Publications (All by Date)
State Policy Leadership in Higher Education - Six Case Studies
This report highlights a range of higher education policy reforms enacted in other states and enables largely by postsecondary state policy leadership. These six case studies recognize the important role that state policy leadership played in developing, promoting, and implementing these policies aimed at improving higher education outcomes. This report follows two reports: an update of California higher education performance, Average Won’t Do, and A New Vision for California Higher Education, an effort to engage stakeholders around a vision more suited to today’s students and economic conditions than the 1960 Master Plan.
Maximizing Resources for Student Success by Reducing Time- and Credits-to-Degree
This report addresses the problem of excessive time-to-degree for many students at public regional universities and examines strategies and practices leaders can use to support timely degree completion, especially for low-income students. The study identifies strategies that institutions have used to help reduce costs for students by fostering timely completion. Strategies include those, such as intrusive advising, that help students make better-informed choices, and those, such as better course scheduling and well-structured degree pathways, that improve student access to the courses they need. The report provides many examples of institutions that have used these strategies, along with available evidence of their effectiveness. It also addresses potential challenges to implementation and offers recommendations to university leaders interested in using these practices to improve timely graduation. Co-authored by California State University, Northridge President Emerita Jolene Koester, this report is part of HCM Strategists’ Maximizing Resources for Student Success project that is aimed at making college more affordable.
Next Generation Learning Challenges Innovation Briefs
A new publication series written by IHELP and funded and published by EDUCAUSE looks at the strategies and tools used by Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC) grant recipients to implement their new "breakthrough model" schools. NGLC is an initiative to improve postsecondary readiness and completion by identifying and scaling technology-enabled approaches to secondary and postsecondary education, especially for low-income students.
Next Gen Tools: Blended Learning Classroom Design
This brief features the school facility at Merit Prep Newark, Touchstone Education’s first blended learning school. The facility features large classrooms that enable groups of 100-plus students to progress at their own individualized pace through online resources and assessments, with a team of two to three teachers to facilitate deeper concept inquiry, project-based learning, and collaboration among students. The design also teams master and apprentice teachers in one classroom, thus enabling educator learning opportunities.
Next Gen Tools: Competency Report
This brief describes the development of a competency report for Northern Arizona University’s (NAU) Personalized Learning program. NAU’s competency reports describe the skills and abilities that students have achieved in their progression towards a degree. These reports demonstrate accomplishments that are potentially more relevant to future employers than the listings of courses, grades, and credits on a traditional transcript.
Next Gen Tools: E3 Civic High School
This third brief highlights e3 Civic High School’s adaptable facility infrastructure that supports the school's personalized learning and collaborative, project-based curriculum. The goal of this model is to encourage independence and flexibility in learning so students learn in any setting and at any time.
Next Gen Tools: Activate Instruction
This first brief highlights a free online-based learning platform co-developed by Summit Public Schools, Illuminate Education, and the Girard Education Foundation. It integrates curricula with assessments, enabling students to progress at their own pace.
Next Gen Tools: CFA Learning Environment
This second brief highlights College for America’s comprehensive platform that tracks learning and degree progress and provides data management and analytics.
A New Vision for California Higher Education: A Model Public Agenda
This new IHELP report draws on various reports and other sources of information to construct a model public agenda to address the mounting challenges facing California higher education. It is intended to inspire broad discussion potentially leading to an official public agenda for California higher education. The model public agenda envisions region-based planning and heightened collaboration at the regional level, guided by effective state-level policy leadership. It envisions more effective and cost-effective programming through greater program specialization at individual colleges and universities, with student access to broader offerings ensured through the effective use of technology. The model also calls for strong, informed state policy leadership and high-level staff support to fulfill critical fiscal, advisory, and accountability roles.
From Community College to University: Expectations for California’s New Transfer Degrees
A new report written by IHELP for the Public Policy Institute of California analyzes the progress of the California Community Colleges’ “associate degrees for transfer,” new degrees created as a result of state-enacted legislation in 2010. The degrees are designed to facilitate community college students’ admission to the California State University system and ease completion of a bachelor’s degree. The report finds the reform is leading to the development of clearer transfer pathways for students, although challenges remain including limited awareness of the new pathways among community college students. The report offers recommendations for improving the implementation effort. Click here for the technical appendix.
Average Won't Do: Performance Trends in California Higher Education as a Foundation for Action
This report is the fifth in a series analyzing California’s postsecondary performance in the areas of preparation, affordability, participation, completion, benefits and finance. The report provides a summary of trends in each performance area over the past decade and offers a breakdown of performance by region and race/ethnicity. This report, sponsored by the Campaign for College Opportunity, is the first installment of a three-part project to address postsecondary performance in California, with the later installments to include a model public agenda for stakeholder discussion and case studies of state-level leadership in public postsecondary education.
Workforce Investments: State Strategies to Preserve Higher-Cost Career Education Programs in Community and Technical Colleges
Addressing the challenge of financing community college career and technical education programs is the focus of a new policy brief by IHELP. This brief examines finance policies and practices in 20 states and identifies five strategies that may help preserve higher-cost CTE/workforce programs: (1) separate technical colleges or system; (2) differential funding formula that takes program costs into account; (3) performance funding that rewards completions and various workforce-related outcomes; (4) differential tuition whereby students pay more for high-cost programs; and (5) differential course fees by which students pay for costs of lab operation and maintenance, specialized equipment, and supplies. This brief is intended as a resource for education leaders and policymakers in California as they work toward realizing the vast potential of the CTE mission.
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 development and 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. This brief, based on findings from a three-year evaluation, offers lessons for leaders in states looking to design performance funding policies for community colleges. The brief 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 (baseline funding rather piecemeal funding from allocated funds), and supporting college environmental conditions through more strategic communication and emphasis on institutional research to produce systemic institutional change.
Career Opportunities: Career Technical Education and the College Completion Agenda - Part IV: Aligning Policy with Mission for Better Outcomes
This IHELP report is the culmination of a four-part series on career technical education in the California Community Colleges. The project, funded by The James Irvine Foundation, is aimed at identifying ways that state and system policy can best support the CTE mission so that colleges can be more effective in helping students earn credentials of value in the workplace and helping employers and industries in their regions obtain a skilled workforce. Based on a comprehensive analysis of potential barriers to more effective CTE, researchers offer a set of suggestions for policy changes intended as a resource for the community college system as it continues to work to improve student success. For the complete series on CTE please click here.
State and System Policies Related to Career Technical Education: A Series of Working Papers
November 2012 - February 2013
IHELP has been engaged in a four-part research project on Career and Technical Education (CTE) in the California Community Colleges. The project is aimed at identifying ways that state and system policy can best support the CTE mission so that colleges can be more effective in helping students earn credentials of value in the workplace and helping employers and industries in their regions obtain a skilled workforce. As part of this project, we have identified a number of problems that we believe could be addressed with selective changes to state laws and regulations. We have explored these policies by varoius theme in five different working papers. In each paper, we identify several problems, examine laws and regulations related to those problems, and offer suggested policy changes to address them.
Washington State Student Achievement Initiative Policy Study: Final Report
This report, jointly produced by IHELP and the Community College Research Center (CCRC) at Columbia University, analyzes the impact of the Washington State Student Achievement Initiative (SAI) on college efforts to improve student outcomes and on student outcomes. SAI, a policy adopted by the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, draws on intermediate measures of student progress to reward colleges for improvements in student achievement. Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, this three-year evaluation includes both data analysis and extensive interviewing of faculty and staff and is intended in part to draw lessons for leaders in other states who are considering adopting performance incentive policies for community colleges. Report findings include that SAI is viewed by the colleges as one force among others pushing them to improve student success, and its intermediate milestone framework as helpful in focusing collective efforts on student progression and in publicly accounting for college performance. The funding mechanism has proved unpopular, however, as SAI funding has come from reallocated base funds rather than as additional funds as originally intended. While larger colleges earn more awards than smaller colleges, there is little evidence that colleges serving more at-risk, low-income students are penalized by the SAI awards method. Consistent with the SAI’s goals, the basic skills metric appears to have encouraged enrollment from traditionally underserved groups.
Career Opportunities: Career Technical Education and the College Completion Agenda – Part III: Promising CTE Policies from Across the States
This IHELP report is the third in the four-part series on career technical education in the California Community Colleges with a goal of identifying necessary changes to state and system policies to improve CTE. This report examines policies in other states that might offer helpful lessons for shaping CTE in California to better meet student and employer needs. It provides examples in the following five policy areas: degree and certificate programs offered; curriculum structure and delivery; high school – community college – workplace pathways; financing CTE – college and student costs; and accountability. Researchers explain how each policy area relates to an effective CTE program and provide brief descriptions of relevant policies in place in other states with endnotes that provide references to further detail on the policies. For the complete series on CTE please click here.
On Balance: Lessons in Effective Coordination from the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges – An Organizational Perspective
The newest IHELP report examines the importance of effective coordination of postsecondary education in boosting educational attainment and economic competitiveness. This report is a case study of the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC), and analyzes the key strategies and conditions that have led to the effectiveness of the Board as a coordinating agency over locally governed colleges. The study, sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, found that three sets of factors -- state political and economic context, institutional design, and organization and leadership strategies -- explain the success of the Board. The report includes a self-assessment instrument intended for use by other states that seek to improve the effectiveness of their own postsecondary education coordination to better serve students and meet state needs. Click here for the self-assessment instrument.
Measuring Institutional Conditions that Support Student Success in the California Community Colleges
This report, prepared by IHELP for the University of California All Campus Consortium on Research for Diversity (UC/ACCORD), looks at the opportunities and challenges in measuring institutional conditions that support student success. The report, part of the Pathways to Postsecondary Success project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, draws from the literature and ongoing research to develop a set of indicators and metrics to assess the institutional conditions related to student success in the California community colleges. The report describes the significant challenges in identifying, defining and measuring indicators of supportive institutional conditions in the community colleges, but offers a list of possible indicators and existing sources of data that could be used as a “starting point” in defining a set that could fairly and accurately capture the conditions at a particular institution.
Policy Brief - Career Opportunities: Career Technical Education and the College Completion Agenda – Parts I and II (summarized)
This IHELP 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, researchers identify key issues that will need to be addressed as efforts proceed to increase the effectiveness of CTE in the California Community Colleges, and the entire project is guided by a set of criteria, based on a literature review, that characterize an effective CTE mission.
Latinos and Higher Education
A statewide profile prepared by the Campaign for College Opportunity looks at the college-going rates and completion rates for Latino students in California. The profile highlights the declining enrollment and low completion rates for Hispanic students despite the rapidly growing Latino population. The report cited data from the IHELP report, Divided We Fail: Improving Completion & Closing Racial Gaps in California’s Community Colleges.
Blacks and Higher Education
A statewide profile prepared by the Campaign for College Opportunity looks at the college-going rates and completion rates for African American students in California. The profile highlights the declining enrollment, low completion rates and high rates of transfer out of state and to for-profit colleges for African American students, especially in comparison with White, Asian Pacific Islander and Latino students. The report cited data from the IHELP report, Divided We Fail: Improving Completion & Closing Racial Gaps in California’s Community Colleges.
Career Opportunities: Career Technical Education and the College Completion Agenda - Part II: Inventory and Analysis of CTE Programs in the California Community Colleges
This report is the second in the four-part series on career technical education in the California Community Colleges. This report 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 the CTE programs are meeting students’ needs to identify, enroll in, and complete programs with real value in today’s labor market. Some of the report findings include: a total of 12,500 local certificate and associate degree programs in 142 fields of study, with an average of 113 programs offered per college; a high concentration of student enrollment and completions in a small portion of fields; an abundance of short-term certificates; and considerable inconsistency across similar programs (in name, credits, and course requirements). As in the first report, researchers evaluate their findings against a set of criteria, based on a literature review, that characterize an effective CTE mission and identify key issues that will need to be addressed as efforts proceed to increase the effectiveness of CTE in the California Community Colleges. For the complete series on CTE please click here.
Career Opportunities: Career Technical Education and the College Completion Agenda – Part I: Structure and Funding of Career Technical Education in the California Community College
This report is the first in a four-part series on career technical education in the California Community Colleges. The project, funded by The James Irvine Foundation, is aimed at identifying ways that state and system policy can best support California’s community colleges in operating CTE programs that meet the needs of their students and regions. In this first report, researchers describe the complex organizational structure and funding arrangements for the CTE mission and the closely related economic and workforce development mission. Researchers also offer a set of criteria, based on a literature review, that characterize an effective CTE mission and identify five key issues that will need to be addressed as efforts proceed to increase the effectiveness of CTE in the California Community Colleges. For the complete series on CTE please click here.
Good News But a Long Way to Go
This brief discusses the findings of a report from the American Association of Community Colleges titled, The Road Ahead: A Look at Trends in the Educational Attainment of Community College Students. The brief offers an analysis of the AACC report’s claims that the investments made in a community college education are “paying off” due to the higher increase in certificates and degrees awarded by community colleges than in total enrollment. While there is cause for celebration with respect to increases in enrollment and college completions, a closer look at the data shows some reasons for caution related to the prominence of short-term certificates among the increased awards and to minority rates of improvement that lag the improvement rate among white students.
Dollars and Sense: Analysis of Spending and Revenue Patterns to Inform Fiscal Planning for California Higher Education
This report uses data from the Delta Project on Postsecondary Education Costs, Productivity, and Accountability to analyze revenue and spending patterns across California higher education. The report compares patterns across California’s three public higher education systems (University of California, California State University and the California Community Colleges), documents changes over a seven-year period for which data are available (2002-2009), and compares California to the rest of the nation. The report documents several unique characteristics of California higher education including the largest disparity in the nation in educational expenditures per student between the research university sector and the community college sector and a very low share (one-tenth) of educational costs covered through community college tuition compared to the national average of one-third. Documented trends within California higher education include steep declines in state subsidies for UC and CSU and large tuition increases, such that students at those two segments are paying a much larger share of their educational costs, and incremental gains in degree productivity at all three segments that fall well short of state needs. Researchers conclude that policymakers’ traditional approach to fiscal planning is inadequate for today’s challenges and recommend greater transparency in spending and revenues and a more strategic and state-wide approach to financing higher education.
Sense of Direction: The Importance of Helping Community College Students Select and Enter a Program of Study
This report examines the importance of declaring and entering an academic program of study for community college student success and completion. Researchers studied an entering cohort of more than 430,000 community college students and followed their progress over a six-year period through programs of study to completion of a certificate, associate degree or transfer to a university. The study used student course patterns to identify those who entered a program of study in 21 program areas across the liberal arts and sciences and career technical education. Researchers found that entering a program of study is an important milestone on the path to college completion that only half of entering community colleges students reach, and that students who enter a program of study in their first year are twice as likely to complete a certificate, degree, or transfer as those who enter a program of study in the second year or later. (Click here for the appendix) Click here for the brief.
Highlights of Findings on Latino Student Success
This one-page brief highlights the findings regarding Latinos in California in the recent IHELP report, Divided We Fail: Improving Completion and Closing Racial Gaps in California’s Community Colleges. It was prepared at the request of Excelencia in Education to complement their series of reports on Latino college completion. Divided We Fail includes analyzes the progress and outcomes of degree- and certificate-seeking students in the California Community College system.
Consequences of Neglect: Performance Trends in California Higher Education
This report uses national data to take an in-depth look at California higher education performance in relation to other states and by region and by race/ethnicity. Researchers analyzed California’s postsecondary performance in the categories of preparation, participation, affordability, completion, benefits and finance, and found that the state’s performance is average, at best, and trending downward. This report is the fourth in a series of reports previously titled The Grades are In, which followed the publication of the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education’s bi-annual Measuring Up reports that graded the 50 states on their higher education performance.
Concerns About Performance-based Funding and Ways that States are Addressing the Concerns
As the nation’s colleges and universities struggle with limited budgets and demands for increased degree completion, states are once again looking at performance-based funding as a way to increase efficiency and reward institutions for access and success. This IHELP brief examines concerns that have arisen about performance-based funding and summarizes the ways that states are addressing, or could address, the concerns. This four-page brief was written by IHELP Director Nancy Shulock as part of her work with the California Community Colleges’ Student Success Task Force and is intended to inform discussions for states that are considering changes to postsecondary education funding models.
Performance Incentives to Improve Community College Completion: Learning from Washington State's Student Achievement Initiative
A policy brief, jointly produced by IHELP and the Community College Research Center (CCRC) at Columbia University, offers lessons to date about the 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. The policy brief examines policy choices that Washington faced in designing and implementing SAI, the choices that leaders in other states will confront when considering adopting performance incentive policies as a means to improve student outcomes. Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the three-year evaluation will include an examination of the impact of SAI on college efforts to improve student outcomes and on student outcomes.
The Road Less Traveled: Realizing the Potential of Career Technical Education in the California Community Colleges
This report funded by the James Irvine Foundation, examines four high-wage, high-need career pathways in the California Community Colleges as a basis for exploring the Career Technical Education mission and its role in the college completion agenda. The study found that the potential of CTE to help meet the state’s completion, workforce, and equity goals is not fully realized due to a lack of priority on awarding technical certificates and degrees and an absence of clear pathways for students to follow in pursuing those credentials. The report offers recommendations to strengthen the CTE function including: reexamining the structure and function of occupationally-oriented associate degrees; offering fewer, more consistent CTE programs that clearly meet regional needs; and having students formally declare a program of study, with colleges ensuring that students have access to the classes they need for those programs. (Click here for the appendix).
Divided We Fail: Improving Completion and Closing Racial Gaps in California's Community Colleges
This report, sponsored by the Campaign for College Opportunity, and co-released by 14 organizations, analyzes the progress and outcomes of degree- and certificate-seeking students in the California Community College system. The study tracks the 2003-04 entering cohort (more than a quarter of a million students) over six years, analyzing their progress along a series of intermediate milestones and completion outcomes by race/ethnicity. The report emphasizes that low completion rates and continued racial/ethnic disparities pose serious risks to the state’s future prosperity and offers recommendations for changes to policy and practice with a goal of improving student success, especially among underrepresented minority populations. The recommendations include coordinating a systemwide effort to analyze and publicly report cohort data on enrollment patterns and student progress for each college, by race/ethnicity, and adopting a new funding model that rewards colleges for helping students progress through key milestones – with extra incentives for key attainments achieved by students who entered under-prepared. See Regional Profiles
Divided We Fail in LA: Improving Completion and Closing Racial Gaps in the Los Angeles Community College District
This report was sponsored by Alliance for a Better Community, a nonprofit organization dedicated to enhancing opportunities for Latinos to ensure the well-being of the Los Angeles region. It applies the approach used in our recent report, Divided We Fail, to the nine colleges within the Los Angeles Community College District. The study tracks the 2003-04 entering cohort of degree- and certificate-seeking students (more than 18,000 students) over six years, analyzing their progress along a series of intermediate milestones and completion outcomes by race/ethnicity. The report points out the risks posed by racial/ethnic disparities and offers recommendations for changes to policy and practice with a goal of improving student success, especially among underrepresented minority populations.
Taking the Next Step: The Promise of Intermediate Measures for Meeting Postsecondary Completion Goals
This report, sponsored by Jobs for the Future and written by IHELP Research Specialist Jeremy Offenstein and IHELP Director Nancy Shulock, examines system, state and multi-state efforts and multi-institution initiatives to develop and use intermediate measures of student success as a tool to improve accountability and guide institutional efforts to improve student success. The report distinguishes between milestones that must be attained in order to get to completion and success indicators that increase a student’s chances of completion. The report analyzes the differences in approach, definitions and uses of the data on intermediate measures and offers recommendations on the collection, reporting and effective use of the data and the need for common practices and definitions.
Prerequisite Policy in the California Community Colleges
This two-page brief written by IHELP Director Nancy Shulock examines proposed changes to prerequisite policy in the California Community Colleges. The brief discusses the challenges faced by the CCC regarding under-prepared students and the current trends in other states to increase the success of under-prepared students. A written statement containing this information was presented to the CCC Board of Governors
Beyond the Rhetoric: Improving College Readiness Through Coherent State Policy
This policy brief, jointly produced by the Southern Regional Education Board and the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, examines the college readiness problem and offers recommendations to help government and educational leaders strengthen their efforts to lessen the college readiness gap. IHELP Director Nancy Shulock participated in the workgroup that produced the report, which analyzes the causes of the college readiness gap and discusses how states could better address the problem. The brief recommends specific policy changes and offers state leaders a model college readiness agenda consisting of state-wide college readiness standards developed and adopted jointly by P-12 and postsecondary education. It describes assessment, placement, curricular, teacher development, and accountability practices carefully designed to reflect and implement the standards.
Advancing by Degrees - A Framework for Increasing College Completion
This report, produced by IHELP for The Education Trust, offers higher education leaders guidance on using data to monitor student progress and applying the results to inform changes in policy and practice to help more students earn degrees. The report describes a framework of milestones, or intermediate educational achievements that students reach along the path to degree completion, and on-track indicators, or academic and enrollment patterns that are related to a greater likelihood of graduation. The report uses data from the State University System of Florida and the California Community Colleges to demonstrate how the framework can be used in two-year and four-year institutions to diagnose where and why students fall off the path to success and to make changes in policy and practice to increase degree completion. The Education Trust, working with the National Association of System Heads, will distribute the report to leaders of higher education systems across the country.
Strategies for Improving Higher Education in California: Some Lessons from Florida for California's Higher Education Policy
This policy brief, sponsored by the Campaign for College Opportunity, 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.
Student Flow Analysis: CSU Student Progress Toward Graduation
The above is a linked 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 systemwide 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.
Pathways to Success: Lessons from the Literature on Career Technical Education
This report is part of a project supported by a grant from The James Irvine Foundation to identify policies and practices that could increase student success in certain career pathways through the California community colleges. This literature review analyzes evidence on the effectiveness of career-oriented education in high schools and community colleges and discusses the factors that promote successful educational outcomes for students enrolled in career-technical programs. It finds the literature scarce on career-technical education (CTE) student success and suggests that further research would help us better understand and strengthen CTE student and program outcomes to better meet the needs of the workforce.
States, Schools, and Colleges - Policies to Improve Student Readiness for College and Strengthen Coordination Between Schools and Colleges
This recent report published by the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education draws attention to the need for better coordination and cooperation between K-12 and postsecondary education in order to improve college readiness and college completion in the nation. Part I of the report provides an historical and national overview of the P-16 alignment challenge and efforts to increase the college readiness of high school graduates. Part II, written by IHELP director Nancy Shulock, examines, through three state case studies, the effectiveness of P-16/P-20 councils as mechanisms to bridge the divide between high schools and colleges and increase college readiness and success.
Steps to Success: Analyzing Milestone Achievement to Improve Community College Student Outcomes
This report offers a framework, based on the research literature, for guiding educators in using available knowledge and tools to improve student outcomes. Using data for the California Community Colleges, the report illustrates the framework, which consists of milestones, or intermediate educational achievements that students reach along the path to degree completion, and indicators of success, or academic patterns students follow including remediation, gateway courses, and credit accumulation. The report shows how the framework can be used to diagnose where and why students fall off the path to success, to suggest appropriate interventions, and to improve accountability in community colleges.
Student Progress Toward Degree Completion: Lessons from the Research Literature
This report reviews the research literature on student success to identify intermediate outcomes, sometimes called “milestones,” along the college pathway that give students momentum toward degree completion. It points to academic behaviors and patterns that have been found to predict student progress and success that can, therefore, be tracked to identify where and why student progress stalls and how changes to policies and practices might increase degree completion. The report was prepared as background for upcoming reports on milestone achievement among community college and university students.
Community College Student Outcomes: Limitations of the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and Recommendations for Improvement.
This report on the IPEDS analyzes the value and effectiveness of the system for understanding student outcomes in community colleges. The report discusses the system’s shortcomings such as the limitation of the graduation rate data to full-time students, the difficulty in discerning student intent in order to report on the appropriate outcomes, and the limitations for using the data to make comparisons across colleges. Recommendations are made for improving the data collected and for better use of the data.
Crafting a Student-Centered Transfer Process in California: Lessons from other states
This report tackles the difficult challenge of making transfer more comprehensible and less frustrating for California’s community college students. The study examines transfer policies of eight states, identifies some key dimensions of emerging policies, and offers recommendations for more student-centered transfer policies that would increase transfer success and lead to more college educated Californians to help meet workforce needs.
Retaining Latino College Students: Conclusions from the Literature
This research brief by Dr. Ted Lascher, Sacramento State Associate Dean, College of Social Sciences and Interdisciplinary Studies, is a summary of a critical review of the literature about retaining Latino and non-Latino college students. This brief highlights those findings that are best supported by earlier studies, emphasizes where further research is needed and offers recommendations. View the full report.
Technical Difficulties: Meeting California's Workforce Needs in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Fields
This report draws attention to California’s looming shortage of educated workers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, as the demand for such workers increases and the state is producing too few graduates to meet the demand. The report offers recommendations to meet workforce needs and maintain the economic benefits that have resulted from the state’s historical strength in STEM employment. Click here for executive summary.
Draft Case Studies on P-16/P-20 Councils:
Arizona Case Study
Kentucky Case Study
Rhode Island Case Study
These papers examine the experiences of several states that have used P-16 /P-20 Councils as a means of bridging the governance divide between K-12 and postsecondary education.
The Grades are In - 2008: Is California Higher Education Measuring Up?
This report is the third in a series of reports analyzing the performance of California higher education in the areas of preparation, participation, completion, affordability, and benefits. It presents data related to these categories of performance by region and by race/ethnicity, and discusses key issues and policy recommendations for each category. It also describes California's performance relative to other states as presented in the National Center's Measuring Up 2008 report card. See the regional performance profiles.
It Could Happen: Unleashing the Potential of California's Community Colleges to Help Students Succeed and California Thrive
(click here for foldout insert)
This report integrates our work over the last year on how to increase student success. It proposes a specific agenda for policy change that could lead to significant and lasting increases in student success.
Moving Forward: Increasing Latino Enrollment in California's Public Universities
This report examines issues of UC/CSU eligibility among under-represented minority high school students, with a specific focus on the growing Latino population. The report describes a simple model that can be used to estimate the impact of eligibility increases among Latinos. (click here to see the model)
Invest in Success: How Finance Policy Can Increase Student Success at California's Community Colleges
(click here for Executive Summary)
This report analyzes the degree to which state finance policies for the community colleges align with state priorities - such as access, completion and affordability. It concludes that there is considerable misalignment; therefore, funds are not invested as well as they might be to accomplish state goals. Alternative approaches to finance are explored, and a new approach is suggested to replace traditional (and ineffective) performance funding with "investing in success."
Beyond the Open Door: Increasing Student Success in the California Community Colleges
(click here for Executive Summary)
This report provides detailed analyses of factors related to student success, connects those factors to state and institutional policies, and offers recommendations for policy reforms. It includes a qualitative analysis of the CCC assessment and placement process. (To receive a hard copy of the report, e-mail your address to email@example.com)
Buying the Right Thing: Using a Policy Audit to Align Community College Finance with State Policy Goals
This article, co-authored with Steve Boilard of the Legislative Analyst's Office, was published in the April-June 2007 issue of Planning for Higher Education (vol. 35, no. 3). It summarizes the results of a policy audit of California's finance policies for community colleges.
Rules of the Game: How State Policy Creates Barriers to Degree Completion and Impedes Student Success in the California Community Colleges
This report finds low completion rates among degree-seeking students and identifies several areas of state policy that inadvertently create barriers to student success. It offers general recommendations for how changes to state policy in these areas can increase student success. (See an important note about comparison of the completion rate in this report to CCC accountability measures)
The Grades are In - 2006: Is California Higher Education Measuring Up?
This report is the second in a series of reports analyzing the performance of California higher education in the areas of preparation, participation, completion, affordability and benefits. It presents data related to these categories of performance by region and by race/ethnicity.
Improving Facility Planning for California Higher Education
This report projects future demand for higher education capital facilities, assesses various alternatives for maximizing the efficient use of physical capacity, and evaluates the state's capital outlay decision-making process.
A Strengthened Community College Role in Teacher Preparation: Improving Outcomes for California's Minority Students
This book chapter is included in Expanding Opportunity in Higher Education: Leveraging Promise by Patricia Gandara, Gary Orfield, and Catherine Horn (Eds.)
Shared Solutions: A Framework for Discussing California Higher Education Finance
This report proposes a new framework for understanding California's challenge to finance higher education for its residents over the next decade. The report presents alternative enrollment scenarios, estimates the cost of each scenario, and analyzes the prospects of meeting the cost through (1) state appropriations, (2) student fee revenues and (3) efficiency gains.
Diminished Access to the Baccalaureate for Low-income and Minority Students in California: The Impact of Budget and Capacity Constraints on the Transfer Function
This article was published in the journal Educational Policy (vol. 19, no. 2).
The Grades are In - 2004: Is California Higher Education Measuring Up? June, 2005
This report analyzes California's performance on the 50-state report card called Measuring Up. It includes discussion of the state's score in each of the five categories of performance, and presents a breakdown of related data by region and by race/ethnicity.
A Framework for Incorporating Public Trust Issues in States' Higher Education Accountability Plans
This report explores the relationship between public trust and public accountability. It offers a framework for incorporating the concept of public trust into state accountability initiatives in higher education.
Facing Reality: California Needs a Statewide Agenda to Improve Higher Education Outcomes
This report examines seven states that share California's high rates of growth and demographic change to see what California can learn about how to improve access to and success in postsecondary education.
Effect of Racial/Ethnic Composition on Transfer Rates in Community Colleges: Implications for Policy and Practice
This article was published in the journal Research in Higher Education (vol. 45, no. 6).
Ensuring Access with Quality to California Community Colleges
The Institute was a contributing author to this report published by the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education. The report integrates enrollment projections for community colleges with in-depth interviews with educators, analyzes the scope of current access problems, and makes recommendations aimed at avoiding even greater problems over the next decade.
Diminishing Access to the Baccalaureate through Transfer: The Impact of State Policies and Implications for California
This report discusses the reasons behind a narrowing transfer pathway from community colleges to universities in California. It raises questions policymakers should consider in targeting scarce resources to generate the best educational outcomes for Californians.
On the Durability of The Master Plan in the 21st Century, or "If it's breaking, why isn't anyone fixing it?"
This article analyzes the reasons why the Master Plan, adopted in 1960, has largely resisted attempts at revision in spite of numerous calls for some substantive changes.
Funding Adult Education: Does California Put the Money Where the Needs Are?
This report examines the investment of adult education funds across the state's 58 counties in relation to the need for adult education services in each county.
Envisioning a State of Learning: Conference Summary and Observations on the California Master Plan for Higher Education
These Proceedings of the 14th annual Envisioning California Conference were edited by Nancy Shulock, and includes her chapter summarizing lessons of the conference.
A Fundamentally New Approach to Accountability: Putting State Policy Issues First
This report was prepared for the Forum on Public Policy of the Association for the Study of Higher Education.
Improving Outcomes for California's Minority Students: Can an Increased Role for Community Colleges in Teacher Preparation be Part of the Answer?
This report envisions a four-step pipeline for teacher development in which the community colleges can play a vital role.
Capacity Constraints in California's Public Universities: A Factor Impeding Transfer?
This report examines the issue of capacity constraints in California's public universities, and whether limited capacity is a factor impeding the success of the community college transfer function.
California Community College Transfer Rates: Policy Implications and a Future Research Agenda
This statistical study identifies factors that explain observed differences in transfer rates among California's community colleges.
An Accountability Framework for California Higher Education: Informing Public Policy and Improving Outcomes
This report responded to a request by the state Senate to begin developing an accountability system for higher education to measure progress toward definable state policy goals. The report formed the foundation for legislative efforts still underway to establish a state accountability system.
The Cal Grant Entitlement: Increasing Access to Financial Aid
This report describes changes made to the Cal Grant program in 2000 legislation, and analyzes reasons fewer awards than expected were granted in the first year after the changes.
California Community Colleges' Leadership Challenge: A View From the Field
This report discusses the growing leadership challenge in the California Community Colleges, based on interviews with current administrators, trustees, and faculty leaders.