Tag Archives: College Admission

University of Texas Austin study: Small words in college essay can predict college success

11 Feb

This is an absolutely jaw-dropping statistic. According the article, Opinion Brief: Detroit’s ‘shocking’ 47 percent illiteracy rate which was posted at The Week:

More than 200,000 Detroit residents — 47 percent of Motor City adults — are “functionally illiterate,” according to a new report released by the Detroit Regional Workforce Fund. That means they can’t fill out basic forms, read a prescription, or handle other tasks most Americans take for granted, according to the fund’s director, Karen Tyler-Ruiz, as quoted by CBS Detroit. Her organization’s study also found that the education and training aimed at overcoming these problems “is inadequate at best,” says Jackie Headapohl at Michigan Live. http://theweek.com/article/index/215055/detroits-shocking-47-percent-illiteracy-rate

Illiteracy is a global problem, with some geographic areas and populations suffering more from illiteracy than others.

Education Portal defines illiteracy in the article, Illiteracy: The Downfall of American Society.

Most people think of literacy as a simple question of being able to read. But while a young child who can work her way through a basic picture book is considered to have age-appropriate literacy levels, an adult who can only read at the most fundamental level is still functionally illiterate.

The world requires that adults not only be able to read and understand basic texts, but also be able to function in the workplace, pay bills, understand legal and financial documents and navigate technology – not to mention the advanced reading comprehension skills required to pursue postsecondary education and the opportunities that come with it.

As a result, when we talk about the effects of illiteracy on society, we’re talking primarily about what happens when you have a large number of adults whose literacy skills are too low to perform normal, day-to-day tasks. However, it is worth keeping in mind that childhood illiteracy is, of course, directly correlated to adult illiteracy.                                                                                                     http://education-portal.com/articles/Illiteracy_The_Downfall_of_American_Society.html

The key concept is the individual cannot adequately function in the society in which they live. That means that tasks necessary to provide a satisfactory life are difficult because they cannot read and/or comprehend what they read. Reading and literacy are important for writing and the ability for an individual to express their ideas.

Scott Jaschik wrote in the Inside Higher Education article, Analyzing Application Essays:

Admissions essays are thought of by many as less scientific than other parts of the college application process — a chance to share a personal story, to inject personality into the process, to become more than just a grade-point average or test score.

But it may be that statistical analysis can be applied to application essays — and that some words and some topics correlate with better performance in college. That’s the conclusion of a new study published in PLOS One that analyzes the words used in application essays with grades earned once enrolled.

The study found that the essays that predicted the most academic success demonstrated “categorical thinking,” which involves writing that categorizes things, and that connects concepts and ideas. Generally, writing with categorical thinking uses many articles such as “the” and prepositions such as “on” and “of.”

Essays that show “dynamic thinking,” in contrast, predict lower G.P.A.s in college. This writing tends to use pronouns such as “I” and “they” and to rely on personal narratives.

The authors of the paper — all at the University of Texas at Austin — are James Pennebaker, a psychology professor, David Beaver, professor in of linguistics; Gary Lavergne, program manager in the Office of Admissions; Cindy Chung, psychology postdoctoral fellow; and Joey Frazee, a linguistics graduate student.

The analysis is based on data from 50,000 essays from 25,975 applicants who, after being accepted, enrolled at “a large state university” from 2004 through 2007, and were then tracked for their grades. The study does not explicitly state that the students are at UT Austin, and the researchers declined to name the institution. But the size of the university seems to match UT, and the Institutional Review Board that reviewed the project was at that university….

Generally, those applicants who, compared to the average applicant, used greater numbers of long words (6 letters or more) than others, used more complicated sentences, and wrote longer essays all ended up with slightly higher GPAs than did other admitted students…. https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2015/01/08/new-study-links-certain-application-essays-and-college-success


Article Source: When Small Words Foretell Academic Success: The Case of College Admissions Essays

Pennebaker JW, Chung CK, Frazee J, Lavergne GM, Beaver DI (2014) When Small Words Foretell Academic Success: The Case of College Admissions Essays. PLoS ONE 9(12): e115844. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0115844


The smallest and most commonly used words in English are pronouns, articles, and other function words. Almost invisible to the reader or writer, function words can reveal ways people think and approach topics. A computerized text analysis of over 50,000 college admissions essays from more than 25,000 entering students found a coherent dimension of language use based on eight standard function word categories. The dimension, which reflected the degree students used categorical versus dynamic language, was analyzed to track college grades over students’ four years of college. Higher grades were associated with greater article and preposition use, indicating categorical language (i.e., references to complexly organized objects and concepts). Lower grades were associated with greater use of auxiliary verbs, pronouns, adverbs, conjunctions, and negations, indicating more dynamic language (i.e., personal narratives). The links between the categorical-dynamic index (CDI) and academic performance hint at the cognitive styles rewarded by higher education institutions.


Here is the press release from the University of Texas:

Short Words Predict Academic Success

Jan. 7, 2015

AUSTIN, Texas — The smallest, most forgettable words in admissions essays can tell us in advance how students will perform in college, a new study by researchers at The University of Texas at Austin reveals.

Common sense suggests that academic potential is shown by use of long complicated words. The new research shows, on the contrary, that common, easily overlooked words — such as the, a, to, I and they — matter. These short words provide a better yardstick than long words for measuring a person’s potential.

The new study used 50,000 admissions essays written by prospective college students, enabling the researchers to connect language use to later college performance. It turned out that how students use small words is related to subsequent GPA. For example, students who heavily use the word I tend to do worse in class, and students who heavily use the words the and a do better.

“Function words allow us to assess how people are thinking more than what they are thinking about,” said James Pennebaker, a psychology professor at The University of Texas at Austin and co-author of the paper. “In the growing age of big data, we can now begin to identify the potential thinking patterns of individuals, groups and perhaps even cultures for whom there exist language records.”

The UT Austin team used computerized text analysis to show that college performance is tied to a new measure that they call the Categorical Dynamic Index (CDI). This measure is calculated from a simple combination of the frequencies of common words. Categorical thinking involves categorizing things into kinds and connecting objects and concepts in a sophisticated way. Categorical thinking is reflected by use of articles such as the and prepositions such as on and of.

The new research shows that people who think categorically do better in college than those who don’t. On the other hand, dynamic thinkers see the world in terms of narratives, typically personal and subjective. Dynamic thinkers use more pronouns such as I and they and more auxiliary verbs such as will and had, and these applicants ended up, on average, with lower GPAs in the study.

The paper, titled “When Small Words Foretell Academic Success,” appeared in the Dec. 31 online edition of the journal PLOS ONE. In addition to Pennebaker, the interdisciplinary team of researchers includes David Beaver, professor in the Department of Linguistics; Gary Lavergne, program manager in the Office of Admissions; Cindy Chung, psychology postdoctoral fellow; and Joey Frazee, a linguistics graduate student.

The surprising finding that small words are tied to academic success could, of course, be used by admissions officers. But the researchers caution against the simple use of word counts in admissions decisions.

“The results could be interpreted not as a failure of dynamic thinkers to do well in college,” said Beaver, “but as a failure of college to help students add categorical thinking to their arsenal.”

For more information, contact: David Ochsner, College of Liberal Arts, 512 626 0788;  David Beaver, Department of Linguistics, College of Liberal Arts, ;  James Pennebaker, Department of Psychology, College of Liberal Arts, 512-232-2781.

K-12 education must not only prepare students by teaching basic skills, but they must prepare students for training after high school, either college or vocational. There should not only be a solid education foundation established in K-12, but there must be more accurate evaluation of whether individual students are “college ready.”


Helping community college students to graduate                                          https://drwilda.com/2012/02/08/helping-community-college-students-to-graduate/

The digital divide affects the college application process                                 https://drwilda.com/2012/12/08/the-digital-divide-affects-the-college-application-process/

College readiness: What are ‘soft skills’                                                                       https://drwilda.com/2012/11/14/college-readiness-what-are-soft-skills/

Colleges rethinking who may need remedial education                                       https://drwilda.com/2012/10/24/colleges-rethinking-who-may-need-remedial-education/

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NBER study: Work Study positively effects college completion and employment

30 Jul

When students receive letters of acceptance from colleges, they must decide which college is the best fit for them. Given the tight economy, cost is a major consideration. Beckie Supiano and Elyse Ashburn wrote With New Lists, Federal Government Moves to Help Consumers and Prod Colleges to Limit Price Increases http://chronicle.com/article/Governments-New-Lists-on/128092/ in the Chronicle of Higher Education about the Department of Education’s new site about college costs. The College Affordability and Transparency Center http://collegecost.ed.gov/catc/Default.aspx is useful for students who are applying to college. It allows parents and students to calculate the costs of various college options. Once the costs of various college options are considered, then other considerations come into the decision.

For many students a major consideration is whether a college offers work study programs. College Data provides an overview of work study in How Work-Study Works:

How Do You Get Work-Study?
You apply for work-study just like you do all other forms of financial aid: by filling out and submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Your financial need usually determines the amount of work-study you are eligible for.
You find work-study jobs through job banks or postings by the financial aid or college employment offices. In most cases, students will have the opportunity to interview with potential work-study employers. The interviews help students and employers find out if the job is a good fit. Sometimes the college arranges these interviews; sometimes the student does. Even if you are eligible for work-study, there is no guarantee you’ll get a work-study job. In the end, whether or not you are hired is up to the employer.
Why Choose a Work-Study Job Over Regular Employment?
Taking a work-study job does not impact your financial aid eligibility. That is because the federal government does not count your work-study job earnings as income….
How Much Can You Earn?
The amount of your other financial aid usually determines how much aid is allocated to work-study. How much you can earn also depends on your class schedule and how well you’re doing academically. You should be realistic when working out your schedule and allow yourself time not only for study but also for recreational and leisure activities….
How Does Your Salary Get Paid?
Undergraduate students on work-study are paid by the hour and must be paid at least once a month. Your check will be sent directly to you to pay for your tuition, room, meals, or other college fees. Or, if you request it, your check can be sent directly to the college.
What Are Typical Work-Study Jobs?
If you get a work-study job on campus, the college will usually be your employer. Typical jobs include working in the library or bookstore, serving other students in the dining hall, and assisting with college events. Off-campus work usually benefits the public in some way and should relate as closely as possible to your course of study.
You may be working alongside other students not in the work-study program. In fact, in all respects your employment will appear the same as any other job. Only the college and your employer will know you’re a work-study student. The only difference between a regular part-time job and a work-study job is that part of your salary may be covered by the federal government, the state, your college, or some other organization…. http://www.collegedata.com/cs/content/content_payarticle_tmpl.jhtml?articleId=10083

Two Columbia University researchers concluded that work study correlates positively in helping student college completion rates.

Ken Button of Education Dive summarizes a NBER study which shows the effectiveness of college work study programs in Research shows college work-study programs generally benefit students:

Dive Brief:
• A new study by the National Bureau of Economic Research in Cambridge, MA, finds that college student employment subsidies provide generally positive effects on degree completion and employment.
• According to the study, the positive effects of employment subsidies are largest for lower-income students and students with lower SAT scores.
• According to the study, students enrolled in the largest employment subsidy program, Federal Work-Study, have a 3.2% improvement in bachelor degree completion six years later and a 2.4% improvement in employment six years later.
Dive Insight:
The study says that the academic improvements seem to be driven by the population of students who would have worked anyway, even without a student employment subsidy program. That’s because these students were able to work fewer hours, thanks to the subsidy, and apparently could devote more time to their studies. For students who would not have worked without the employment subsidy program, their grades declined in the first year of work study, but their graduation rates didn’t suffer and they enjoyed positive effects on their later employment.


Should Student Employment Be Subsidized? Conditional Counterfactuals and the Outcomes of Work-Study Participation
Judith Scott-Clayton, Veronica Minaya
NBER Working Paper No. 20329
Issued in July 2014
NBER Program(s): ED LS
Student employment subsidies are one of the largest types of federal employment subsidies, and one of the oldest forms of student aid. Yet it is unclear whether they help or harm students’ long term outcomes. We present a framework that decomposes overall effects into a weighted average of effects for marginal and inframarginal workers. We then develop an application of propensity scores, which we call conditional-counterfactual matching, in which we estimate the overall impact, and the impact under two distinct counterfactuals: working at an unsubsidized job, or not working at all. Finally, we estimate the effects of the largest student employment subsidy program—Federal Work-Study (FWS)—for a broad range of participants and outcomes. Our results suggest that about half of FWS participants are inframarginal workers, for whom FWS reduces hours worked and improves academic outcomes, but has little impact on future employment. For students who would not have worked otherwise, the pattern of effects reverses. With the exception of first-year GPA, we find scant evidence of negative effects of FWS for any outcome or subgroup. However, positive effects are largest for lower-income and lower-SAT subgroups, suggesting there may be gains to improved targeting of funds.

You may purchase this paper on-line in .pdf format from SSRN.com ($5) for electronic delivery.


Five Ways to Cut the Cost of College

Secrets to paying for college http://money.cnn.com/2012/03/27/pf/college/tuition-costs.moneymag/index.htm

College Preparation Checklist https://studentaid.ed.gov/sites/default/files/college-prep-checklist.pdf

Federal Student Aid http://studentaid.ed.gov/resources


Choosing the right college for you https://drwilda.com/2012/04/15/choosing-the-right-college-for-you/

Many U.S. colleges use the ‘Common Application’ https://drwilda.com/tag/college-cost/

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Nature article: Does Graduate Record Exam pose a barrier to grad school admission for women and those of color

16 Jun

The Council of Graduate Schools report Graduate Enrollment and Degrees: 2002to 2012 by Leila M. Gonzales, Jeffrey R. Allum, and Robert S. Sowell describes enrollment in U.S. graduate schools. http://cgsnet.org/ckfinder/userfiles/files/GEDReport_2012.pdf California State at Long Beach has an excellent description of the application process and a good description of the tests required:

Admissions Examinations
• Graduate Records Exam (GRE)
• Miller Analogies Test (MAT)
• Law School Admissions Test (LSAT)
• Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT)
• Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT)
• Dental Aptitude Test (DAT)
• Veterinary Aptitude Test (VAT)
• Optometry Admissions Test (OAT)
• Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT)
• Teacher Testing (PRAXIS)
Plan to take the appropriate entrance examination during your junior year or at the latest during the fall of your senior year if you plan to go on to graduate school immediately after college…. http://careers.csulb.edu/majors_and_careers/applying_to_graduate_school.htm

Many women and students of color seem to be eliminated from admission to top graduate science programs by the Graduate Record Exam.

Manhattan Prep describes the Graduate Record Exam or GRE:

Basics: What is the GRE®?
The Graduate Record Examination (GRE®) is a standardized test used by graduate programs to help determine who gets in and who receives grants and fellowships. The exam comes in two types: the general exam, which covers a range of non-specific skills developed over a long period of time and years of schooling, and the subject tests, which test depth of knowledge in eight different fields. Worldwide, about half a million people take the general test each year, while a much smaller number takes the subject exams.
The general test is computer-based and consists of three sections, verbal, quantitative, and analytical writing. Verbal and quant are each scored on a scale of 130-170, in 1-point increments, plus a percentile rank. The writing section is scored on a scale of 0-6, in half-point increments. The test does not cover specifics in any field of study, but rather a set of skills thought to be important for prospective grad students.
The subject tests, on the other hand, are paper-based and administered 3 times a year. Unlike the general test, the subject test assumes extensive knowledge. Tests cover the following areas: Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology; Biology; Chemistry; Computer Science; Literature in English; Mathematics; Physics; and Psychology. To determine whether you should take the general test or one of these subject-specific exams, you’ll need to check with the programs where you’re applying. For any field without a subject test, you’ll take the general exam…. https://www.manhattanprep.com/gre/gre-info.cfm

An article questions the influence of the GRE in the college admission process.

Charlie Tyson reported in the Inside Higher Education article, Is the GRE Too Influential?

The low numbers of female and minority students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields has been fodder for much debate. A new analysis argues that the GRE, a standardized test that most U.S. graduate schools require, is in part to blame.
An article published in the June 12 issue of Nature contends that U.S. universities place too much stress on the GRE when making decisions about graduate admissions. Casey Miller, an associate professor of physics at the University of South Florida, and Keivan Stassun, a professor of physics and astronomy at Vanderbilt University and Fisk University, write that admissions committees, by focusing too squarely on the GRE, are shortchanging women and under-represented minorities and also failing to admit the best students into their Ph.D. programs.
The GRE is a poor predictor of success in the sciences, Miller and Stassun argue. Studies find “only a weak correlation” between high GRE scores and ultimate success in STEM fields.
The test does, however, reflect traits that are unrelated to scholarly potential – such as socioeconomic status, the authors say. (The SAT, a standardized test used in college admissions, perennially receives similar criticisms that high performance on the test is an artifact of family wealth.) The physicists put it bluntly: “the GRE is a better indicator of sex and skin colour than of ability and ultimate success.”
On the quantitative portion of the test, women in the physical sciences score 80 points lower, on average, than men do, according to data from the Educational Testing Service, the company that administers the GRE. African-American test-takers score 200 points lower than whites on the quantitative section.
Some admissions committees, Miller and Stassun report, filter applications using GRE scores. For example, a committee might reject any applicant who has scored below 700 on the GRE’s 800-point quantitative section. This use of GRE scores threatens to delete otherwise qualified female, black and Latino candidates from the applicant pool, Miller and Stassun argue.
The ETS’s guidelines explicitly advise against using cut-off scores for admissions.
The authors argue that admissions committees should attempt to identify applicants who demonstrate “grit and diligence” by (for example) conducting interviews instead of relying so heavily on GRE scores….

Here is the press release from Nature:

A test that fails
• Casey Miller
• & Keivan Stassun
Nature 510, 303-304 (2014)

Published online
11 June 2014
This article was originally published in the journal Nature
A standard test for admission to graduate school misses potential winners, say Casey Miller and Keivan Stassun.
Universities in the United States rely too heavily on the graduate record examinations (GRE) — a standardized test introduced in 1949 that is an admissions requirement for most US graduate schools. This practice is poor at selecting the most capable students and severely restricts the flow of women and minorities into the sciences.
We are not the only ones to reach this conclusion. William Sedlacek, professor emeritus of education at the University of Maryland, College Park, who has written extensively on the issue, notes that studies find only a weak correlation between the test and ultimate success in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) fields. De-emphasizing the GRE and augmenting admissions procedures with measures of other attributes — such as drive, diligence and the willingness to take scientific risks — would not only make graduate admissions more predictive of the ability to do well but would also increase diversity in STEM.
Test disparities
The GRE, like most standardized tests, reflects certain demographic characteristics of test-takers — such as family socioeconomic status — that are unrelated to their intellectual capacity or academic preparation. The exam’s ‘quantitative score’ — the portion measuring maths acumen, which is most commonly scrutinized in admissions to STEM PhD programmes — correlates closely with gender and ethnicity (see ‘The great divide’). The effect is powerful. According to data from Educational Testing Service (ETS), based in Princeton, New Jersey, the company that administers the GRE, women score 80 points lower on average in the physical sciences than do men, and African Americans score 200 points below white people. In simple terms, the GRE is a better indicator of sex and skin colour than of ability and ultimate success.
These correlations and their magnitude are not well known to graduate-admissions committees, which have a changing rota of faculty members. Compounding the problem, some admissions committees use minimum GRE scores to rapidly filter applications; for example, any candidate scoring below 700 on the 800-point quantitative test section may be discarded. Using GRE scores to filter applicants in this way is a violation of ETS’s own guidelines.
This problem is rampant. If the correlation between GRE scores and gender and ethnicity is not accounted for, imposing such cut-offs adversely affects women and minority applicants. For example, in the physical sciences, only 26% of women, compared with 73% of men, score above 700 on the GRE Quantitative measure. For minorities, this falls to 5.2%, compared with 82% for white and Asian people.
” In simple terms, the GRE is a better indicator of sex and skin colour than of ability and ultimate success. ”
The misuse of GRE scores to select applicants may be a strong driver of the continuing under-representation of women and minorities in graduate school. Indeed, women earn barely 20% of US physical-sciences PhDs, and under-represented minorities — who account for 33% of the US university-age population — earn just 6%. These percentages are striking in their similarity to the percentage of students who score above 700 on the GRE quantitative measure.
Why is the GRE misused? Admissions committees are busy, and numerical rankings are easy to sort. We believe that faculty members also often presume that higher scores imply that the test-taker has a greater ability to become a PhD-level scientist. Yet research by ETS indicates that the predictive validity of the GRE tests is limited to first-year graduate-course grades, and even that correlation is meagre in maths-intensive STEM fields.
Why should graduate-admissions committees care about fixing the problem? First, diversity, in the form of individuals with different perspectives, backgrounds and experiences, is a key component of innovation and problem solving, a concept that business and industry have come to recognize. Less diversity in STEM graduate programmes means slower progress in tackling today’s scientific and technical challenges. Second, the overall PhD completion rate in US STEM graduate programmes is a disappointing 50%. Although graduate programmes certainly produce successful students who continue on to productive science careers, we think that many faculty members would agree that such a low PhD completion rate is a poor return on the investment in recruiting and training students. Indeed, STEM graduate programmes are failing not only from the diversity standpoint, but also from a success standpoint.
Alternative selection
So what should universities do? Instead of filtering by GRE scores, graduate programmes can select applicants on the basis of skills and character attributes that are more predictive of doing well in scientific research and of ultimate employability in the STEM workforce. Appraisers should look not only at indicators of previous achievements, but also at evidence of ability to overcome the tribulations of becoming a PhD-level scientist.
A few innovative PhD programmes, including the bridge programmes at the University of South Florida in Tampa and Fisk–Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tennessee (in which we are involved) are doing this. They have achieved completion rates above 80%, well above the national average, and are greatly boosting participation by women and minorities (see Nature 504, 471–473; 2013). The admissions process includes an interview that examines college and research experiences, key relationships, leadership experience, service to community and life goals. The result is a good indication of the individual’s commitment to scientific research and a good assessment of traits such as maturity, perseverance, adaptability and conscientiousness atop a solid academic foundation. The combination of academic aptitude and these other competencies points to the likelihood of high achievement in graduate school and in a STEM career.
How have the students admitted to these courses performed? In the Fisk–Vanderbilt programme, 81% of the 67 students who have entered the programme — including 56 under-represented minorities and 35 women — have earned, or are making good progress towards, their PhDs. And all students who have completed PhDs are employed in the STEM workforce as postdocs, university faculty members or staff scientists in national labs or industry. From the standpoint of optimal outcomes — earning a PhD and obtaining employment in the STEM workforce — the GRE has proved irrelevant. Indeed, 85% of these young scientists would have been eliminated from consideration for PhD programmes by a GRE quantitative cut-off score of 700.
The only downside is that interviews take about 30 minutes each. But the number of interviews need not be large, and the tremendous insight garnered justifies the time. ETS is even marketing a tool for referees to evaluate applicants’ personal attributes. The company developed it in part as a response to calls from applicants and graduate programmes for alternative measures of student potential for long-term achievement that is not captured by GRE.
We often hear admissions committee members say, ‘We would admit women and minorities if they were qualified’. This mindset reflects long-standing admissions practices that systematically, if inadvertently, filter out women and minorities. At the same time, these practices are no better than a coin flip at identifying candidates with the potential — and the mettle — to earn a PhD.
Let us be frank: we believe that many STEM faculty members on admissions committees and upper-level administrators hold a deep-seated and unfounded belief that these test scores are good measures of ability, of potential for doing well in graduate school and of long-term potential as a scientist, and that students who score poorly on standardized exams are not likely to become PhD-level scientists. These assumptions are false.
This is not a call to admit unqualified students in the name of social good. This is a call to acknowledge that the typical weight given to GRE scores in admissions is disproportionate. If we diminish reliance on GRE and instead augment current admissions practices with proven markers of achievement, such as grit and diligence, we will make our PhD programmes more inclusive and will more efficiently identify applicants with potential for long-term success as researchers. Isn’t that what graduate school is about?

Dave Jameson wrote at the American Psychological Association site in the article, The GRE: What it tells us, and what it doesn’t:

Fortunately, the question of the GRE’s validity has spawned its own subgenre of academic literature. Culled from the empirical data published over the last decade, here are a few things we know — and don’t know — about how well this examination predicts the future.
• There’s no way to know whether a low GRE score translates into failure. Students with the lowest GRE scores aren’t admitted into graduate psychology programs, so they never become psychologists. As a result, there’s no way for researchers to know whether the very lowest-scoring students would have gone on to prove their predictors wrong. “It’s certainly true that there’s a restriction of range,” says Robert Sternberg, PhD, a psychologist and provost at Oklahoma State University who’s examined the GRE in his research. “If you had [greater] range, the predictive value of these studies would increase.” This catch-22 makes some researchers wonder why the GRE looms so large in admissions decisions to begin with.
• GRE scores do help reveal which students will do well in the classroom and which won’t. Many studies have found that students with lower GRE scores are more likely to fail their preliminary examinations. Students with total scores higher than 1,167 usually end up with better grade-point averages than their classmates, more published papers and better ratings from faculty, according to a 2004 study by Dale Phillips, PhD, and Kristen McAuliffe in the School Psychologist Newsletter (Vol. 52, No. 2). “Based on the data that’s out there, the GRE is consistently the strongest [predictor] we have of student success,” says Nathan Kuncel, PhD, author of a 2001 GRE meta-analysis published in Psychological Bulletin (Vol. 127, No. 1).
• The GRE’s predictive powers diminish over time. In his 1997 study published in American Psychologist, (Vol. 52, No. 6) Sternberg found that GRE scores tell us most about how students will perform in the first year of grad school. That’s because “you need the same kinds of skills in introductory courses as you do for the GRE,” he says — namely, the basics, such as general reading and quantitative skills — but not necessarily imagination. As grad school grinds on, more abstract skills become increasingly important — for instance, intuiting which journal would be most likely to accept a particular kind of paper. “The GRE doesn’t measure that,” says Sternberg.
• GRE scores are less reliable when it comes to predicting whether a student will eventually complete a psychology program. The exams may predict classroom performance fairly well, but grades aren’t everything. Several researchers have found that the GRE tells us less about whether someone will finish school. Phillips and McAuliffe, for instance, found that GRE scores didn’t differ much between students who eventually graduated and students who didn’t. “Nothing predicts finishing very well,” says Kuncel. In many cases, students drop out because of life circumstances — leaving to take care of an ailing parent, for example. Phillips’s and McAuliffe’s study support that claim: Only 9 percent of students who dropped out said it was because they couldn’t hack the coursework.
• The GRE’s subject test in psychology tells us the most about a student’s potential. Kuncel’s meta-analysis found that the subject test outperformed the verbal, quantitative and analytical tests when it came to predicting students’ grades and whether they’ll eventually earn a degree. “That only makes sense,” says Stephen J. Dollinger, PhD, a psychology professor at Southern Illinois University who’s studied the validity of the GRE. “The student who enters graduate school knowing more psychology should have an easier time starting a thesis [and] passing prelims.”

But the subject test — usually 205 multiple-choice questions — measures more than just psychology knowledge, says Kuncel. A student who is especially passionate about psychology may outperform a fellow student who has been deemed brighter by the GRE’s verbal and quantitative tests. Still, most master’s programs and about half of doctoral programs in psychology don’t insist that you take it. According to Kuncel, many admissions programs probably worry that they’d alienate prospective students by giving them another hoop to jump through.

“That’s the irony,” he says. “The best single predictor is also not required at many programs.” Still, Kuncel “highly recommend[s]” that prospective students take the test anyway, if only to convey their enthusiasm for the field.
In the end, your GRE score will certainly affect which program you get into, but it won’t necessarily predict how well you do once you get there….. http://www.apa.org/gradpsych/2011/01/gre.aspx

See, Decide Between GMAT, GRE http://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/mba-admissions-strictly-business/2011/07/29/decide-between-gmat-gre

The question is how to teach critical thinking skills. David Carnes wrote the excellent Livestrong article, How to Build Critical Thinking Skills in Children.http://www.livestrong.com/article/167563-how-to-build-critical-thinking-skills-in-children/#ixzz1kB28AgFS


What , if anything, do education tests mean? https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/11/27/what-if-anything-do-education-tests-mean/

Complete College America report: The failure of remediation https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/06/21/complete-college-america-report-the-failure-of-remediation/

What the ACT college readiness assessment means https://drwilda.com/2012/08/25/what-the-act-college-readiness-assessment-means/

The importance of the National Assessment of Educational Progress https://drwilda.com/2012/09/12/the-importance-of-the-national-assessment-of-educational-progress/

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

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The ‘Common Application’ evolves

13 May

Moi wrote about the “Common Application” in Many U.S. colleges use the ‘Common Application’:
Many students are preparing to apply to college and they will be using the “Common Application” which is used by over 450 universities including some international schools. https://www.commonapp.org/CommonApp/FAQ.aspx
In addition to U.S. colleges, colleges in England, France, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland use the “Common Application.” For a good synopsis of the pros and cons of using the application, go to Should I Use The Common Application? http://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/college-admissions-experts/2011/09/07/should-i-use-the-common-application
Jacques Steinberg reported about problems with the “Common Application” in 2010. http://seattletimes.com/html/nationworld/2013744243_application23.html

It has been a year of challenges for the Common Application. Kimberly Hefling, AP Education Writer reported in the article, Common Application Makes Changes After Tough Year:

“Given the year we just had, we can’t be complacent about any of this,” Eric Furda, the dean of admissions at the University of Pennsylvania, said during a media briefing. Furda is president-elect of the board of the not-for-profit Common Application membership organization.
The most common problems experienced by students were related to essay formatting, difficulty submitting an application and the inability to determine if they had paid application fees, Furda said. Higher education institutions complained about not being able to pull up documents that had been submitted.
Because of the problems, many colleges and universities extended application deadlines, and some began accepting applications from competing programs.
Furda said most of the problems were corrected by the end of 2013, but challenges persisted.
A review conducted by an outside firm determined that the technology had been rolled out without first being properly tested…http://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/common-application-makes-tough-year-23658956

See, Fixing the Common App http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2014/04/11/common-application-releases-consultant-report-technical-problems#sthash.9yHgRCsc.dpbs
Jacques Steinberg reported about problems with the “Common Application” in 2010. http://seattletimes.com/html/nationworld/2013744243_application23.html
Eric Hoover reported in the Chronicle of Higher Education article, Common Application’s Leaders Get an Earful http://chronicle.com/blogs/headcount/common-applications-leaders-get-an-earful/36589?cid=pm&utm_source=pm&utm_medium=en
In addition to technical problems, the application is facing a law suit.

Eric Hoover reported in the Chronicle of Higher Education article, Has Common App Turned Admissions Into a ‘Straitjacketed Ward of Uniformity’?

Anyone in the mood for colorful renderings of the big business built around the college-admissions process should read the lawsuit filed last week against the Common Application in a federal court in Oregon. The nonprofit group behind the ever-growing online application, a competitor asserts, “has orchestrated a sea change in the student-application process, turning a once vibrant, diverse, and highly competitive market into a straitjacketed ward of uniformity.”
The complaint was brought by CollegeNet Inc., a technology company in Portland, Ore., that builds customized application-processing systems for colleges. CollegeNet argues that the Common Application, which has more than 500 member colleges, has violated federal antitrust laws.
“As colleges are increasingly compelled to join the Common Application,” the lawsuit says, it “is poised to eliminate competition in the broader market within a few short years.”
Over the last decade or so, CollegeNet has lost many customers to the Common Application, whose fee structure rewards member colleges that use its application exclusively. While reporting on the Common App’s growth last year, I talked to Jim Wolfston, CollegeNet’s chief executive, who described his concerns about his competitor….
The Common Application’s leaders have long asserted that increased applications are a side effect of membership—not the organization’s raison d’être. That question aside, the Common App has great influence over the application process at most of the nation’s high-profile colleges.
Whether or not CollegeNet’s legal arguments have merit, some passages in the complaint reflect concerns that admissions officials share. Namely, that the Common App has become too—pick your word—big, dominant, powerful within the realm of selective admissions. (Read all about that here.)
Although the Common App is the biggest fish in the pond, it’s worth noting that plenty of its member colleges use at least one other application, too. Last week, for instance, six colleges announced that they would also accept the Universal College Application, joining 12 institutions that have signed on since last fall. Following months of technical problems with the Common App, some colleges that had used it exclusively have decided not to keep all their eggs in one basket.
After a tumultuous fall, the Common Application’s leaders are doing some soul-searching. Recently, the group’s Board of Directors commissioned an independent review of the organization. One finding was that the Common App’s pricing structure “may be at odds with the mission…. http://chronicle.com/blogs/headcount/has-common-app-turned-admissions-into-a-straitjacketed-ward-of-uniformity/38299?cid=pm&utm_source=pm&utm_medium=en

Applying to a college is just the first step. Students and families also have to consider the cost of particular college options.

Beckie Supiano and Elyse Ashburn wrote the article, With New Lists, Federal Government Moves to Help Consumers and Prod Colleges to Limit Price Increases in the Chronicle of Higher Education about the Department of Education’s new site about college costs.


College Preparation Checklist Brochure http://studentaid.ed.gov/sites/default/files/college-prep-checklist.pdf

Federal Student Aid At A Glance http://www.emory.edu/FINANCIAL_AID/docs/Federal%20Aid%20at%20a%20Glance.pdf


The digital divide affects the college application process https://drwilda.com/2012/12/08/the-digital-divide-affects-the-college-application-process/

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Small colleges face fight for survival

15 Apr

College Data describes what is meant by a small college in the post, College Size: Small, Medium or Large?

Colleges Considered Small, Medium, or Large
• Colleges considered “small” have fewer than 5,000 students. These are typically private colleges like Hobart, Colgate, Grinnell, and Reed. Yet, it is entirely possible to find small public colleges, such as SUNY Geneseo and Delaware State University.
• Many colleges fall into the “medium” category, between 5,000 to 15,000 students. Yale, Brown, Howard, Duke, University of Arkansas, University of Montana, and Binghamton University are all medium-sized.
• “Large” usually means more than 15,000 students. University of Southern California, New York University, and University of Pennsylvania qualify as large on the private side; UCLA, Michigan State, and University of Texas at Austin on the public side. A label of “huge” would be more accurate for those public universities that have more than 30,000 students.
The Social Side of College Size
Deciding between a large college and a small college often comes down to the social environment you prefer. Knowing whether you feel more comfortable as “a small fish in a big pond” or a “big fish in a small pond” can help you make a decision.
• Smaller schools can easily set the stage for camaraderie and team spirit. You can get to know just about everybody in a small school, and see familiar faces whether you are in the library, the cafeteria, the quad, or in class.
• Larger colleges may seem impersonal on the surface, but most offer many opportunities to become part of a smaller community of students with common interests. You may need a bit of self-control to say “no” to all the socializing that tempts you away from your studies.
Small Colleges Don’t Have a Monopoly on Small Classes
Small colleges are more likely to offer classes with fewer students, enabling professors to give students more individual attention. At larger colleges, classes may be more lecture-oriented. But many such classes are supported by lively discussion sessions. Also, university honors programs can provide a small-class environment…. https://www.collegedata.com/cs/content/content_choosearticle_tmpl.jhtml?articleId=10006

There should not be a one-size-fits-all in education. Many small colleges are facing financial challenges which they may not survive.

Michael McDonald of Bloomberg reported in the article, Small U.S. Colleges Battle Death Spiral as Enrollment Drops:

Dozens of schools have seen drops of more than 10 percent in enrollment, according to Moody’s. As faculty and staff have been cut and programs closed, some students have faced a choice between transferring or finishing degrees that may have diminished value…
The number of private four-year colleges that have closed or were acquired doubled from about five a year before 2008 to about 10 in the four years through 2011, according to a study last year by researchers at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, citing federal data. Plus, among all colleges, 37 merged in the three years through 2013, more than triple the number from 2006 to 2009, according to Higher Education Publications Inc., a Reston, Virginia-based directory publisher.
‘Difficult Steps’
“There will clearly be some institutions that won’t make it and there will be some institutions that will be stronger because of going through these difficult steps,” said David Warren, president of the Washington-based National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities….
Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen has predicted that as many as half of the more than 4,000 universities and colleges in the U.S. may fail in the next 15 years. The growing acceptance of online learning means higher education is ripe for technological upheaval, he has said…
“I’m not sure a lot of these institutions have the cushion to experiment with how to stay afloat,” said Michelle Weise, a senior research fellow at the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation, a think tank the Harvard professor helped establish in San Mateo, California.
Franklin Pierce University in Rindge, New Hampshire, said in January that it would discontinue six majors, said Lisa Murray, a spokeswoman for the school, which has about 1,400 undergraduates.
Ratings Cut
Net tuition revenue fell 14 percent to $30.3 million last year from 2009 as Franklin Pierce boosted financial aid to attract freshmen and keep students from transferring. Standard & Poor’s cut the Rindge, New Hampshire-based school’s credit rating last year to B, five steps below investment grade, from BB. Moody’s reduced its rating to B3 from B1 the year prior.
“Disheartening is certainly a valid term,” said Carl Brezovec, a math professor whose program will no longer be offered as a major, the second time it’s been cut in a decade.
Ashland University, a 136-year-old college in Ohio, reduced tuition by about $11,000 — and direct aid commensurately — for the coming school year, with the goal that a lower-tuition/lower-discount model will eliminate sticker shock and lure students. In November, Moody’s downgraded Ashland’s rating to Caa2, eight levels below investment grade, saying the probability it will default has increased after three years of enrollment declines….
Enrollment Targets
Even wealthier schools are working to plug budget gaps. Yeshiva University in New York, which has a $1.2 billion endowment, has been selling real estate around its campus.
Some colleges are looking beyond belt-tightening for more permanent solutions. Morgan State University in Baltimore, a historically black college, is targeting more Hispanic applicants and those of other ethnicities, according to Moody’s. Chatham University in Pittsburgh, whose undergraduate program is women-only, said in February it was considering going co-ed to boost enrollment.
All of the schools in the Vanderbilt study that closed in recent years were small, with fewer than 1,000 students and average assets of less than $50 million. Most had endowments of about $1 million. Many were religious, such as Bethany University in Scotts Valley, California, which shut in 2011. Some folded into other colleges such as Southern New England School of Law, whose assets were acquired by the University of Massachusetts in 2010.
Investment Return
“We haven’t hit bottom yet,” said Glenn Harlan Reynolds, a law professor at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and author of the book, “The New School: How the Information Age Will Save American Education From Itself.” Students are shopping for a less expensive education as the cost of college has increased and the job market worsened, he said.
“It’s a question of return on investment,” Reynolds said.
Declining enrollment has forced many colleges to offer deeper tuition discounts to attract students, according to the National Association of College and University Business Officers. The average freshman discount rate rose to 45 percent in 2012 from about 40 percent in 2008, according to Nacubo.
Moody’s found that expenses are outpacing revenue at 60 percent of the schools it tracks even as many try to slash their way to balanced budgets, according to Fitzgerald…. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-04-14/small-u-s-colleges-battle-death-spiral-as-enrollment-drops.html

See, Private Distress

Related articles:
Tuition Revenue Down http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/11/25/tuition-revenue-not-keeping-pace-inflation-4-10-four-year-universities#sthash.vbeRKUy0.dpbs

Downgrading Elite Colleges http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/08/30/prestigious-liberal-arts-colleges-face-ratings-downgrades#sthash.qQCJGwgf.dpbs

Don’t Panic … Yet http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2012/08/27/sallie-mae-survey-highlights-changing-marketplace-students#sthash.057z48ft.dpbs

Big Trouble, Potentially, for Little Colleges http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2008/10/17/big-trouble-potentially-little-colleges#sthash.UgmCpDVF.dpbs

Revenue Dip for Private Colleges http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2009/11/03/moodys#sthash.lfor4RtI.dpbs
There are many reasons to go to a small college.

Jeremy S. Hyman and Lynn F. Jacobs wrote in the U.S. News article, 10 Reasons to Go to a Small College:

1. You get small classes. Unlike large research universities where you could regularly find yourself in lecture halls with many hundreds of other students, at a small college you’ll rarely be in classes of more than 50 students; in most cases two-thirds of your classes will have fewer than 20 students. (Again, the U.S. News Best Colleges rankings include the percentage of classes under 20 at each school.) The small class environment will give you a much greater opportunity to ask questions, participate in discussion, and have a professor who actually knows who you are. It’s always nice to be a real person, rather than a nameless spectator in the crowd of a mega-university.
[Search for the best school for you.]
2. All the teaching is done by professors. Since most small colleges only grant undergraduate degrees, they don’t have graduate students. And if you don’t have graduate students, you don’t have to stick graduate students in the classroom to get trained on how to be a professor. This means that you won’t have to deal with inexperienced TA’s teaching your class. (It doesn’t mean that you might not get stuck with inexperienced young professors. But with many colleges “tenured in,” and with not much chance for professors to change jobs in this ultra-tight economy, there should be fewer beginning professors compared to the steady stream of green graduate students coming into the research university.)
[Read 10 Warning Signs of a Bad Professor.]
3. Your professors will be more committed to teaching. At many research universities, “publish or perish” is still the phrase of the day. As a result, professors there who seek tenure and promotion have to make research their No. 1 priority and teaching, at best, No. 2….
4. Your work will be evaluated more carefully. In larger schools, professors, TA’s, and/or graders have to rush through huge stacks of papers and exams to grade (that is, when they haven’t relegated the grading to a computer), so they don’t have much time to offer feedback and suggestions on individual pieces of work….
5. You’ll have a chance to write more papers. Grading papers is quite time consuming and papers are one of the first things to go when an instructor is faced with a large class. The limited size of classes at small colleges, though, makes it possible for professors to assign more written work (or other sorts of projects)….
6. You’ll have more opportunity for one-on-one contact with your professor. At the big universities, your professor may just be a speck in the distance, someone you would never dare approach….
7. You’ll have more freedom in the curriculum. Often smaller colleges are more flexible about requirements and give you more leeway to construct programs that meet your individual interests….
8. You’ll have more opportunities to collaborate with a professor. At larger schools, the are endless hordes of graduate students waiting in line to partner with a professor in his or her research program. At smaller schools, it’s the undergraduates who are called upon to look up the sources, help conduct the experiments, and often even write up—or present at a conference—the findings with the professor…..
9. You’ll face less bureaucracy. At small colleges you will be spared the endless lines at registration, the hand-to-hand combat to get into closed classes, and the sprinting between innumerable offices to try to get your simplest questions answered. Sounds like a good deal, doesn’t it?
10. You get the feeling that you count. Large universities can be very alienating places. There it’s easy to feel that no one cares about you and whether you learn anything. At most small colleges, they have room to care. Group hug, anyone? http://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/professors-guide/2010/07/28/10-reasons-to-go-to-a-small-college

A college degree is no guarantee of either employment or continued employment. Still, because of the economic uncertainty there is an “arms race” in education. Laura Pappano is reporting in the New York Times article, The Master’s As the New Bachelor’s Whether a person chooses to attend a four year college after high school is a very personal decision and there is no one right answer. One thing the current economic climate has taught many is there are no guarantees in life, even with a college degree. https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/08/15/georgetown-university-study-even-in-a-depression-college-grads-enjoy-advantage/

That Facebook post may affect your college acceptance

More colleges are putting college applicants on mid-year acceptance for enrollment

Study: Prior criminal behavior does not necessarily predict behavior on campus

Is a woman’s college the right college for you?

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Ask a lot of questions before choosing your college

5 Mar

Moi wrote in Choosing the right college for you:
Now that many students are receiving letters of acceptance from colleges, they are deciding which college is the best fit for them. Given the tight economy, cost is a major consideration. Beckie Supiano and Elyse Ashburn wrote With New Lists, Federal Government Moves to Help Consumers and Prod Colleges to Limit Price Increases in the Chronicle of Higher Education about the Department of Education’s new site about college costs. The College Affordability and Transparency Center is useful for students who are applying to college. It allows parents and students to calculate the costs of various college options. Once the costs of various college options are considered, then other considerations come into the decision.

Danielle Moss Lee, president and chief executive officer of the Harlem Educational Activities Fund offers some great advice in the Washington Post article, Top 5 factors to weigh when picking a college (by May 1st deadline):

Here are the top five factors students across the country should be considering when making this critical decision:
1. Size. When it comes to choosing a college, it isn’t one-size-fits-all. There are significant differences between large and small colleges, and students need to decide what matters to them. Factors to consider include class size, teacher-to-student ratio, name recognition and what options are available on campus – research centers, sporting events, internship opportunities, clubs and organizations, course choices, faculty members and more.
2. Location. Part of the value of college is learning to live on your own, away from your family, and in a city you choose. Students should push themselves to learn how to be successful in a new environment but also still need a support system. Students should consider how far away they can be and still feel comfortable – for some it’s a short car or bus ride, for others it can be a cross-country flight.
3. Finances. Students and their families need to think carefully about the financial impact of their choices. With student loan debt above $1 trillion (surpassing credit card and auto-loan debt) students — especially those from low-income families like many students at the Harlem Educational Activities Fund — need to figure out what the numbers really mean. How much is need-based grant aid and how much is loan-based aid? What will it cost to travel to campus? What incidentals will be required? Will my mother or father need a second job? How many hours will I be allowed to work on campus?
4. Academic focus. Not every student knows what they “want to be when they grow up” and you don’t need to pick a major to pick a college. However, students should consider the variety of courses, curriculum and majors available.
5. ‘Expert’ opinion. Get some insight. Use your family and friends as a resource. Talk to the people you admire personally and professionally, as well as recent graduates who you might know, to find out what they consider the most important aspect of the college experience. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/top-5-factors-to-weigh-when-picking-a-college-by-may-1st-deadline/2012/04/13/gIQAOAH4FT_blog.html

Once the decision is made to attend a particular college, the thought turns to how to cut the costs of college. https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/04/15/choosing-the-right-college-for-you/

Deborah L. Jacobs of Forbes wrote, Five Things College Admissions Directors Won’t Tell You:

1. College costs more than you think. Not being prepared for the full cost is one of the biggest reasons student drop out of college. Tuition is only part of the total expense. You also need to consider:
Student fees. Some schools have hefty fees for everything from student government and clubs to special or recreational facilities.
Room and board. There may be extra costs associated with Wi-Fi and cable TV; staying on campus during holidays and breaks; and storage space.
Cost of living. Find out the cost of living range for the local community.
Travel and transportation costs. Anticipate the number of trips home per year you will make. Is there a student discount for travel provided by the school? Are there “ride share” boards available?
2. You might not graduate. Many factors can influence students’ ability to graduate, how long it takes and their satisfaction with the academic experience. These can include the major selected, whether they are enrolled full-time or part-time, the work-study balance, and academic environment.
To get behind the numbers on graduation rates and class size, dig deeper for information about factors that can affect how long it takes to graduate, such as how often certain courses are offered; the ratio of faculty advisors to students; which class levels offer small seminars (rather than just large lecture courses); and how many credits are required for graduation for specialized majors.
3. There is friction with the community. Students generally venture off campus–for recreation, for upper-class housing or both. Therefore, it’s important to find out whether they are welcome in the surrounding community. Ask whether there is adequate student housing in the community once the on-campus living requirement, if any, has been met. Do some window shopping in local stores or hang out at a town eatery and talk up the owners about what their experiences have been interacting with students. For example you could ask, “What has been your best and worst experience with a student here?”
4. This place is unsafe. Almost every college campus struggles with safety issues, but what resources are dedicated to campus safety and how issues are addressed when they occur makes all the difference. Colleges are required by law to produce a safety report each year. Review these reports before visiting each campus.
To find out how safe the campus really is, you will want to know about: Campus police. How many officers are on call at any given time and what is their average response time? Do they patrol inside or outside of resident halls? How do they interact with students?
Proactive safety measures. How many emergency phones are there on campus and where are they? Do you sponsor late-night walk home programs? What counseling services are available? Does the school offer prevention programs? Where can I find your yearly campus safety statistics?
5. You wouldn’t be happy here. Talking with folks in the admissions office is a great first step, but don’t stop there. Take the time to stroll the campus and interact with students at large – not just your student tour guide. The unrehearsed answers you get from students whom you stop at random might give you a much better understanding about what it would be like to go to the school. Here are some questions to ask them:
What has been your best and worst experience as a student here?
What do you like most and least about this college or university?
Would you choose this college or university again? Why or why not?
Do you feel safe here?
Do you think your professors are providing you with a good education?
Are your courses taught by professors or graduate student assistants?
Are you satisfied with the classroom facilities and labs?
Do you like the community? Are students treated well by the locals?

A college degree is no guarantee of either employment or continued employment. Still, because of the economic uncertainty there is an “arms race” in education. Laura Pappano reported in the New York Times article, The Master’s As the New Bachelor’s about the education arms race. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/24/education/edlife/edl-24masters-t.html?emc=eta1&_r=0 Whether a person chooses to attend a four year college after high school is a very personal decision and there is no one right answer. One thing the current economic climate has taught many is there are no guarantees in life, even with a college degree. See, https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/08/15/georgetown-university-study-even-in-a-depression-college-grads-enjoy-advantage/


Five Ways to Cut the Cost of College http://www.cnbc.com/id/41626500/Five_Ways_to_Cut_the_Cost_of_College

Secrets to paying for college


That Facebook post may affect your college acceptance https://drwilda.com/tag/that-facebook-post-may-affect-your-college-acceptance/

More colleges are putting college applicants on mid-year acceptance for enrollment https://drwilda.com/tag/students-may-be-accepted-to-college-but-for-spring-admission/

Study: Prior criminal behavior does not necessarily predict behavior on campus https://drwilda.com/tag/college-admission-questions-rarely-identify-criminal-behavior/

Is a woman’s college the right college for you? https://drwilda.com/2012/08/20/is-a-womans-college-the-right-college-for-you/

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Blogs by Dr. Wilda:


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Transitional courses: Trying to prepare poorly educated high schoolers for college

20 Feb

Moi wrote in Remedial education in college:
Whether or not students choose college or vocational training at the end of their high school career, our goal as a society should be that children should be “college ready.” David T. Conley writes in the ASCD article, What Makes a Student College Ready?

The Big Four
A comprehensive college preparation program must address four distinct dimensions of college readiness: cognitive strategies, content knowledge, self-management skills, and knowledge about postsecondary education.
Key Cognitive Strategies
Colleges expect their students to think about what they learn. Students entering college are more likely to succeed if they can formulate, investigate, and propose solutions to nonroutine problems; understand and analyze conflicting explanations of phenomena or events; evaluate the credibility and utility of source material and then integrate sources into a paper or project appropriately; think analytically and logically, comparing and contrasting differing philosophies, methods, and positions to understand an issue or concept; and exercise precision and accuracy as they apply their methods and develop their products.
Key Content Knowledge
Several independently conducted research and development efforts help us identify the key knowledge and skills students should master to take full advantage of college. Standards for Success (Conley, 2003) systematically polled university faculty members and analyzed their course documents to determine what these teachers expected of students in entry-level courses. The American Diploma Project (2004) consulted representatives of the business community and postsecondary faculty to define standards in math and English. More recently, both ACT (2008) and the College Board (2006) have released college readiness standards in English and math. Finally, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (2008), under mandate of state law, developed one of the first and most comprehensive sets of state-level college readiness standards….
Key Self-Management Skills
In college, students must keep track of massive amounts of information and organize themselves to meet competing deadlines and priorities. They must plan their time carefully to complete these tasks. They must be able to study independently and in informal and formal study groups. They must know when to seek help from academic support services and when to cut their losses and drop a course. These tasks require self-management, a skill that individuals must develop over time, with considerable practice and trial-and-error.
Key Knowledge About Postsecondary Education
Choosing a college, applying, securing financial aid, and then adjusting to college life require a tremendous amount of specialized knowledge. This knowledge includes matching personal interests with college majors and programs; understanding federal and individual college financial aid programs and how and when to complete appropriate forms; registering for, preparing for, and taking required admissions exams; applying to college on time and submitting all necessary information; and, perhaps most important, understanding how the culture of college is different from that of high school….
Students who would be the first in their family to attend college, students from immigrant families, students who are members of racial and ethnic minority groups traditionally underrepresented in college, and students from low-income families are much more easily thrown off the path to college if they have deficiencies in any of the four dimensions.http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/oct08/vol66/num02/What-Makes-a-Student-College-Ready%C2%A2.aspx

The difficult question is whether current testing accurately measures whether students are prepared for college. https://drwilda.com/2012/03/04/remedial-education-in-college/

Caralee J. Adams reported in the Education Week article, ‘Transitional’ Courses Catch On as College-Prep Strategy:

With many students entering college ill prepared to succeed academically, one remedy states and districts are increasingly bringing to the table is transitional coursework for high schoolers who need extra help.
Take Tennessee. High school teachers and community college faculty members teamed up to develop an online math course, first piloted in 2012, for those who score poorly on the act and need to catch up before graduation. Since then, the initiative has drawn broader support, including backing from Gov. Bill Haslam.
This academic year, the course began to roll out statewide with some $1.12 million from the governor’s “innovation fund.” Mr. Haslam, a Republican, is proposing another $2.6 million to expand the program as part of his fiscal 2014-15 budget.
Eight states now offer transitional curricula statewide to high school students, and another 21 states have locally run initiatives, according to a recent review by the Community College Research Center at Teachers College, Columbia University. The report, issued last May, also found that 25 states, and districts in another 13 states, measure the ability of all high school students by the junior year to succeed in entry-level courses at the postsecondary level.
Early assessments and corresponding course interventions are gaining traction as part of a concerted push to help students leave high school college-ready, said Elisabeth A. Barnett, a researcher at the center who led the recent state review. Her report also found that more than a dozen other states were in the process of planning such programs.
‘Paying Twice’
With the annual cost of providing remedial education in college pegged at nearly $7 billion, based on federal data, states are eager for ways to reduce the need.
“To policymakers, it’s like paying twice for the same education,” said Ms. Barnett.
The transitional curricula being offered by states and districts typically consist of a course, a set of instructional units, online tutorials, or other educational experiences offered no later than 12th grade to students considered at risk of being placed into remedial college courses, according to the Teachers College report.
These programs are designed for students who don’t quite meet college-readiness benchmarks, but who aspire to college and need some extra instruction. Students take the transitional courses during the school day, usually for high school credit with the goal of entering credit-bearing college courses upon matriculation.
A few states, such as California, were early adopters of the transitional approach, but most states have launched their programs in the past two to three years, and interest is rising, according to Ms. Barnett. The issue will be front and center in every state soon with the advent of assessments aligned with the Common Core State Standards. Once students are deemed ready or not—and many educators anticipate that large numbers will not be college-ready—states will be scrambling to find ways to get students up to speed, Ms. Barnett added.
“The huge readiness gap has been apparent for several years, but it is growing, and we will continue to see it grow as the common core takes hold,” said Megan A. Root, a senior associate with the Southern Regional Education Board, in Atlanta, which has been an advocate of what it calls “readiness” courses to ease the transition to college or career training.
The SREB convened teams of teachers, college faculty members, and other experts who worked for three years to develop curricula for a math course and a literacy course for struggling high school students. The courses are being piloted now in 20 schools in seven states, including Arkansas, Indiana, and Louisiana, and the curriculum was posted free online in November. The board is working with 16 states, which have committed to the agenda with varying levels of policy to support it.
While such efforts with transitional curricula may be part of the answer to the challenge of improving college completion, alone they are insufficient, said Phillip Lovell, a vice president of the Alliance for Excellent Education, a Washington-based research and advocacy group. http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2014/02/19/21highschool.h33.html?tkn=NUOFOPsd0T8GfgW3DUT6xdmEy4RDZdYvKyv2&cmp=clp-edweek&intc=es

See. Alliance for Excellent Education http://all4ed.org/issues/college-career-readiness/

Here is an explanation of the Core to College Program:

Core to College
What is Core to College?
Core to College is a multi-state grant initiative designed to promote strong collaboration between higher education and the K-12 sectors in the implementation of the Common Core State Standards and aligned assessments. In 12 grantee states – Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee and Washington – Core to College is helping states drive higher levels of alignment and collaboration to achieve greater college readiness with financial resources, technical assistance and evaluation support.
How will Core to College Make an Impact?
Core to College has a number of intended state-level outcomes. Each grantee state has identified its own specific activities that support the following:
• Establishing a statewide definition of college readiness.
• Creating the conditions that lead to the adoption by post-secondary institutions of the CCSS assessments as a determinant of a student’s readiness for credit-bearing course enrollment.
• Promoting greater K-12/post-secondary sector alignment around the CCSS in areas including, but not limited to:
o Academic courses and sequences
o Data and accountability
o Teacher development (including both pre-service and in-service)
What are Core to College States Doing?
Core to College grantees have developed a number of strategies and activities to meet their goals:
Convenings. All twelve states are hosting trainings and convenings to foster connections between K-12 educators and leaders and post-secondary faculty and administrators. These are occurring at various levels – state, regional and local.
Dedicated Staff. All grantee states have hired an Alignment Director to add critical cross-sector capacity and drive the collaborative work forward.
Communications. States are developing communications plans to create and disseminate information about the Common Core State Standards and assessments, and how these new tools will improve college readiness and college completion in their state.
Data Activities. The grantee states plan to gather, analyze and distribute information about student transitions and preparedness to ensure that collaboration and initiatives are supported by outcomes data; in some cases, states will be collecting and sharing post-secondary student outcomes with high schools in their state.
Core to College is a sponsored project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors with funding from the Lumina Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation of New York. WestEd will conduct an independent evaluation of the project. Education First is the project manager and oversees the Core to College Learning Network. For more information contact Anand Vaishnav at

In Critical thinking is an essential trait of an educated person, moi said:
There is a great deal of dissatisfaction with the state of education in America. A lot of that dissatisfaction comes from the belief that the education system fails to actually educate children and to teach them critical thinking skills.
K-12 education must not only prepare students by teaching basic skills, but they must prepare students for training after high school, either college or vocational. There should not only be a solid education foundation established in K-12, but there must be more accurate evaluation of whether individual students are “college ready.” https://drwilda.com/2012/01/22/critical-thinking-is-an-essential-trait-of-an-educated-person/


What the ACT college readiness assessment means https://drwilda.com/2012/08/25/what-the-act-college-readiness-assessment-means/

Study: What skills are needed for ’21st-century learning?’ https://drwilda.com/2012/07/11/study-what-skills-are-needed-for-21st-century-learning/

ACT to assess college readiness for 3rd-10th Grades https://drwilda.com/2012/07/04/act-to-assess-college-readiness-for-3rd-10th-grades/

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