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April 1, 2015

New from ECS

Goodbye to the wasted senior year
Forty-seven states are using college and career readiness assessments to overcome two challenges – the “wasted” senior year and high postsecondary remediation rates. This ECS Education Policy Analysis delves into how states identify 12th-graders in need of remediation and put interventions in place so  they can use their senior year to prepare for placement into credit bearing coursework. Additionally, 11th-graders demonstrating college readiness can do advanced coursework, earning college credit while still in high school.

What States Are Doing

Updating math skills for elementary teachers
The New Mexico Senate passed a resolution calling for a revisit of required math competencies for entry-level elementary teachers. A unique component of the resolution includes requesting that the secretary of education bring in stakeholders to review competencies that include postsecondary faculty, both from colleges of education and colleges of arts and sciences, as well as district-level leaders in math instruction.

Computer science course in every high school
Arkansas may become the first state in the country to require all high schools to offer a computer science course if this bill is enacted. The bill also creates a Computer Science and Technology in Public School Task Force to study and recommend changes to existing computer science and technology standards, and to study the state’s current and projected computer science and technology needs.

Good Reads

Inequities in student funding
Nationally, the highest-poverty school districts receive about $1,200, or 10 percent less per student in state and local funding than the lowest poverty districts, according to this study. Districts serving the most students of color receive about 15 percent less in state and local funding than those serving the fewest. While some states provide more funding to their highest poverty districts, others provide substantially less. (Education Trust)

Teacher experience pays off
A look at the effects of middle school teacher experience on a broad range of student factors reveals large returns in higher test scores and improvements in students behavior, with the clearest behavioral effect being reduced student absenteeism. The overall findings indicate that teachers can and do learn on the job and recommendations for policy makers include ensuring schools recruit high quality teachers and provide working environments that are conducive to their development. (CALDER)

Community colleges play a big role in four-year completion rates
In the 2013-14 academic year, 46 percent of students who completed a degree at a four-year institution were enrolled at a two-year institution in the previous 10 years. Researchers found in 17 percent of cases, the two-year enrollment occurred within the last year of study before earning the degree. Over half these students completed the four-year degree within three years of leaving the two-year institution; three quarters of them did so within five years. (National Student Clearinghouse Research Center)

The costs of college
Concerned about families who believe in the value of postsecondary education, but also worry about the price, the Higher Education Opportunity Act required the U.S. Department of Education to publish college net prices, tuition and fees. Public two-year students had the lowest average total price of attendance, $15,000. Four-year institutions averaged $23,200. Most undergraduates enrolled full-time received grant aid. (National Center for Education Statistics)


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