New Passing Score for the GED

The GED Testing Service today announced that it will lower the passing score for the GED, a test that serves as the equivalent of a high-school degree. At the same time the service, which Pearson and the American Council on Education own jointly, said it was adding two new, optional levels above the passing score (and the previous passing level) that will allow students to signify college readiness or to earn ACE recommendations for college credits.

The testing service said it decided to "recalibrate" the GED's scoring after comparing the educational success of GED program graduates and high school graduates. The GED two years ago unveiled a new computer-based test. It also has faced new competition.

“The scoring enhancements are based on an extensive analysis of test takers’ performance data from the past 18 months, conversations with state policy makers and elected officials, and external validation with experts,” said GED Testing Service President Randy Trask in a written statement. “This is part of our ongoing commitment to make data-based decisions and continually improve the efficacy of the GED program.”

A Research University Alternative to NSSE?

A consortium of major research universities has redesigned its undergraduate experience survey, positioning it more sharply as an alternative to the National Survey of Student Engagement. The Student Experience in the Research University survey is administered to students at the nine University of California campuses that offer undergraduate programs, 14 other Association of American Universities research universities and 11 international institutions in Europe and Asia.

The survey focuses on five facets of undergraduate education: social skills development, personal development, academic skills development, civic engagement, and economic opportunity and security. Steven Brint, vice provost of undergraduate education at the University of California at Riverside and co-chair of the committee that redesigned the survey, said the SERU survey is "a better fit" for public research universities than the NSSE survey.

"A central mission of public research universities is to meet the needs of the communities they serve," Brint said in a statement. "So we do need to ask if we're doing a good job not only in helping students to develop their cognitive skills, but also in other areas such as preparing students to be active citizens and effective organizational leaders."

NCAA punishes Louisiana-Lafayette over test fraud, and university sues ACT

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NCAA punishes U of Louisiana-Lafayette over egregious case of test fraud -- and the university in turn sues ACT over its role.

Calif. community college accreditor loses bid to reverse U.S. findings against it

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The embattled accrediting organization will now have until January 2017 to resolve the Education Department’s findings that it failed to meet federal standards.

How U.S. Fares Globally on Higher Ed Measures

The United States spends more money per student on higher education than any of the other developed countries in the Group of 20, while its performance on many attainment measures does not lead the pack, a new report from the National Center for Education Statistics shows.

The report compares the U.S. and the other G-20 countries on a wide variety of K-12 and postsecondary education indicators. Among the highlights:

  • The proportion of 25- to 64-year-olds who had completed a higher education degree was higher in the Russian Federation (53 percent), Canada (51 percent) and Japan (46 percent) than it was in the United States (42 percent) in 2011. Slightly more 25- to 34-year-olds (43 percent) than 25- to 64-year-olds in the U.S. had earned a postsecondary credential as of 2011.
  • The U.S. ranked fifth among reporting countries in the proportion of 20- to 29-year olds who were enrolled in formal education in 2011, at 27 percent. That was up from 23 percent in 2001.
  • The United States had the highest core expenditures per student on higher education in 2010, at about $19,700. Canada was next at $15,100. The United States also spent a higher percentage of its gross domestic product on education (5.9 percent) than any other G-20 country reporting data.
  • In higher education over all, the United States had the smallest percentage of international students (3 percent) in 2011 of the five G-20 countries with data, including Australia (20 percent), the United Kingdom (17 percent), Canada (7 percent) and Japan (4 percent). But the absolute number of international students in the United States was larger than in any of the other countries reporting data.

Groups band together to improve transfer pathways for community college students

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Improved transfer pathways from community colleges to four-year institutions may be the best answer to America's college completion woes, say three influential groups that will prod states and colleges on transfer.

Report Highlights Inequities in Education of Black Students

A report released today by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation examines inequities in education of African-American students across the country. While the report mainly focuses on kindergarten through 12th grade, it also examines racial differences in graduation rates and the rates of college readiness.

The report takes a state-by-state approach in its examination of graduation rates, ACT scores, Advanced Placement tests and college remediation rates. In partnership with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the report found a mismatch between high school graduation rates and college readiness.

"Graduation rates for African-American students range from 84 percent in Texas to 57 percent in both Nevada and Oregon," according to the report. "But, according to the ACT, the percentage of African-American students who are college ready in all four tested subjects (English, math, reading and science) ranges from 17 percent in Massachusetts to only 3 percent in Mississippi."

The report acknowledges that the ACT isn't the perfect barometer for measuring the discrepancy between the numbers, because not every high school graduate is planning to attend college.

"But college preparedness rates that equal only one-tenth of the graduation rate seem extreme," the report states, adding that the information will better help states, school systems and colleges address educational shortcomings that disproportionately affect black students.

Education Department staff recommends sanctions for California community college accreditor

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Education Department staff recommends sanctions for the accreditor of the state’s two-year colleges.

Early glimpse at student achievement at College for America, a competency-based degree provider

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Southern New Hampshire U's College for America releases a promising early snapshot of the general-education learning and skills of students who are enrolled in a new form of competency-based education.

California Community Colleges Seek New Accreditor

The Board of Governors of California's community college system voted Monday to replace the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges as the accreditor for the system's colleges, The San Francisco Chronicle reported. The current accreditor has frustrated many faculty groups and administrators, who say it has been unfair to colleges, and in particular to the City College of San Francisco. Any move to a new accreditor will take time, however. Steve Kinsella, chairman of the accrediting commission being ousted, tried to convince the board to hold off, arguing that the accreditor has improved and that the board was “looking at old information.” He added, “If you think you’re getting away from regulatory compliance, I think you’re mistaken.”


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