Graduation rates

The Completion Agenda

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SEATTLE -- A few years ago, gatherings of community college leaders commonly featured discussions of the unfairness and inaccuracy of using graduation rates to measure institutional success. There were no shortages of arguments to make: Many community college students don't want a degree, or they transfer before earning one, or they just wanted to take one course anyway, or they can only afford to take one course at a time.

Falling Education Attainment

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WASHINGTON – Young adults are less likely to have earned a degree than their older counterparts, according to a new report from the Brookings Institution that gathers nearly a decade’s worth of data from the government's American Community Survey and foreshadows next year’s release of the 2010 Census.

Institutional Research Roundup

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CHICAGO -- Institutional researchers are higher education's version of a utility infielder. That doesn't mean they lack expertise: They specialize in bringing data to bear on issues and problems, and explaining and interpreting those data to campus constituents who often come at the information from widely varying viewpoints. Their versatility comes, though, in the wide range of subjects they touch and of decisions over which they have some influence.

Moving the Needle

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AUSTIN, TEX. -- The major associations of community colleges all have recently endorsed the idea that two-year institutions need to focus more on retention and completion issues, and generally are in agreement on some of the steps they should take so greater shares of students achieve various goals. But how much progress is realistic to expect? And how much progress can take place in just a few years?

3-Year Degrees? Not So Fast

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As hot higher education ideas go, the three-year bachelor's degree continues to get a lot of attention and praise. Most recently, an op-ed in The New York Times made the case for three years of undergraduate study.

Adjuncts and Retention Rates

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Freshmen who have many of their courses taught by adjuncts are less likely than other students to return as sophomores, according to a new study looking at six four-year colleges and universities in a state system. Further, the nature of the impact of adjunct instruction varies by institution type and the type of adjunct used, the study finds.

The Retention Guru

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Two decades ago, Xavier University could only count on three of every four freshmen returning for sophomore year. Even fewer made it to graduation.

Today, though, close to 9 of every 10 students who start freshman year at the Jesuit university in Cincinnati make it back the next fall. Seven in 10 will graduate in four years, and another one will likely graduate in the two years after that.

Governors Push College Completion

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President Obama has used his bully pulpit to focus attention on the "college completion" agenda like no one else can. But if the United States is actually going to make meaningful progress on increasing the number of Americans with college credentials, it's going to be up to the states -- whose public institutions enroll roughly four of every five students -- to get the job done. And systemic change in the states will occur only if their chief executives -- governors -- get with the program.

Colleges and the Common Core

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MINNEAPOLIS -- For years, educators and policy makers have been talking about the need to better align K-12 and higher education, so that students coming out of high school have the skills and knowledge they need to do college-level work (and, not unimportantly, to reduce the need for remediation once students are in college).

Completion State by State

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College completion has quickly become a national problem and a federal priority. But the solutions and answers are likely to lie largely with the states, and two new reports lay out the scope of the challenge in individual states and offer guidance for state leaders on how best to bolster postsecondary attainment.

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