are to improve workforce preparedness, it is crucial that policymakers have access to information about the skill levels of state residents.

Cost Effectiveness
Over the past decade, there has been little progress in assessing state performance in higher education relative to the resources committed to the endeavor. An approach to calculating cost effectiveness was developed by the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS). However, until learning outcomes are available by state, calculating the cost effectiveness of higher education will continue to rely on proxy measures that leave much to be desired.

State leaders and the public need access to objective information to assess and improve higher education. No single entity is at fault for the absence of information about one of the most critical problems facing the nation today; there is plenty of blame to go around. In some areas the states-in others the nation-must provide leadership in developing the data resources for state-by-state analysis. It is time for every state-and the nation-to commit to getting the information needed to advance the educational attainment of the citizenry, and to halt the worrisome slide of the United States vis-à-vis other developed nations in this area.

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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.

New Report By Jane Wellman of Delta Project Critiques College Spending For Student Success

>Jan. 15
>More for Less
>Most college students are carrying a greater
>share of the cost of their education, even as
>institutions spend less on teaching them,
>according to a
>report released today.
>The report, published by the Delta Project
>Postsecondary Education Costs, Productivity, and
>Accountability, gives a potentially troubling
>picture of spending and revenue trends in higher
>education. Spanning from 2002 to 2006, the
>report indicates that tuition hikes have
>resulted in little if any new spending on
>classroom instruction at public research universities.
>"The public's got it exactly right," said Jane
>Wellman, head of the Delta Project. "They are
>jacking up tuition, and they're not re-investing it in quality."
>There's plenty of blame to go around, however,
>for this predicament. With state support waning
>for public colleges, rising tuition dollars are
>merely being used to make up for lost revenue ­
>not for hiring more faculty or taking other
>steps that would arguably improve classroom
>instruction, the report asserts. On the other
>hand, the Delta Project suggests that colleges
>haven't made the hard choices required for
>adapting to lower subsidies, as evidenced by
>relatively small changes in spending levels.
>"The data tell us that the spending patterns are
>not changing, we're just shifting revenue
>sources," Wellman said. "So what this tells us
>is we're not dealing with our cost structures, we're just shifting revenues."
>There's not much evidence to suggest that
>students at public universities are getting more
>for paying more. Between 2002 and 2006, average
>tuition at public research universities
>increased by nearly 27 percent or $1,419, but
>the spending on each student only went up by 1
>percent, or $149. In calculating "education and
>related" spending ­ the dollars spent directly
>on students ­ the Delta Project included
>expenses on instruction and student services.
>Also included in that figure is the per-student
>share of administrative functions tied to
>academics, academic support and operations and maintenance.
>Tuition increases outpaced per-student spending
>even more dramatically at public master's institutions and community colleges.
>Private institutions, on the other hand, are
>charging students more and putting more money
>into instruction at the same time, according to
>the report. At private research institutions,
>for instance, tuition went up by $985, but
>per-student spending actually rose by $1,453.
>Whether that spending translated into a higher
>quality education, however, remains to be seen.
>"This [report] tells us how we spend our money,
>but it doesn't tell us about effectiveness," Wellman said.
>The report does note that community colleges,
>for instance, are able to spend less money per
>student on the path toward graduation. Wellman
>concedes, however, that there's no way to
>determine whether what's gained in savings isn't lost in quality.
>Richard Vedder, a professor of economics at Ohio
>University, applauded the report for shining a
>light on how universities do business. At the
>same time, Vedder lamented that no one has been
>able to demonstrate effectively whether spending
>increases are helping colleges to better educate students.
>"What they have not done [in the report],
>because it's almost impossible to do, is measure
>performance, measure outcomes," said Vedder,
>director of the Center for College Affordability
>and Productivity. "Are the students learning? We
>have very limited ­ almost no ­ measure of outcomes."
>So where is all the money going? At most types
>of institutions, an increasing share of
>"education and related" spending goes toward
>administrative support and student services,
>while instruction ­ including faculty salaries ­
>is falling as a percentage of those expenses.
>Administrative expenses made up the most
>significant share of "education and related"
>expenses at private bachelor's institutions,
>where 44.2 percent of the cost of educating
>students was devoted to administration in 2006, according to the report.
>Data Brings Sunshine
>The greatest value of the Delta Project's report
>may yet to be realized. Leaders of the project,
>which is funded by the Lumina Foundation for
>Education, plan to create a Web-based function
>that will allow users to look at the spending
>and revenue data of individual institutions.
>While the raw data is already public through the
>federal data clearinghouse for higher education,
>known as the Integrated Postsecondary Education
>Data System (IPEDS), the Delta Project hopes to
>create a function that adds context and meaning
>to the often dizzying IPEDS numbers.
>Charles Miller, who chaired the U.S. Secretary
>of Education's Commission on the Future of
>Higher Education, said he welcomes the greater
>sunshine that the Delta Project is bringing to postsecondary education.
>"Unless you have data that's in this kind of
>form, it's very hard to make decisions and
>policy judgments that are objective," he said.
>After reviewing the report, Miller said the
>Delta Project had made a data-driven case for
>reform, without having to use the sometimes
>tough language that's found in many such
>reports, including the one Miller's own commission presented.
>"It doesn't say 'Here are the failings of the
>system,' and a lot of the report is going to
>avoid doing that, but [Wellman] implies it," he said.
>In an interview with Inside Higher Ed, Wellman
>noted that the lack of transparency in higher
>education is a problem in and of itself.
>Institutions are reluctant to engage in much
>introspection about costs, because it raises
>"uncomfortable questions," she said. At a time
>when state support and private giving are sure
>to keep declining, however, it would behoove
>college leaders to closely examine exactly where
>they're getting money and spending money, Wellman said.
>"We're robbing Peter to pay Paul," she said. "We
>better find out who Peter and Paul are.
>viewed online at


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.

Tips For College Sucess and Completion

Essential Tools for College Success :Guest Blogger Holly McCarthy

Over the last several decades, college has become less of an option and more of a necessity in the eyes of high school students around the country. Even reluctant learners know the importance of getting a college education. However, as retention rates continue to be examined, it is clear that many entering freshmen are not up for the rigors of collegiate life. What follows is a brief list of essential tools for college success.

Study Skills

Studying isn’t just something that people do; it is a skill that is developed over time through a variety of avenues. Some study skills are taught in school, while others are tailored to the individual student’s needs through trial and error. The important thing for the student is that he or she has a method for studying materials that will ultimately help them to be successful.

Time Management Skills

The ability to manage time effectively is another thing that many college students haven’t been taught before setting foot on a college campus. Many times, students are accustomed to bells throughout the day to make sure they are on time for classes, as well as constant reminders by teachers about deadlines, homework, etc. For many college students, it is a rude awakening indeed when they are asked to rely on a syllabus (many don’t even know what a syllabus is) for pertinent information regarding a course.

Note-Taking Skills

Similar to study skills, the ability to effectively and efficiently take notes in class is a foreign notion to many entering freshmen. Students need to learn a variety of shorthand or come up with their own set of symbols and abbreviations in order to keep up with the pace of lectures. Knowing what is important to write down and what can be looked up after class is another distinction ill-prepared student are unable to make on their own.

Writing Skills

In the current collegiate environment, many classes are writing intensive; writing skills hold many students back at the college level. Often, entering freshmen operate under the assumption that writing is just for English or literature classes, but nothing could be further than the truth. Writing is used in most college classes because it proves that the students have a working knowledge of information and are able to use this knowledge to analyze and then express their thoughts in an original manner.

Networking Skills

Many modern students will consider this somewhat simple, given their widespread use of social media. However, the ability to talk with others, make contacts, and communicate effectively in-person are all necessary skills that can make or break a college career. While the ability to use technology for networking purposes is a good skill to have, it is not the preferred mode of communication for many professors on campus.

This post was contributed by Holly McCarthy, who writes on the subject of a college degree. She invites your feedback at hollymccarthy12 at gmail dot com

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.

Part 2 Of Interview With NEA President Dennis Van Roekel

NEA President has made an important statement on the need for a union role in forging closer relationships between k-12 and postsecondary education. He signals a change in NEA activities to link members from k-12 and postsecondary to obtain better outcomes for students. Part 1 was on his strategy and goals. This part has a deeper look at tactics.
NEA: Will K-12 members be interested in NEA playing a larger role in higher
education policy nationally?
DENNIS VAN ROEKEL: Is it possible for higher education to survive and thrive
in America and have K-12 collapse? The answer is no, I don’t belie
possible. Can K-12 flourish and succeed if higher education doesn’t? No, of course
not. Once you start seeing the relationship, that we’re in this together, I think it’s
much easier.
Making connections between higher education and K-12 is not such a new
idea. Think of the National Defense Education Act of 1958. A lot of that
investment was in creating ways for higher education to interact with K-12. The
science institutes are one example. These were six-week sessions held in the
summer, in which higher education faculty in science and math helped K-12
teachers keep up to date with developments in their disciplines, which of course
helped them do a better job in their classrooms. So it really was, again, an example
of this natural connection.
THOUGHT & ACTION: Are there legitimate differences in the interest of K-12
NEA members and higher education members? And, at the same time, are there
areas where our interests coincide?
DENNIS VAN ROEKEL: I think the one thing that is fundamentally different is
how we’re funded. This affects a lot of things, and in some cases puts us in
competition with one another.
Without going into a lot of detail, the Reagan policies in the 1980s of cutting
federal aid to the states left the states in a serious financial bind. The cutbacks
made it tough for them to balance their budgets. It’s another thing that drove
higher ed and K-12 apart. As the states took care of the required funding of K-12,
higher education saw double-digit cuts in state funding and, consequently, higher
tuition.What you ended up with in a number of states is higher education and K-
12 going to the governors and legislatures and battling over scarce resources.
We also ended up with a college affordability problem, which remains a huge
issue right now. At the very time when we’re saying more and more students need
to have access to training and education beyond high school, higher education is
becoming less and less affordable to more and more students.
On the other hand, I think our members in higher education and K-12 agree
on the importance of providing quality education to all students at all levels. I used
to talk about the American Dream with my students. Sometimes they would act
as if I was corny or old-fashioned—but I did it anyway. I believe in the American
Dream. And our members believe that the foundation of that dream is education.
They also know that quality education from birth through graduate school is what
our students will need to reach that dream in the future. So, K-12 and higher
education interests definitely are aligned. How we accomplish what we’re all trying
to do may vary because of different systems a
THOUGHT & ACTION: Do you have any advice for higher ed members on how
to work more effectively with their K-12 colleagues in their state associations?
DENNIS VAN ROEKEL: Yes, get involved. Provide support. Take action. The
model of the Advisory Committee on Membership that we formed back in 1992,
when the organization went through what we called the streamlining process, is a
wonderful concept. The committee is made up of seven higher education
members, seven education support professionals, and seven K-12 members, as well
as one retired and one student representative. The idea is, instead of always having
separate committees or different constituency groups, or (in this group) levels of
education, there’s a point where you have to be in the same room—not
proportionally, but all with the same voice—saying, “How do we make this one
organization?” I think we need to make that happen in more places.
THOUGHT & ACTION: Are there specific ways that someone at, say, a
community college in a particular place might connect with the local school
district members?
DENNIS VAN ROEKEL: In any state where they’re forming these P-16 or P-20
councils, I think there’s a natural place for the leadership of both higher education
and K-12 to work together and collaborate in the interests of improving education
for students in their states. Another thing—we always want someone else to
understand our issues. And, as an organization, we do that a lot. It’s just as
important to understand the other person’s issues. K-12 must reach out and
understand the issues from the higher education perspective, and vice versa. The
only way you can really advocate effectively is when you know each other’s
interests. That takes communication and collaboration, and getting together and
supporting each other.
THOUGHT & ACTION: Moving from the general to a more specific issue that
our members are dealing with in some places, how do we, within the
Association, resolve competition between K-12 members and higher education
members on such things as dual enrollment courses?
DENNIS VAN ROEKEL: One of the things that gets us in that situation is we’re
reacting to someone else’s idea. A better way of dealing with that kind of issue is
to get out in front of it. Let’s work together and figure out together how to make
this work, both for students and for us. And then, we can go advocate with a
common voice and also respond to other agendas.
But if we don’t take the time to say what makes sense from each of of

perspectives on a particular issue, we end up reacting to someone else’s proposal.
This is one more reason it makes sense for us to come together.
These dual-enrollment initiatives are happening everywhere. I often wonder
whether the right questions are being asked as these initiatives are taking place. As a
math teacher, the example I always use is, for years there was a debate about whether
students should be allowed to use calculators in the classroom. I think it was the
wrong question. Would any one of us balance our checkbook without a calculator?
The right question should have been, when do you want students to use calculators
and when not? So, as we face these changes, are we asking the right questions?
THOUGHT & ACTION: What are some of the questions we should be asking?
DENNIS VAN ROEKEL: Where does the money flow, and who gets it? Should a
college offer online courses free to a high school student and charge a college
student? And what are the standards? If you’re the college faculty member
teaching a course, you have academic freedom. But someone else—a high school
teacher, for example—doesn’t. Can this work?
I’ve read enough on systems change to know that it’s far more important to ask
the right questions than it is to try and get the right answers. Because if you have
the wrong questions, it really doesn’t make any difference what your answers are.
A sea change is underway in how the nation educates its students. Higher
education and K-12 need to ask, how do we see this transformation working for
us, for students, and for the country as a whole?
THOUGHT & ACTION: To move to our final topic, how does the Association
address questions in the larger society? What role do you see the Association
playing nationally in the creation of this pre-K to graduate school seamless web?
DENNIS VAN ROEKEL: I would hope that we play a much bigger role than we
have in the past, and to do this, we have to be willing to reach beyond our own
“borders.” Sometimes we talk among ourselves and think we have an answer. Then
we expect the rest of the world to just accept it. That model doesn’t work.We have
to go out and talk to people who don’t necessarily agree with us. And we have to
reach out and build a common understanding with people who see the world
differently than we do. I think that’s a critical area for us in the future.
THOUGHT & ACTION: You mentioned college affordability as a critical issue,
would you elaborate on that.
DENNIS VAN ROEKEL: I don’t know where I saw this, but the picture remains
in my head: It was a chart listing low, medium, and high academic achievement
for various socioeconomic groupings.What the chart showed was that the highest
academic achievers in the low-income group had the same probability of going to
college as the lowest academic achievers in the wealthiest group. Affordability is
the main reason we’re not giving these bright kids an opportunity to go to college.
THOUGHT & ACTION: At different times in history, NEA had a tremendous
influence on educational policy at all levels in the United States. Are we still
influential in terms of influencing policy? And, if we’re not, how do we get there?
DENNIS VAN ROEKEL: I’m not satisfied with the level of influence NEA has on
educational policy. How we get there, I think, is through our collective voice. And,
there’s not just one way to do that. Part of it is through bargaining. Part of it is
through political action. Part of it is building partnerships. Those are the routes to
securing influence and shaping outcomes.
We have to have influence at the federal level because so much could be
accomplished there, and that’s what NEA can do for higher education, as well as
I loved it, the first time I heard someone say, “We have the National Institutes
of Health. What if we had the National Institutes of Educational Research?”
States don’t have the capacity or the resources to do all of their own research in
educational practice.Wouldn’t it be great if the federal government did that? Sixty
million dollars a year in the federal budget is nothing. With a
10-year commitment, we could really do some incredible work. We could, for
example, delve into the scholarship of teaching and develop authentic assessments,
so we really do know if students are learning.
THOUGHT & ACTION: I think you’ve answered this question in various ways,
but I’ll ask it specifically:What do you see in the future for the relationship of
K-12 and higher education within NEA?
DENNIS VAN ROEKEL: I think it’s going to get much stronger. We’ve made
progress in identifying how best to organize in the higher ed community. But we’ll
have to do more.We need to ask what do we change as an institution in order to
organize and service higher education most effectively, at the same time we’re
providing for K-12? Maybe there are more connections than we realize. But, the
way the world is changing, there’s a need for all of us—pre-K, K-12, higher
education—to be working together. So we’re going to have to do it well.


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.

New NEA President Charts New Direction For Connecting K12 With Higher Education

New NEA President Dennis Van Roekel in the latest edition of the journal Thought Into Action has an interview that indicates a major change in NEA effort to link the two levels of education. Part 1 of the interview is below. Part 2 is in next blog.

Dennis Van Roekel, a 23-year teaching veteran and
longtime activist and advocate for quality education,
became president of the 3.2 million-member
National Education Association in September.
Prior to his election at this year’s Representative Assembly, the high school math teacher
from Paradise Valley High School in Phoenix, Arizona, served two terms each as NEA Vice
President and NEA Secretary-Treasurer and has held key positions in all levels of the Association.
During his time as an NEA leader, Van Roekel showed a keen awareness of higher education issues
and an ongoing interest in enhancing the role of higher education within the Association.
An Interview with
NEA President
Dennis Van Roe
SPECIAL FOCUS: The Seamless Web of Education: Pre-K to Graduate School
THOUGHT & ACTION: The pre-K to graduate school concept, the seamless
web of education.What does it mean?
DENNIS VAN ROEKEL To many practitioners, it means starting with pre-school
and creating one interrelated educational experience for a student, all the way
through graduate school. I think much of the research on learning that’s been going
on now suggests we should think of education as a lifelong process—from birth
through graduate school and beyond. All of those committed to this principle must
work to strengthen the linkages between pre-K-12 and higher education.
THOUGHT & ACTION: Is education different now than it was, say, 50 years ago,
so that we have to look at it differently?
DENNIS VAN ROEKEL: The world has changed, and we have to change.When
you think about what our system of education was designed to do, 50 years ago or
100 years ago, compared to now, we’re preparing students for a very different world.
For example, look at the number of new jobs that are going to require education
and training beyond high school. Fifty years ago, if you finished high school, you
were done. Your education was completed, and you went to work. Only a small
percentage of high school graduates went on to college. Now it’s much different.
THOUGHT & ACTION: Are we talking about a complete restructuring of
education in the United States?
DENNIS VAN ROEKEL: The word I like to use is transformation. Education is
moving into its next natural phase. It’s not that someone has done anything wrong.
The world has changed, and we need to think how we—educators—can also
change, to serve the needs of students. Sometimes, people focus on the system,
rather than who it’s designed to serve.When you think about education from the
point of a student, it makes a great deal of sense to have a seamless process, instead
of the disconnected systems we have now.
THOUGHT & ACTION: What role are educators, actual educators, playing in
this restructuring, and is it a prominent enough role?
DENNIS VAN ROEKEL: It’s not prominent enough. We’re not invited to the
table, in many instances, and we should be. But, it’s also our responsibility to talk
about what is needed from our professional point of view.
The Partnership for 21st Century Skills, in which NEA plays a prominent
role, is an affirmative movement to articulate a vision for 21st century learning,
with authentic standards in learning and, just as important, systems that will
T&A08 n-VanRoekel interview layout 11/6/08 10:11 AM Page 92
enable students to meet those standards. Standards-based education is not a good
solution when you have the wrong standards in place. So we need to get these
things right in the formative stages. And as we look forward, we as educators
should have a clear idea about what we are preparing our students to do in 10
years. Not only must we be invited to these discussions, we should advocate our
own solutions about what kind of educational transformation is needed, based on
how we see the world changing around us.
THOUGHT & ACTION: Some see the move to align higher education and K-12
as an attempt to bring the standardization and teach-to-the-test mentality of
the No Child Left Behind Act to higher education. Is there a danger that the
seamless web of education will mean higher education develops the undesirable
standardization that plagues K-12?
DENNIS VAN ROEKEL: I know that fear exists. And there are moves to
standardize certain aspects of higher education. Our affiliates in Wisconsin,
Wyoming, and South Dakota are currently struggling with standardization efforts
in terms of curriculum and academics.Obviously, we must pay careful attention to
anything that moves us in that direction. The best way for faculty to respond to
decisions that threaten their traditional responsibilities is to get involved in P-16
or P-21 initiatives and be part of the decision-making that’s taking place.
Ultimately, I believe the potential to maximize student success by aligning higher
education and K-12 should outweigh the fears.
THOUGHT & ACTION: Are there examples of where this seamless web venture
is working for students?
DENNIS VAN ROEKEL: Currently, the pre-K to G initiative is not a well-defined
concept. You have to look at the programs state by state. It’s not fair to assume
they’re all the same and then try to assign a value of either good or bad to them.
You have to evaluate them individually and promote the good ones and oppose the
ones that won’t work so well.
One initiative I’ve come across that intrigues me is in Connecticut. It’s called
the CommPACT, and it’s a partnership of parents, the community, teachers
unions, the College of Education at the University of Connecticut, and the NEA
Foundation focused on closing the achievement gaps in eight inner-city schools.
This kind of effort is an important component of the seamless web.We often
think of the pre-K to G movement as the transition of students from high school
to college. Maybe you go to college a year earlier or you earn credit while you’re
T&A08 n-VanRoekel interview layout 11/6/08 10:11 AM Page 93
SPECIAL FOCUS: The Seamless Web of Education: Pre-K to Graduate School
still in high school. But I think of it as much more than that.
In the CommPACT initiative, faculty from the University of Connecticut will
work side by side with teachers. And the most critical component is that the
decision-making takes place at the building level. So the College of Education
comes in and says, “Here are the three programs or curricula that we found, based
on our research, have a positive impact on closing achievement gaps at the early
ages. Which of these do you want to use?” Then the university faculty, the
teachers, and the community work together to make the programs effective. That’s
a very different way of working proactively and viewing how the pieces all fit
together. And I think that’s exciting.
THOUGHT & ACTION: Why should NEA higher ed members be concerned
about pre-K to graduate school initiatives?
DENNIS VAN ROEKEL: The vast majority of our K-12 members were trained in
those colleges and universities where our higher education members teach.That’s one
big connection. The vast majority of students our higher education members are
teaching come through our K-12 system. The interdependence just seems so obvious.
THOUGHT & ACTION: Some of our NEA members in higher education feel
that they will not be at the table when NEA makes decisions about the seamless
web. Are these fears justified?
DENNIS VAN ROEKEL: No, higher education members will be at the table
within our organization. One of the things that I think works against NEA being
seen as a pre-K to G organization is that the largest concentration of our higher
education members are in very few states. More than 80 percent of NEA’s higher
education members are in 10 states. That leaves a whole lot of states that don’t
have higher education members and, consequently, just aren’t aware of higher
education issues. Somehow, we have to increase the awareness in those states of
the importance of higher education.
Last year, the Advisory Committee on Membership dealt with the
question: What would NEA have to do to really be seen as an organization that
speaks for pre-K to G? We need to keep working at that. As we talk about a
seamless web of education, we need to make sure our higher ed members are
involved. I would love for the outside world to see NEA as an organization of all
educators, representing all levels, including universities and colleges.
T&A08 n-VanRoekel interview layout 11/6/08 10:11 AM Page 94
THOUGHT & ACTION: Could you talk more about the charge you gave to the
Advisory Committee on Membership, to help define NEA as the voice of
higher education. How do you see that progressing?
DENNIS VAN ROEKEL: The subcommittee on higher education members
completed the first draft, and they were ready to take it to the next draft. I know
they could have done it in another two or three meetings. But I said, please don’t.
What we need to do is to find a way to build this conversation with others beyond
the advisory committee.
I don’t believe the way NEA becomes an organization that is truly pre-K
to G is by someone defining the answer and giving it to everyone else. That’s how
it works now. There needs to be a process that actually engages people. Through
engagement, we need to enable states that don’t have members in higher education
to understand how NEA becoming a pre-K to G organization affects them, and
vice versa. Everyone needs to understand that we—pre-K, K-12, higher
education—are in this together. But that understanding comes through engaging
people—you can’t just tell them.
THOUGHT & ACTION: Do you see a possibility of the entire organization
engaging or taking part in this discussion?
DENNIS VAN ROEKEL: Absolutely. The only way it will ever become an
organizational issue is if the whole organization talks about it. But this presents
challenges. I have to find ways to get into conversations with the Board of
Directors about seeing ourselves as a pre-K through G organization. There have
to be conversations between K-12 and higher education. We don’t do enough of
that. Regional conferences, for example, have very little in the area of higher
education programming. How do you change that? And, if you’re in a region that
has very few higher education members, who would go to a session if it’s seen only
as higher education? We’ve got to find a way around that. In addition, NEA will
have to do more in the policy area of higher education if we’re to be taken seriously
as a pre-K to G organization. Our voice needs to be heard dealing with policy
issues and other questions for higher education on a national level. This is a key
role of the national organization.


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.

California Middle Grades Study Will Examine College Preparation And Much More

Last blog featured an ACT study that found a profound impact of middle grade education upon college preparation and student success in college. Edsource in California is conducting a large study of middle grades schools as described below. I am part of the research team along with study director Trish Williams of Edsource and Stanford Professor Ed Haertel
Research Questions and Purpose
• What school-wide middle grades practices and policies exist in California schools?
• How do these practices and policies differ between K–8, 7–8, and 6–8 school configurations?
• How do they differ between schools serving low income versus middle income students?
• What district/school-wide and subject area practices and policies appear to differentiate higher from lower performing middle grades serving similar student populations?

One strength of this study is that it will survey schools with differing grade configurations at the middle grades level, as well as schools serving primarily low income families as well as those serving primarily middle income families. The study will be large scale, gathering survey responses from hundreds of principals and thousands of teachers in hundreds of different school districts across California. In addition to large total numbers, we will have survey responses from the district to the principal to the classroom teacher (ELA and math). Survey responses from teachers within a school, between teachers and the principal, and between the school and the district can be examined. Another strength is that where possible the survey items have response scales that will measure intensity. There are, however, many limitations to this kind of study. Although the analysis may find strong correlations between some practices and student outcomes on California’s Standards Tests, it is not a best practices or case study. Also, because the survey will cover a broad range of middle grades approaches and practices, it won’t delve deeply and narrowly into any one particular practice area.

We hope the study will generate interest in improving middle grades instruction and will help inform discussion among educators and policymakers who are working to improve the educational attainment of middle grades students. We also hope the study reveals areas worthy of more in-depth examination.

Research Sample and Methodology
The research team will survey K-8, 6-8, and 7-8 schools in two different bands of the School’s Characteristics Index: the 20th-35th percentile band (schools serving predominantly students from low income families) and the 70-85th percentile band (schools serving predominantly students from middle income families). The two samples combined include 525 schools housed in over 300 different districts across California. Over two dozen of these schools are charters. We are soliciting the participation of all the schools within these two samples with a goal of getting 50% or more of schools in both samples to agree to complete and return the principal, teacher, and district surveys.

We will ask every participating school to return a completed principal survey. We also ask that a minimum of 60% of each school’s English Language Arts and Math teachers return completed surveys. A small number of questions about English learner instruction will be folded into all surveys. Later in the spring, district superintendents (or CEOs of charter management organizations) of participating schools will also be asked to complete a short survey.

EdSource will utilize a survey administration process that ensures that schools can keep survey responses confidential from other staff at the school or district. In addition, EdSource will ensure that at no time will the names of participating individuals or the names of participating districts and schools be released publicly.

This study will focus on concrete practices, policies, and actions at the school level, but it will also gather information about district and classroom variables. The research team has conducted a review of available literature on middle grades issues, as well as of reports issued by various California and national organizations, and model programs, articulating various effective middle grades approaches. The survey questions are framed by this literature, but have been further operationalized to be relevant to the current standards-based K–12 education policy context and expectations in California.

The middle grades conceptual domains framing the surveys, and the survey questions themselves, have been reviewed by consultants and volunteer advisors: middle grades knowledgeable researchers (both national and in California), K–12 educators, and state policymakers.

In addition to surveying superintendents, principals, and ELA and math teachers at the middle grades level, the research team may follow-up the surveys with a more limited number of interviews for the primary purpose of adding clarity, rich context, or deeper understanding to the survey results.

Plan of Analysis
By conducting a large-scale survey of schools across California serving 7th and 8th graders, the research team seeks to document the variety of middle grades approaches, practices, and policies, and the status and intensity of their implementation, currently in place in the state.
Further, we will use regression and other analyses, and other statistical methods, to identify middle grades practices and policies that are most strongly correlated with stronger student performance (overall, and for student subgroups) on the California Standards Tests after controlling for demographic and other student differences. We may also look at other middle grades student outcomes depending upon the availability of the data. The surveys and sampe have been designed to enable various sub-analyses if they appear fruitful. If useful longitudinal student data is available we will develop a plan for its use.

Survey data responses will be keyed in by hand by research and evaluation staff at WestEd (under contract with EdSource), who will create a data file for the research team. The data file of the survey responses will be merged with student outcome, school performance and other data from the California Department of Education.

The research team will construct composite school-level variables to capture critical aspects of schools' policies and practices; and the team will examine correlations of both individual survey items and composites with a school's student achievement on the various middle grades California Standards Tests (mean scale scores) and other measures. Next steps will involve multivariate modeling to identify broad factors predicting school success, for middle grades schools in general and also for important subsets of schools (e.g., schools with different grade configurations, charter schools, schools serving students from differing socio-economic backgrounds, and others).
The full analysis plan will be developed, with input from a variety of technical and other research advisors, in the spring of 2009 as the completed surveys are being retrieved.
Financial Support for the Study
Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix, is funding this large-scale survey of California middle grades schools.

Preliminary Study Timeline 2008–10
September–October 2008–09
Organize core research team, recruit consultants and advisors, review middle grades research and reform reports, develop survey framework.
November – January 2008-09
Send Survey Framework to consultants and advisors for review and input; develop survey items and get practitioner input on questions for ELA, Math, and ELD instruction; finalize and format survey; contact districts and schools to request participation in study.
January–March 2009
Confirm participating schools and districts; print, mail, and retrieve school-level teacher and principal surveys; input responses into data file. Develop more detailed analysis plan based upon survey composites and items and student outcome data available from the state. Start survey for superintendents.
April–June 2009
Finalize superintendent survey, mail and retrieve.
Begin analysis of data with input from technical advisors.
July–October 2009
Continue analysis. Convene stakeholder and consultants advisory group for feedback on initial findings. Begin to draft sections of research report and appendices.
Early November 2009
Report of study’s initial general findings released to the media, policymakers, and general public; also mailed to all participating schools and districts.
January–May 2010

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.

Performance in Middle Grades Strong Predictor Of College Success

A 2008 ACT report, "The Forgotten Middle" ( finds that under current conditions the level of achievement that students attain by eight grade has a larger impact on their college and career readiness by the time they graduated from high school than anything that happens academically in high school. This includes family background, high school course work , and high school grade point average. ACT uses its 8th grade explore test for grade 8 and follows up with its grade 10 and 11 tests. Students who fall off the college prep track in middle school have a hard time recovering, but there are some student behaviors in high school that ACt finds can help.
I am part of a team doing a large scale survey of middle schools in California. More on this study in next blog, but our inital finding is how shallow the research base is on middle grades. Researchers have much more work completed on elementary and high schools, but there is no educational reason for this.

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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.

Accountability Weak For High School Transition To College

K-12 schools are loaded with testing and federal and state accountability, but not for post high school outcomes. According to Achieve Inc only 7 states hold high schools acountable for completing a college or career ready curriculum. Student Attainment of a statewide college and career ready test score is not used in any state, but Texas is implementing this soon. Only 2 states have any high school accountability for placemnt in college remediation.
Many states are working on k-16 aligned curriculum content standards , but these will have little impact if there is no accountability to back them up.

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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.

Data Gaps Hinder Measurement of College Prep and Success

A recent blog summarized the findings of Measuring Up by the National Center For Public Policy and Higher Education. Each state receives grades on key indicators of college success such as college preparation In an interview the prime author Pat Callan pointed out that much of the information the government collects is about a diminishing part of the college population - first time, full time students who remain at the same institution throughout their college careers. Moreover, the federal government cannot track a students academic, enrollment , or financial aid history as they progress or change colleges.Fewer states participate in government surveys of high school course taking patterns.
This is an urgent issue for the incoming Obama administration. Less than half of college enrollment from high school is full time.


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.

How To Spend College Money To Increase Student Success

This is a follow up to the last blog and the Change Magazine article by Jane Wellman,"Spending More, Getting Less''. Her recommendations are :1.set sharp edged goals for degree attainment 2.look at college spending allocations and student services to align with goals. 3.reduce excess student credits and shorten the time to degree 4.improve public accountability for costs 5. improve governing board oversight of spending for student

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