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EDUCATIONAL AND STUDENT TRENDS

  • Report: Reclaiming the American Dream. The overall goal of the 21st-Century Initiative by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) is to educate an additional 5 million students with degrees, certificates, or other credentials by 2020. In Phase 1, AACC staff gathered information from across the nation on student access, institutional accountability, budget constraints, big ideas for the future, and what AACC can do for its members. The 21st-Century Commission on the Future of Community Colleges represents Phase 2 of the AACC effort. Recognizing that emerging challenges require unprecedented vision, ingenuity, courage, and focus from community colleges, the Commission was asked both to safeguard the fundamental mission of the community college—ensuring that millions of diverse and often underserved students attain a high-quality college education—and to challenge community colleges to imagine a new future for themselves, to ensure the success of our students, our institutions, and our nation. In this investigation, everything was to be put on the table, including the issues of the nation’s prosperity and its global competitiveness, community college student success and completion rates, equity of access and outcomes across student groups, public accountability for institutional performance and student success, and effectiveness and efficiency in preparing students for real jobs paying family-supporting wages. This report is the culmination of that effort.
  • The Future of Community Colleges. Many residential university campuses will basically cease to exist over the next few decades replaced by MOOCs and other technology-driven forms of mass learning. Community colleges, too, could outsource many of their courses via MOOCs, but five areas in which they will excel, and which make it unlikely that they will be disappearing anytime soon, are the following: 
       1. Work-force development and training.
       2. Remedial education.
       3. Online education.
       4. Classroom teaching.
       5. Economic value. 
  • Nursing Schools Reinventing Recruitment. Nursing schools devise alternate ways to attract faculty amidst the nation’s nursing shortage. Schools are rethinking and redesigning their traditional recruiting and retention strategies. Their solutions are quite varied, ranging from creating e-jobs and dual appointments to sharing existing faculty. 
  • Predicting Student Success: Beyond the Traditional Approach. By transitioning from a risk-based model for predicting student enrollment and retention to a success-based model, you can look across the student life cycle to identify not only the factors that impede desired outcomes such as yield and student retention, but also the factors that contribute to those outcomes. Here are articles and a complimentary recorded webcast to help unpack this approach. 
  • Why Rethinking Developmental Education is a Priority. Academic leaders at two-year and four-year institutions offer effective alternative approaches to traditional remedial education. These institutions have seen significant gains in completion and retention rates by accelerating the developmental track and replacing prerequisite coursework with corequisite support.
  • Rise of Customized Learning. Western Governors U. and others continue to expand competency-based education amid excitement (and confusion) about President Obama's praise of the approach.
  • Assessing Student Learning Outcomes: Surveys Aren’t Enough. 89% of student affairs professionals rely on surveys as their primary means of collecting data to assess student learning – but there are more direct ways to collect the data needed. John Hoffman explains. 
  • College Readiness in the United States. Pearson recently released a series of infographics that explore pre-college, entry/assessment/placement, and developmental education. Pearson found that 75 percent of students are college commuters, often juggling families, jobs and school, 50 percent of students seeking an associate degree require remediation, and 20.7 percent of students seeking a bachelor degree require remediation.
  • The Value of an Online College Education. A 2013 survey of past, present and future online college students reveals the high value of an online college education. By offering degrees online, college open their doors to a whole new student population.
  • OECD Review of Vocational Education and Training. This OECD report (“A Skills Beyond School Review of the United States”) recommends ways for career and technical education to have better and more predictable outcomes. Its recommendations include: substantially strengthening quality assurance in postsecondary education and its links to title IV student aid; establishing a quality standard for certifications; and obtaining better data on both certifications and certificates. 
  • 2013 Community College Rankings. Based on CCSSE results, Persistence, 3-Year Graduation/Transfer Rates, and Number of Credentials Awarded per 100 FTE Students, Washington Monthly Magazine has produced the 2013 Community College Rankings. Only one college from Texas (Texas State Technical College, Marshall) appears in the list of top 50 community colleges. 
  • Texas Institutions Announce Competency-Based Program. Texas A&M University-Commerce and South Texas College will next spring launch a competency-based degree program in organization leadership. The programs will be created in cooperation with Pearson, which will create online courses totaling 90 credit hours. Pearson estimates the program will enroll 250 students in its inaugural semester -- a number that will grow to more than 6,000 students by 2019.
  •  GAO Looks at Remedial Education Ideas. This Government Accountability Office report takes a look at several states and community colleges' efforts to improve developmental education, including: helping students prepare for placement tests and working with local high schools to align curricula. However, it’s not clear whether remedial education reforms are boosting student success rates, the report concluded. 
  • Higher Education in 2020. What will higher education look like in 2020? A new report from the Britain-based Observatory on Borderless Higher Education draws on interviews with 21 international education professionals in an attempt to answer just that. Here are a few of its main findings. 
  • Who's Going to (and Graduating) from College. These 7 charts on enrollment and completion rates by race, gender, and household income depict several datasets that suggest a higher education landscape that is struggling to respond to demographic changes in the broader U.S. populace.
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  •  Federal Policy Priorities. This Lumina Foundation statement of federal policy priorities is intended to prompt discussion about how higher education needs to change, and what the federal government can do to help bring about those changes. The priorities discussed are (1) Support the creation and expansion of transparent pathways to high-quality degrees and other credentials; (2) Ensure that postsecondary education is affordable to all who need it; and (3) Assure the quality of credentials and providers in terms of student learning.