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April 2010
What's Happening

New Student Success Projects
- IHELP has recently been commissioned to work on two projects on student success for Jobs For the Future, a non-profit organization aimed at identifying, developing and promoting new education and workforce strategies to help communities, states and the nation compete in a global economy. One project reviews state efforts and multi-state initiatives to develop and use intermediate benchmarks of student success, called “milestones,” as a tool to improve accountability and guide institutional efforts to improve student success. The other project involves an examination of the research literature on factors associated with time-to-degree, and the development of a policy audit template for use by states and higher education systems in aligning their policies to promote reduced time-to-completion.


IHELP Presents Findings to Capitol Staffers - IHELP Research Specialist Colleen Moore, Paul Steenhausen from the Legislative Analyst’s Office, and Jessie Ryan with the Campaign for College Opportunity held a briefing for California legislative staffers regarding the findings from their recent trip to Florida. During their trip, they examined the policies and practices of Florida’s public higher education system. Findings from their research are published in the new policy brief featured in this month’s newsletter.

Features This Month

Strategies for Improving Higher Education in California: Some Lessons from Florida for California's Higher Education Policy

This newest policy brief, sponsored by the Campaign for College Opportunity and written by IHELP Research Specialist Coleen Moore, examines the public higher education policies and practices of the state of Florida in order to determine possible lessons for California in its efforts to increase student success and degree completion. Florida was chosen for evaluation due to its large and diverse higher education system, the importance of community colleges in its higher education system, and its participation in national projects and education reform efforts. While Florida still faces significant challenges, some of the state’s policy approaches for public higher education warrant consideration in California’s quest for improvement -- specifically the comprehensive student data system, policies related to student transfer from community colleges, statewide Career Technical Education program standards, and standardized policies for assessment, placement and remediation..
View the report

In case you missed it - Student Flow Analysis: CSU Students Progress Toward Graduation

This publication is an excerpt of the report to the California State University as part of its one-year planning grant from the Lumina Foundation’s Making Opportunity Affordable project. The report studies the 23-campus system’s efforts to improve graduation rates, analyzes system wide data on student progress toward degrees, and makes recommendations for future steps. IHELP researchers drew on their previous work on student success in Steps to Success in order to use the “milestone” framework to analyze student patterns of progress toward completion.
View the report


Spotlight On

In line with the increased national focus on college completion, the American Association of Community Colleges announced at their conference this month their pledge with five other community college organizations to increase student completion rates by 50 percent over the next 10 years. The pledge, which AACC Board Chair Mary Spilde called an “unprecedented coalition for commitment,” entreats community college leaders, faculty and staff and elected officials to help them achieve this goal. Community colleges have been singled out of late for a stronger focus on enrollment and access than on completion – a focus that IHELP researchers have linked to state and local policies that reward enrollment and not completion. These six organizations ask policymakers to support and reward community colleges that work to improve student success. For more information on this pledge, please click the links below.

Inside Higher Ed news articles:
The Completion Agenda,” April 19, 2010
What the Pledge Means,” April 21, 2010

PBS Newshour – April 20, 2010, with Mary Spilde, AACC and Hillary Pennington, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation


Sacramento State Institute For Higher Education Leadership & Policy

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