April/May Articles of Interest for Higher Education Professionals

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The Association for Institutional Research shared the following publications of interest for higher education professionals. Click on the titles to access the full articles. These article summaries are credited to the Electronic AIR Newsletter (April 2013 edition).

Adaptability to Online Learning: Differences Across Types of Students and Academic Subject Areas (Jim Lynch)

The Community College Research Center (CCRC) study, Adaptability to Online Learning: Differences Across Types of Students and Academic Subject Areas, reports students enrolled in face-to-face courses achieve higher retention rates and better grade-point averages compared to students enrolled in online courses; furthermore, black students, males, younger students, and students with poor academic records were more susceptible to weaker performance in online courses. The study suggests postsecondary institutions need to take a hard look at how to improve the quality of the online course experience, ensuring that “learning outcomes are equal to those of face-to-face courses, regardless of the composition of the students enrolled…” Colleges must prepare students to take online courses, especially during their formative exposure to distance education – for example, a growing number of institutions require students to take a prerequisite online learning tutorial to ensure they are prepared to enroll in online courses.

The College Decision-Making Process: A Survey of Parents of 5th – 12th-Grade Students (Patricia Gregg)

Inside Higher Ed and Gallup have released The College Decision-Making Process: A Survey of Parents of 5th – 12th Grade Students (March 2013). The survey addresses questions about the process parents go through in making or influencing where their children will attend college. Telephone interviews were conducted with a random sample of over 3,000 parents in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Parents responding to the survey indicated the most important reason for their child to get education beyond high school was to get a good job. However, nearly half (47%) of those surveyed believed there might be ways other than college that would lead to a good job. The majority of parents reported they were likely to restrict the colleges to which their children could apply based on tuition and fees. Survey findings also address affirmative action and acceptable levels of student loan debt. The report breaks out responses for parents of younger (5th-8th grade) and older (9th-12th grade) students and by demographics or family income levels where germane to the question.

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