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May 2013
What's Happening

Greater Bay Area Regional Research Group Meeting – IHELP Director Nancy Shulock and Research Associate Colleen Moore gave an invited presentation at the Research & Planning Group for California Community College’s Bay Area Regional meeting May 3 at De Anza College in Cupertino. The presentation covered six IHELP projects of recent years, focusing on the research methods used - both quantitative methods for measuring student success and qualitative methods to examine the effectiveness of policies. Click here to view the presentation.

PPIC Adjunct Fellow – Nancy Shulock has been appointed a Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) Adjunct Fellow. Nancy’s appointment will commence on July 1, 2013 for an initial two-year term. Her appointment responsibilities include acting as a lead reviewer for reports and proposals and as an advisor and research mentor.

Brookings Institution Panel – IHELP Associate Director Andrea Venezia spoke on a panel at a Brookings Institution event on May 7 that discussed the latest issue of The Future of Children journal. Andrea critiqued a recent proposal to consolidate federally funded pre-college outreach programs into a single grant program, focused on academic preparation. Andrea shared her concerns about the proposal including: evidence of the current programs’ effectiveness; lack of research on effective practices; the need to focus on developing metacognitive skills; funding constraints; and clarity regarding populations served, results desired and evaluative measures. Click the link to view a clip of Andrea’s panel discussion.

Guest Blog - Student Success Scorecard: A Researcher's Perspective – Colleen Moore was invited to be a guest blogger for the Campaign for College Opportunity. Colleen wrote on the California Community College system's new accountability tool, the Student Success Scorecard. Colleen stated that the new tool addresses many of the shortcomings of the CCC’s previous efforts to measure student success. Click here to view Colleen’s blog submission.  

Features This Month

IHELP in Brooking’s The Future of Children - Transitions from High School to College

The state of postsecondary readiness among high school students and the effectiveness of college transitional programs is the subject of a chapter by IHELP Associate Director Andrea Venezia and Laura Jaeger of WestEd in The Future of Children, a journal published by the Brookings Institute and Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Andrea and Laura state that students are unprepared for postsecondary coursework for a variety of reasons including the gap between high school curriculum and college expectations and the greater likelihood that disadvantaged students attend high schools with lower instructional quality. In addition, they discuss the importance of noncurricular factors including: the development of metacognitive skills, behaviors, and attitudes; peer influences; parental expectations; and conditions that encourage academic study. The authors also explore interventions focused on improving postsecondary readiness (such as pre-college outreach programs and Early/Middle College High Schools) and find their evaluations to show some positive effects overall. Given the current debate about the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and their ability to support improved college and career readiness for a larger proportion of students, Andrea and Laura posit that in order for the CCSS to succeed, they must be supplemented with the necessary professional development for educators, a focus on developing strong metacognitive knowledge and skills for all students, and the information and supports to help students learn about college-level expectations and other aspects of college knowledge while in high school.

View the chapter

In Case You Missed It - Metrics, Dollars, and Systems Change – Learning From Washington State's Student Achievement Initiative to Design Effective Postsecondary Performance Funding Policies

This brief, jointly produced by IHELP and the Community College Research Center (CCRC) at Columbia University, examines the implementation of the Washington State Student Achievement Initiative (SAI), a policy adopted by the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges that draws on intermediate measures of student progress to reward colleges for improvements in student achievement. Based on findings from a three-year evaluation, this brief offers lessons for leaders in states looking for ways to use funding to create incentives for student completion policies for community colleges. It offers recommendations for several design principles for an effective performance funding system including designing a useful and relevant system of performance metrics, linking performance to budgets through baseline funding, and fostering systemic institutional change through strategic communication and widespread engagement with institutional data. View the brief online at www.csus.edu/ihelp.

View the report

Spotlight On

Using Economic Principles to Increase Student Success

James Rosenbaum, with the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University, and Janet Rosenbaum, with the School of Public Health at the State University of New York, published a paper in the Spring 2013 edition of the Journal of Economic Perspectives titled “Beyond BA Blinders: Lessons from Occupational Colleges and Certificate Programs for Nontraditional Students.” The paper examines accredited private colleges that offer degrees in occupational career fields. Taking findings from a 2006 study comparing community colleges with occupational colleges, the authors examine the procedures of occupational colleges from the perspective of economic principles, and conclude that they enhance incentives, structure choices, and invest in signals that ultimately help increase student success. Click the link below to view the paper.

Journal of Economic Perspectives - Beyond BA Blinders: Lessons from Occupational Colleges and Certificate Programs for Nontraditional Students

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