Colleges and universities in Utah are preparing for enrollment declines (and tuition revenue declines) following a change in the age at which members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints go on missionary trips, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. Some institutions are imposing hiring freezes and stepping up efforts to recruit out-of-state students as a result. Mormon men can now leave on the missionary trips at age 18 (a year earlier than before) and women at 19 (two years earlier). Up until now, many have enrolled for a few semesters of college before leaving on the trips, and those enrollments are now in danger. Higher education officials still hope to recruit those who have completed their missionary travel, but are concerned about losing the transition from high school to college.
The Law School Admission Council has sued the state of California over a new law barring the council from alerting law schools that applicants have received extra time on the Law School Admission Test, The National Law Journal reported. Supporters of the new law and advocates for people with disabilities say that time extensions are an appropriate tool to help people with some disabilities, and that their scores should not be called into question through "flagging" them, as the process is known. But the Law School Admission Council's suit charges that California is violating the group's First Amendment rights by controlling what it says. Further, the suit says that the law inappropriately focuses on only the LSAT and not other standardized tests that may use flagging.
Postsecondary enrollments will grow by 15 percent between 2010 and 2021, far less than the 46 percent increase that occurred between 1996 and 2010, the U.S. Education Department's National Center for Education Statistics said in an annual report released Wednesday. The report, "Projections of Education Statistics Through 2021," provides a slew of data that anticipate how key K-12 and higher education indicators (enrollments, degrees conferred, etc.) will change over the next decade. By comparison, last year's report projected a 13 percent increase in college enrollments between 2009 and 2020; whether the uptick is a sign that the "completion agenda" is having an effect will be a subject for debate.
This year's report also projects a 21 percent increase in the number of associate degrees awarded by 2021-22, a 21 percent increase in the number of bachelor's degrees, a 34 percent rise in the number of master's degrees, and a 24 percent upturn in the number of doctoral degrees. In all cases those numbers are roughly half the number awarded in the 1996-97 to 2009-2010 period.
When Humboldt State University announced the creation of the Institute for Interdisciplinary Marijuana Research (to focus on marijuana policy analysis), Jimmy Kimmel couldn't resist making fun of the university (see video below). He predicted that the university's pot expertise would soon make it "harder to get into than Yale," and even produced a satirical ad for Humboldt State.
Now the university has invited Kimmel to be its graduation speaker. A joint letter by Rollin C. Richmond, Humboldt State's president, and Ellyn Henderson, its student government president, has invited Kimmel to be the graduation speaker. The letter notes the university's recent scholarly accomplishments (having nothing to do with pot) and its beautiful northern California location -- while also applying some guilt. "[W]e figure you owe us," they wrote. "Humboldt State provided you with just over three minutes of pretty good material, which must be worth quite a bit for a nationally televised program (though we are surprised you were unable to stretch the bit to 4 minutes 20 seconds)." Further, while stressing that they enjoyed the humor, the presidents wrote that "we also felt you shortchanged Humboldt State University, portraying all of our students as pot-obsessed slackers."
David Coleman, the new president of the College Board, last year gave a speech (related to his prior position as co-leader of the effort to write the Common Core State Standards, and not serving at the College Board) in which he offered strong criticism of the SAT, The Washington Post reported. Coleman focused on an issue that has bothered other educators -- the way the SAT writing test doesn't judge whether students are making arguments that have a basis in facts. (This paragraph has been updated to correct an error about Coleman's position at the time of the remarks.)
Here's a portion of the transcript of the talk that the Post found at the Brookings Institution: "Right now, I think there’s a breakthrough that the SAT added writing, because we do want to make the claim that kids need to write to be ready. Like, duh, right. To be ready for college and career, it obviously includes writing. But I have a problem with the SAT writing. So if you look at the way the SAT assessment is designed, when you write an essay even if it’s an opinion piece, there’s no source information given to you. So in other words, you write like what you’re opinion is on a subject, but there’s no fact on the table. So a friend of mine tutors in Hong Kong, and she was asked by here Hong Kong students, where do you get the examples for the essay? She said, you know, it’s the American way, you make them up. Now I’m all for creativity and innovation, but I don’t think that’s quite the creativity we want to inspire in a generation of youth. That is, if writing is to be ready for the demands of career and college, it must be precise, it must be accurate, it must draw upon evidence. Now I think that is warranted by tons of information we see from surveys of college professors, from evidence we have from other sources, so I think there is good reason to think about a design of SAT where rather than kids just writing an essay, there’s source material that they’re analyzing."
He also criticized the selection of vocabulary for the SAT: "I think when you think about vocabulary on exams, you know, how SAT words are famous as the words you will never use again? You know, you study them in high school and you’re like, gosh, I’ve never seen this before, and I probably never shall. Why wouldn’t it be the opposite? Why wouldn’t you have a body of language on the SAT that’s the words you most need to know and be ready to use again and again? Words like transform, deliberate, hypothesis, right?"
Asked about those comments recently, Coleman told the Post that "I want to be careful to say in a clear voice that any changes in SAT require the team, the trustees, and our partners in higher education to agree. The real question is can we make a revision of SAT a victory for everyone – more aligned with what colleges need as well as better work for kids. I think we can."