October 2016


In order to support state K-12 and higher education partnerships that ensure all students are college and career-ready, Higher Ed for Higher Standards, in collaboration with the  Council of Chief State School Officers National Association of System Heads , and  State Higher Education Executive Officers Association , released  Leveraging ESSA to Increase College Readiness and Completion  last week.

The materials offer a compelling framework for how higher education can engage with K-12 leaders to ensure that the strategies states adopt in response to ESSA significantly move the needle on postsecondary readiness and success.  Four key areas are highlighted:

1. Alignment of K-12 and higher education goals that can drive statewide postsecondary attainment;
2. Validation of college- and career-ready standards and assessments;
3. Strategies to support student transitions to postsecondary education and training; and
4. Strengthening of educator preparation programs and professional development.
Leveraging ESSA  also outlines key questions for K-12 and higher ed leaders and timely, specific engagement opportunities for work happening now in states in response to ESSA's requirements.The voice of higher education is critical in order to drive impact in college access, readiness and success within the ESSA strategies being developed now. In the upcoming months, HEHS will also release follow-up resources for a deeper dive into several of the areas above.
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Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) reports that between 2011 and 2015, the state has seen a 24-percent reduction in the number of community college students enrolling in developmental education. The third largest system in the nation credits its successes - despite severe budget issues - to both system-wide and college-specific initiatives around co-requisite remediation and greater collaboration with local high schools. Read more from Diverse Education  here , and for more on community colleges collaborating with K-12 to reduce remediation, see our report,  Seizing the Moment .
Tennessee, a new education advocacy group focused on increasing the state's postsecondary attainment, launched this month and plans to work with local communities statewide to identify opportunities and best practices to promote college completion and increase higher ed graduation rates. Despite increased high school graduation rates of almost 90 percent, Tennessee's public two and four-year institutions' overall graduation rate is less than 45 percent - short of the state's goal, Drive to 55 , which aims to equip 55 percent of the state's citizens with a college degree or certificate by 2025. Improving postsecondary access and college and career readiness is a critical piece of Tennessee's work to increase postsecondary attainment, as students who are not prepared for college level work must take remedial courses, slowing student's time to degree and costing families and taxpayers hard-earned money. Learn more from the Chattanoogan , and for more on Tennessee's work to provide remediation in high school through the SAILS program, check out their feature in Seizing the Moment .


Remediation: The Cost of Catching Up
According to a new report, remedial courses cost students and their families a staggering $1.3 billion across the 50 states and the District of Columbia every year. The report's recommendations focus on the steps that K-12 and higher education systems can take together to eliminate the need for remedial education for recent high school graduates by aligning high school graduation and college admission requirements, increasing transparency around the knowledge, skills, and coursework necessary for success in higher education and creating consensus around definitions, placement practices, and structures for remedial education in public higher education institutions. Read the full report from the Center for American Progress. Nationally, students at two-year colleges paid $920 million for remediation; for more actions specific to community college and K-12 collaboration, see our report,  Seizing the Moment.
Postsecondary Success = Workforce Success
According to a recent survey, Americans are increasingly uncertain about the necessity of college for success in the workforce. From 2000-2009, increasing numbers of Americans said that college is necessary, yet now just 42 percent of Americans say college is necessary for workforce success, a 13 percent drop from 2009. Despite this perspective shift since the Great Recession, research shows that nearly all the jobs created in the recovery - 11.5 million out of 11.6 million - have gone to workers with at least some postsecondary education, including the vast majority of the good jobs - full-time jobs with benefits that pay more than $53,000. By 2020, 65 percent of all new jobs in the United States will require at least some postsecondary education and training, pointing to the continued importance of higher education to the economic well-being of individuals, families, communities and the nation. For more on the results of the survey, check out the infographic here. Stay tuned: Higher Ed for Higher Standards will be releasing additional resources related to state postsecondary credentialing goals in fall 2016 as part of Leveraging ESSA.  
Supporting Latino Students Critical to Degree Attainment Goals
In order to reach the goals we set around credential attainment, and reap the accompanying economic and social benefits, we must continue to work to close the educational attainment gap, especially between Latinos and their white counterparts, says Deborah Santiago, COO and Vice President for Policy at Excelencia in Education. In the last 20 years, Latino enrollment in higher education has tripled, from 1 to 3.2 million, making them the second largest student population enrolled in higher education today. Meanwhile, Latino attainment of an associate's degree or higher has nearly doubled, from 12% in 1995 to 23% in 2014. Despite these gains, Hispanic students are still more likely to require remediation and less likely to successfully complete the remedial and credit-bearing course sequence, according to data from Complete College America. We must continue to work to increase and accelerate Latino student success by focusing on both college readiness and postsecondary completion to truly achieve educational equity and reach our degree attainment goals.  Read the full piece here.
Remediation & the Connection to Postsecondary Outcomes
Findings from a new study suggest "misalignment between high school and college academic standards" and the variable policies on remedial education and placement across states and institutions are posing major obstacles to student success. The report, using nationally representative data from student transcripts from 2003 - 2009,  concludes that a deeper understanding of the impact of remediation course-taking on key postsecondary outcomes, including earning college-level English and math credits and persisting through college for both 2- and 4-year students, can help colleges and universities "better identify struggling students, design strategies to help them overcome their hurdles, and make remedial programs more effective in retaining students and enabling them to progress to college-level curricula and beyond."
What Does it Take to Get Students Ready for College?
Collaboration with local high schools is key, according to an article from Community College Research Center (CCRC). Transition courses designed to fill in gaps in students' college readiness were in place in 29 states as of late 2012, but research on designing and implementing these courses well is still in its infancy. Specifically, the ways that high schools and colleges can successfully work together to improve student readiness for college earlier requires further attention. New research from CCRC outlines methods to maximize their effectiveness, including an  overview outlining the state of knowledge about the courses, as well as findings from a qualitative report of implementation in California, Tennessee, New York, and West Virginia based on faculty, administrator and student interviews and classroom observations. Without an agreement with higher ed that the transition courses satisfy remediation requirements, students may still have to take a placement test when they get to college; meanwhile, a lack of feedback on how transition course students fare in college leaves K-12 unsure of whether the courses are effective or need improvement -- underscoring the need for collaboration with K-12 and higher ed. For promising practices on community colleges and K-12 collaboration on transition courses, see our report,  Seizing the Moment .


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