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April 2012
What's Happening

Student Achievement Initiative Study - The Community College Research Center at Columbia University and IHELP are entering the final phase of a three-year study evaluating Washington State’s Student Achievement Initiative (SAI) - a performance funding policy that draws on intermediate measures of student progress. The evaluation, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, will encompass data analysis and extensive interviewing of faculty and staff at 20 of the 34 Washington State community and technical colleges to determine SAI’s impact on efforts to improve student outcomes. IHELP Director Nancy Shulock and Faculty Associate Cristy Jensen will travel to Washington next month to conduct on-site interviews and other research team members will conduct telephone interviews. Researchers will look to understand changes in attitudes about, and impact of, SAI since their last field research two years ago.

NGA Complete to Compete Initiative – Nancy recently participated in a workshop in Denver, Colorado as a technical advisor for the National Governors Association’s Complete to Compete initiative. The goal of the academy is to make efficiency and effectiveness a more significant part of state-level postsecondary accountability systems. Click here for more information on the initiative. Nancy's primary involvement has been with the Connecticut state team.

WestEd Student Focus Groups – IHELP Faculty Associate Su Jin Jez conducted several focus groups as part of WestEd’s project, Postsecondary and Career Readiness: Understanding Differences and Similarities through the Lens of the Health Sciences. The focus groups, comprising high school and college students, were held at the California Health Occupations Students of America (Cal-HOSA) State Leadership Conference in Orange County. The focus groups centered on students’ perceptions of how their health career pathways were preparing (or prepared) them for college and careers.

Features This Month

IHELP is Forming Advisory Panels on CTE Policy Issues

IHELP is engaged in a multi-part research agenda aimed at strengthening the career technical education mission in the California Community Colleges. A recent policy brief summarized findings from the first two research reports - one on the funding and organizational structure of CTE and the other an analysis of the inventory of CTE programs offered. Our current work centers on identifying ways to make state and system policies more supportive of career technical education. This would likely involve modifying some current policies and adopting some new policies. At the March conference of the California Community College Association for Occupational Education (CCCAOE), we facilitated a breakout session on policy issues affecting CTE and collected names of individuals interested in helping us understand how policies affect the operation of career technical education. Based on discussions with CTE personnel and extensive review of available research literature, we have identified seven categories of policy that warrant in-depth study:

  • Types of Degrees and Certificates
  • Funding
  • Accountability
  • High School-to-Community College Pathways
  • Program Offerings (Approval & Discontinuation)
  • Faculty Policies
  • Curriculum Structure and Delivery

Within each category we have identified specific items that we would intend to explore to understand how policies might best support the CTE mission. Click here to see the expanded list of policies. We are forming advisory panels of CTE professionals and other interested parties in each of these categories to help guide our research into these policy issues. The outcome of our research will be recommendations for policy changes that would help more students earn degrees and certificates of value in the workplace. Please email us if you are interested in serving on one of these advisory panels and indicate one or more of your preferred policy topics. We anticipate that the work would involve three or four conference calls, some email exchanges, and a review of short written drafts. Thank you, in advance, for your willingness to help with our research.

In case you missed it -Career Opportunities: Career Technical Education and the College Completion Agenda Summary of Parts I and II

This brief is a summary of the first two reports in a series titled Career Opportunities: Career Technical Education and the College Completion Agenda. The first report, titled, Part I Structure and Funding of Career Technical Education in the California Community Colleges, analyzes the complex organizational structure and funding arrangements for the CTE mission and the closely related economic and workforce development mission. The second report, Part II Inventory and Analysis of CTE Programs in the California Community Colleges, examines the full set of career-technical certificate and associate degree programs offered by the CCC. Researchers inventory and analyze CTE program offerings across the system as a basis for understanding how well CTE programs are meeting students’ needs to identify, enroll in, and complete programs with real value in today’s labor market. In each report, we identify key issues that will need to be addressed as efforts proceed to increase the effectiveness of CTE in the California Community Colleges. The entire project is guided by a set of criteria, based on a literature review, that characterizes an effective CTE mission.

View the brief

Spotlight On

California’s Economic Payoff: Investing in College Access & Completion - A new statewide report released by the Campaign for College Opportunity, the California Civil Rights Coalition, and the California Chamber of Commerce examines the benefits to the state of investing in higher education. The report, by the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues at the University of California, Berkeley, found that state funding of public higher education provides substantial gains to the state beyond the direct payoff for students. According to the authors, for every dollar California invests, it will receive a net return of $4.50 (or a net return of 450 percent) from taxes on increased earnings of college graduates and lower costs for providing other state safety net services and incarceration.

Click here for the report and the one-page key findings sheet.

Sacramento State Institute For Higher Education Leadership & Policy

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