This article describes how policy actors used different types of evidence in college completion policymaking in Texas. The article also reports on the role intermediary organizations played in this policy process and reveals a new tactic these groups use to supply information to higher education stakeholders and policymakers: shaming institutions and states into improving college completion rates.
Performance-based funding programs have become a popular state policy strategy for increasing college completions, among other things. This study asks, To what extent does the introduction of performance funding programs impact two-year degree completion among participating states? Using a difference-in-differences technique, we find that the program had no effect on average and mixed results for the individual states. We conclude that the policy is not a “silver bullet” for improving community college completions.
Examination of the political origins of state performance funding for higher education in six states (Florida, Illinois, Missouri, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Washington) and the lack of its development in another two states (California and Nevada).
This article analyzes why half the states that have adopted performance funding for higher education later abandoned such funding. The analysis is based on case studies of three states that abandoned performance funding in whole or in part (Missouri, Washington, and Florida) and one that has maintained it for more than 30 years (Tennessee).
This article provides perspective on laws mandating openness in higher education, describes differences in the laws across states, and reports on select findings from a study that we conducted on the impacts of the laws on public colleges and universities nationally. The article seeks to contribute to a growing body of literature on information policy and its uses in society, in this case, how the public information laws of state governments influence the climate of data access and decision-making in public higher education.
Recent educational policy developments have sought to raise the academic rigor of students’ high school experiences to increase student preparation for postsecondary education. The expansion of credit-based transition programs (CBTPs), both in number and in the type of student served, represents one such strategy. The research question guiding this study was, Through what mechanisms might credit-based transition programs encourage student success in postsecondary education? Five in-depth qualitative case studies were conducted. The case study data demonstrated that our initial conceptual model oversimplified program structure and the interaction among program components. The model was refined to reflect that complexity and to take student motivation into account. The final model hypothesizes that student participation in college coursework and support services, along with the attendant growth in academic skills, knowledge of the social aspects of college, and motivation, will lead students to matriculate into postsecondary education.
A large number of community college students have difficulty with postsecondary-level reading, writing, and math demands, necessitating remedial education. This often leads to a struggle between the access mission of the traditionally open-door community college and the drive to protect educational standards.
As a part of the American Association of University Women's national eelucation program this study was undertaken as a service in the fulfillment of the national purpose of the Association—to promote high standards in education. It was stimulated by two definite needs: to furnish the facts concerning the status of the liberal-arts college in changing education; and to obtain, through a systematic, comprehensive survey, data sufficient for forming judgments as to the worth of the new ventures, since published sporadic reports and announcements have not indicated the scope or quality of them.
"What's all the shootin' for?" may well be the query of one who left college no more than ten years ago and has read only a few of the hundreds of articles and the dozens of books published during the last two years on numerous phases of higher education. If this current literature were critical merely in the destructive sense, limited to denunciation of past and current practices, it would be significant only in its amount as an augury of improvement. This current literature, however, is much more significant than the carping of a few congenital critics, of whom each generation has its share, because we have long since passed through the initial stage of destructive criticism and are well advanced in a period of change resulting from constructive criticism.
From the wealth of material generously submitted in the study undertaken by the American Association of University Women it has been our endeavor to seloet and present in this chapter descriptions of those changes and experiments which seem most unusual, outstanding, and important, in the sense that they contribute material or technique of significance to the improvement of liberal-arts education.
The original plan for evaluating the changes and experiments reported called for an order of merit arrangement, by each member of the National Advisory Committee, of the changes that seemed to promise most for the improvement of liberal-arts education. It was thought that this would afford a composite arrangement representing the consensus of a group well experienced in educational experimentation and would therefore be of value.
A fundamental change, based upon a recognition of individual differences, began when we became interested in the development of the intellectual life of each student rather than in the monstrous size of our colleges. That change may seem at this time natural enough; we are no longer astonished by the various departures from mass instruction to individual education attempted by many of our school units.
Since a comprehensive criticism of American and English higher education was made by Flexner in 1930 and a searching study of the liberal college in America and England by Richardson in 1924, it is fitting that this chapter should be limited to comment on those points of difference in American and English college practices that appear most important to one with English university training who has had enough experience in teaching American undergraduates in colleges of liberal arts and graduates of these institutions in advanced work to acquire insight into the significance of the differences in the two types of training.
How shall one go about the business of experimenting in a liberal college? That is a question which, so far as I can see, does not now admit of answer. Most of us who are trying to experiment are as yet so much excited by the opportunity given us, so fundamentally surprised by our good fortune, that we have bad neither the time nor the mood for reflection upon our procedure. We are busy, as it were, making hay while the sun shines, and with rather lively fear that the rains may come again before the barns have been filled.
A picture of "the true liberal-arts college of the modern age," as some leading educators envision it, emerged from the Cnrriculum Conference held at Rollins College during the latter part of January, 1931.
The content of the foregoing chapters affords a sampling of the kind of experimentation and changes that may be found in the liberal-arts college. As seen therein, the colleges have made noteworthy attempts to deal with the problem of a more effective intellectual life for the students. Their experiments have challenged students to venture in education and have added interest and zest to the process. To be sure, in their zealousness over the development of newer practices, not all the colleges have stopped to consider the qualitative value of the various practices and the philosophy of higher education they imply. But this, of course, is not so significant for their educational development as the fact that liberal colleges have been willing to change.
It is the purpose of this bibliography to supplement, rather than to duplicate, numerous excellent bibliographies in the field of higher education that are available, some of which are listed in Section III of this chapter; at the same time it is the purpose to present a fairly complete list of the more valuable books and articles dealing with changes and experiments that have taken place in liberal-arts education during comparatively recent years.
The deterioration of college affordability has contributed significantly to the persistent disparities among ethnic groups in higher education opportunity and attainment—and to the nation’s failure to make progress in closing gaps between low-income Americans and others in college participation and completion. The affordability issue has national, state, and institutional dimensions.
While the prevalence of remediation has generated widespread concern about the college readiness of our nation’s high school graduates, comparatively little attention has been paid to how “readiness” is actually determined. At most community colleges and at many nonselective four-year colleges, readiness is determined by scores on short standardized math and English placement tests. This commentary describes research finding that assignment to remedial or college-level courses based on standardized placement exams results in large numbers of placement errors, and that incorporating high school transcript information would lead to fewer assignments to remediation while maintaining or increasing success rates in college-level Math and English.
This commentary reflects on the need to establish a national policy on education so that there is a clear understanding of our national priority and appropriate roles for states and the federal government.
Cultivating an ecosystem of new and better schools is a lot like gardening. It takes tilling (creating a policy environment that allows for new schools), seeding (starting schools with the necessary human capital to flourish), and weeding (regulation).
This piece argues that to prepare for Higher Education Act reauthorization, the research and policy community need more than just student and institution-level data: We need to dig deeper into how the Department of Education administers the federal financial aid programs.