January 2014 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 (January 2014 edition).

The Condition of College and Career Readiness 2013: First Generation Students (Melodie Christal)

In The Condition of College and Career Readiness 2013: First Generation Students, ACT and the Council for Opportunity in Education (COE) provide information to gain a greater understanding of first-generation students. Nearly 94 percent of ACT-tested first-generation students aspired to earn some form of postsecondary degree, and two out of three took ACT’s recommended core curriculum of four years of English and three years each of math, science, and social studies. Despite this preparation, first-generation students lag behind their peers in college readiness, and ACT and COE advocate for more effective policies to promote college readiness for these students.

Managing Online Education 2013: Practices in Ensuring Quality (Zhao Yang)

Managing Online Education 2013: Practices in Ensuring Quality presents results from a survey conducted by the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET) in spring 2013. The survey collects data on the instructional, operational, and technology infrastructure of online programs in higher education. Key findings include: (1) institutions are adopting standards in their online courses with more than 85 percent of responding institutions implementing some form of “standards” or “best practices;” (2) more than half of institutions (58 percent) require new online faculty to participate in faculty development prior to teaching their first online courses; (3) the vast majority of institutions offer library services and advising to online students; and (4) course completion rates for online courses are 3 percent lower than for on-campus courses (78 percent vs. 81 percent).

How College Shapes Lives: Understanding the Issues (Zhao Yang)

The College Board report, How College Shapes Lives: Understanding the Issues, discusses ways in which the value of postsecondary education can be measured and provides insights into debates about the value of college and the need to improve education attainment in the United States. The report also includes essays by five eminent scholars on issues relating to the benefits of higher education and how to improve the distribution of those benefits.

2013 SAT Report on College and Career Readiness (Melodie Christal)

In 2013 SAT Report on College and Career Readiness, the College Board reports only 43 percent of 2013 high school graduates taking the SAT were academically prepared for college-level course work. This number has not changed in five years. Studies show students who meet the SAT College and Career Readiness benchmark are more likely to enroll in a four-year college and more likely to persist and complete their degree. The 2013 high school graduates who met the SAT benchmark had several academic characteristics in common. They were: (1) more likely to have completed a core curriculum (four or more years of English and three or more years each of mathematics, natural science, and social science or history); (2) more likely to have taken honors or AP courses; and (3) more likely to be ranked in the top 10 percent of their high school graduating class.

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