This brief focuses on the role that career and technical education (CTE) teachers can play in ensuring college and career readiness (CCR) for all students. The authors introduce who CTE teachers are and how current policies support and integrate them into schools. The authors argue that these teachers are critical to meeting the needs of students who may wish to enter a career without obtaining a 4-year college degree or for those who wish to gain experience in a field before obtaining a higher degree.
This brief challenges the need for a fourth year of high school, addressing the controversy around “senior year” and its tendency to draw out the high school experience. In proposing the topic of early graduation, the document outlines a number of policy approaches and their successful implementation in various states. Among these programs are scholarship incentives, dual enrollment, virtual classes, and proficiency-based credits.
This report includes the results of a study conducted by the Council for Adult & Experiential Learning which examined the effect of Prior Learning Assessments (PLA) on student outcomes at 48 higher education institutions. The study findings indicate that PLA students had better graduation rates and persistence compared to students who did not receive PLA credit and PLA students also completed their degrees in a shorter period of time. The report also examined institutional policies expected to have the greatest impact on student degree completion in regards to PLA credit.
This report explains the process colleges, states, and other organizations use to recognize prior learning and transfer credit. The report also examines institutional policies that impede student progress toward earning college credits and transferring these credits through and among institutions. Additionally, examples of colleges and systems that allow for successful recognition of prior learning and transfer of credit are provided and best practices for using competencies and other methods for college degree attainment, other than just credit hours, are presented.
This report includes a scan of K-12 credit policies in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The scan explores which states have policies that define credit based solely on seat time and which states allow for more flexibility when awarding course credits. The report uses five categories to organize state credit policies ranging from the complete abolishment of the Carnegie Unit to the use of alternative credit policies only in special circumstances such as credit recovery.
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 report reviews literature on Advanced Placement (AP) to answer several questions about student outcomes related to taking AP classes. It finds that research is inconclusive about the effect of AP course offerings on students and schools. Research has found that students who take AP courses and pass AP exams are more successful in college than those who did not take AP courses, but this report cautions that the research is correlational, not causal.
A bill was introduced in Wisconsin that would allow middle school students to earn high school credits starting in the 2014-2015 school year. Students would be taught using high school equivalent curriculum teachers licensed to teach at the high school level. The bill would address budgetary constraints that have led to career exploration courses being cut, would allow students to focus on more college readiness courses, and would allow students move through high school more quickly.
This report from the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology provides recommendations for increasing the number of college graduates with degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). Premised on the economic projections that we will need 1 million more STEM professionals than we are currently on track to produce, the report focuses on the most cost effective solution to this problem: retaining STEM majors through their first two years of college.
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.