This brief argues that a competency-based approach to education is necessary to maximize learning opportunities and student diversity in the 21st century. Drawing from expertise in the field and the preexisting research base, this paper attempts to pinpoint the characteristics of high-quality and effective competency-based pathways. Additionally, it articulates the conditions wherein innovation and implementation of competency-based approaches have surged, and the associated setbacks and challenges states and districts are facing as a result.
During the tenure of the Obama administration, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) program has made an unprecedented investment—nearly $2 billion—in community colleges. Designed to transform community colleges in order to help put Americans back to work and improve the U.S.
This report highlights the Successful Transitions and Retention Track (START) Program at Idaho State University. The START Program, which consists of three components (classroom instruction, career and personal counseling, and math/English tutoring), is aimed at providing holistic support to students in order to increase the retention of GED holders entering college. This report also discusses some positive preliminary results on START initiatives, and provides first steps for implementing a START program.
This brief discusses the barriers to community college completion faced by students, such as lack of preparation, financial aid, and competing obligations. The brief also offers solutions for improving community college student outcomes through implementing promising practices and strategies, some of which include curriculum alignment and student supports.
This report highlights innovative strategies and priorities aimed at community college improvement as well as providing next steps for Massachusetts colleges and state officials to improve student outcomes. Some recommendations for next steps include: effectively implementing performance funding and developmental education reform, expanding access to structured pathways to credentials, identifying and removing barriers to innovation, and supporting sustained advocacy.
This evaluation of Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) showed statistically significant differences between AVID and comparison students on measures of enrollment in eighth grade algebra, language arts grades, school absences, and college attendance, favoring AVID students.
This study evaluates the EXCEL program, a college access program, which promotes underrepresented youth attending a higher education institution by guaranteeing a scholarship to a sponsoring university and providing various enrichment activities. Eighty-three eighth grade students with a GPA of B and above and standardized test scores at grade level or above were randomly assigned to attend EXCEL or to a control group. Results revealed that students involved in the program were not significantly more likely to attend college than students in the control group.
This study evaluates what types of services, programs and providers are needed in Virginia to increase student access to post-secondary education. This report highlights the resources available by examining statistics, maps, figures and case-narratives, areas where progress is being made and college access roadblocks encountered. A detailed illustration which includes technical information is also described.
This brief from Jobs for the Future outlines a model for engaging disconnected and at-risk youth through the development of aligned postsecondary pathways and academic supports. The brief presents an overview of the current attainment and skills gap and then outlines the Back on Track Through College model, including examples of successful implementation and policy recommendations that support implementation.