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Topic: Student learning and outcomes

Research Report
September 6, 2016

Student Data in the Digital Era

An Overview of Current Practices

Newly available data are making it possible to understand, improve, and represent student learning and other outcomes in profoundly different ways. With online learning platforms, technology-enabled educational tools, and other digital technologies, data about students and student learning in post-secondary settings have become unprecedentedly extensive and easy to access, interpret, and share. This growing ubiquity and granularity offer new opportunities for institutions, researchers, instructors, and other organizations to put student data to myriad uses: researchers can better understand student learning…
Blog Post
August 30, 2016

Can Financial Aid for Non-Traditional Education Programs Help Low-Income Students?

Last October, the federal Department of Education announced the launch of Educational Quality through Innovative Partnerships (EQUIP), a pilot program inviting partnerships between non-traditional education providers and accredited institutions of higher education. A key component of the program is its target population: low- and moderate-income students. Under a provision of the Higher Education Act, accredited institutions are ineligible to receive federal financial aid for programs in which 50 percent or more of the content and instruction is provided by…
Blog Post
July 29, 2016

Developing a Research Agenda for Ed-Tech

Last week, the Jefferson Education Accelerator, an ed-tech incubator at University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education, announced its plans to launch a large-scale project to research the “barriers that keep companies and their customers from conducting and using efficacy research when creating or buying ed-tech products.” In a Chronicle article announcing the project, Bart Epstein, CEO and managing director of Jefferson Education Accelerator, explains there exists little research that explores the efficacy of ed-tech tools in a…
Blog Post
July 14, 2016

Libraries’ Role in Global Education

Nearly any conversation about higher education includes the need for global engagement. Some universities have addressed this by building international campuses; others have recruited heavily to bring international students to their American campuses. All have focused on adding global perspectives to the curriculum. How are university libraries assisting in these globalization efforts? Anne Kenney and Xin Li of Cornell University Libraries in their issue brief “Rethinking Research Libraries in the Era of Global Universities” look at the kinds of services…
Issue Brief
July 14, 2016

Rethinking Research Libraries in the Era of Global Universities

As our world becomes increasingly interconnected politically, economically, culturally, and socially, higher education has followed suit. The 2011 survey by the American Council of Education’s Center for Internationalization and Global Engagement found a perceived acceleration of internationalization across campuses, from doctoral to associate degree institutions.[1] The definition of what that means for each institution varies. Graham Elkin, Faiyaz Devjee, and John Farnsworth developed a 13-scale model to assist universities in evaluating where they are presently and where they…
Blog Post
July 5, 2016

Prepare to Travel: Across the U.S. Access to High-Completion-Rate Colleges Uneven

The American Council on Education (ACE) recently published a report on “education deserts” that identified the geographical areas in the United States where there is limited access to higher education institutions. Across the country, the authors identify 295 education deserts, areas where there are either zero colleges and universities or one community college that serves as the only “broad-access” public option. Students in the Midwest and Great Plains states face more deserts than students in other regions. The…
Blog Post
June 15, 2016

Reacting to Reacting to the Past

Last week, I had an opportunity to visit a few sessions at the Reacting to the Past conference held on the Barnard campus. Faculty from many different disciplines gathered to rehearse the games they have developed to engage their students in past events and times. All of the games are set in the past, and students, after reading classic texts and doing their own research, are assigned roles. The students are responsible for conducting class sessions that will illuminate…
Blog Post
June 14, 2016

The Perfect Demographic Storm

This month, some 3.3 million teenagers will graduate from American high schools. If recent history is any guide, around 65 percent of them will go directly on to college this fall. While many more campuses are being filled with nontraditional students—working adults, part-timers, and international students—the traditional 18-to-22-year-old market remains the lifeblood of many institutions and is also the most predictable segment to forecast. For much of the past decade, demographers have been talking about not only a…
Blog Post
June 9, 2016

Optimizing for the Adult Learner

Roughly 70 percent of today’s college students are “nontraditional students,” meaning that they are over the age of 24, commute to campus, work part or full-time, are financially independent, or have children. Some enter college with only a GED, while others are reentry students with previously earned credits from multiple institutions. Many of these students are low-income, the first in their families to attend college, or come from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups. Despite this new majority, most institutions…
Case Study
June 9, 2016

Serving the Adult Student at University of Maryland University College

Conventional conceptualizations of the “typical” college student as an eighteen-year old, full-time, residential student poorly match reality. Roughly 70 percent of today’s college students are “nontraditional students,” meaning that they are over the age of 24, commute to campus, work part or full-time, are financially independent, or have children. Some enter college with only a GED, while others are reentry students with an assemblage of credits from various institutions. Many of these students are low-income, the first in their families…
Past Event
June 15, 2016

Ithaka S+R Co-Hosts Asilomar II

Student Data and Records in the Digital Era

Ithaka S+R and Stanford University are co-hosting “Asilomar II: Student Data and Records in the Digital Era.” This convening assembles a small group of academic leaders to consider how data describing adult students might be managed in ways that enable the improvement of educational experiences, the progress of science, and the integrity of information describing human beings. This event builds on the 2014 assembly that produced the Asilomar Convention for Learning Research in Higher Education of 2014. The Asilomar II participants will…
Blog Post
May 24, 2016

Higher Creducation

Do Students Go to College to Get Educated or to Get a Degree?

It is that time of year when higher education recognizes accomplishment through the awarding of degrees and commencement celebrations. That has me thinking about what it means to be educated and/or to earn a credential. Earlier this year, Ithaka S+R released a report entitled Higher Ed Insights: Results of the Fall 2015 Survey. That report highlighted a potential tension between two approaches to improving rates of degree completion: 1) guided pathways; and 2) unbundling college credits and services. The…
Blog Post
May 18, 2016

A “How To” Guide to Effective Transfer Pathways

While a large majority of community college students aspire to a bachelor’s degree, only 14 percent will earn one within six years. But that deeply disappointing overall statistic hides a lot of variation: in some contexts, the pathway through two-year and four-year colleges to a bachelor’s degree is a much easier one. Often, the difference is not the students themselves or the resources, but how institutions work with students and one another, and the priorities to which resources are allocated.
Blog Post
May 18, 2016

Will Easing the Financial Burden of Dual Enrollment Improve College Outcomes for Low-Income Students?

As I’ve noted previously, the percentage of low-income (family income in the bottom 20 percent) high school graduates that have enrolled in two- and four-year institutions declined from 55.9 percent in 2008 to 45.5 percent in 2013. Studies examining dual enrollment programs—in which students take courses for college credit while still in high school—have found that participating in such programs increases the likelihood of college degree attainment, especially for low-income students. Yet low-income students tend to have…
Blog Post
May 17, 2016

The New Transcript and Predictive Analytics

Only a Matter of Time?

As interest in alignment between education and industry increases, higher education institutions are looking for new ways to signal their students’ industry-relevant skills and experiences to employers in ways that are meaningful and practical. A promising example is the “new transcript” that a number of US colleges are developing. The new transcript includes information that is more readily translated into job skills than traditional transcript data, such as specific course learning outcomes and hours spent on extracurricular activities and…
Blog Post
May 13, 2016

How Should Higher Education be Regulated?

The Case for Management-Based Regulation

For much of the 20th Century, the government relied on a command-and-control form of regulation in their oversight of organizations across many sectors. In other words, the government mandated that these regulated entities undertake specific activities and then monitored their compliance. In the late 20th Century, reaction to the burdens and inefficacy of command and control led to a shift in some areas to performance-based regulation. Under this model,  the government determines targets for outcomes and regulated entities choose the…
Blog Post
April 28, 2016

Increasing Retention Across the Spectrum

Florida State University Aims to Graduate Each Student It Enrolls

For the past twenty years, Florida State University (FSU) has focused relentlessly on retaining and supporting every student it enrolls. Its efforts have yielded one of the largest increases in six-year graduation rates in the nation—nearly 16 percentage points, from 63.2 percent in 1994 to 79.1 percent in 2014. In our latest case study, “Broad-Based and Targeted: Florida State University’s Efforts to Retain Every Student,” Daniel Rossman and I detail FSU’s two-pronged strategy for improvement. First, it has sought…
Case Study
April 28, 2016

Broad-Based and Targeted

Florida State University’s Efforts to Retain Every Student

Over the past twenty years, Florida State University (FSU) has recorded one of the largest increases in six-year graduation rates in the nation—increasing from 63.2 percent for the 1988 entering cohort to 79.1 percent for the 2008 entering cohort. This improvement in outcomes has occurred with only a modest increase in students’ entering credentials—for example, the average SAT score of entering students has slightly increased during the time period. Instead of selecting its way to better outcomes, FSU has focused…
Blog Post
April 20, 2016

Responsible Use of Student Data

For several months, my colleagues and I at Ithaka S+R have been working with Mitchell Stevens, a professor at Stanford, on a project addressing the uses, challenges and opportunities for colleges and universities undertaking new forms of research, application, and representation of student administrative and learning data. Students’ increasing interaction with learning management systems, instructional technology, and administrative platforms is creating reams of new data about their learning behaviors and outcomes, and other experiences in school. And rapidly developing…
Past Event
April 16, 2016

Martin Kurzweil at Stanford’s Learning Summit 2016

Inventing the Future of Higher Education

Martin Kurzweil will speak on “Responsible Use of Student Data for Individual and Organizational Improvement” as part of a panel discussion at Stanford’s Learning Summit 2016. Data describing college students are now more ubiquitous, and potentially more valuable for educational improvement and basic science, than ever before. Yet inherited mechanisms of academic and scientific governance often fit the new data ecosystem only awkwardly. Business and academic leaders are sustaining ongoing discussion for ethical policy development in this domain. Where: Learning…