Friday, August 8, 2014

Success in the First Year of College Suggests Likely Degree Completion

Prichard Committee Statement

KY Center for Education and Workforce Statistics Releases
2014 Kentucky Postsecondary Feedback Reports

The postsecondary feedback reports recently released by the Kentucky Center for Education and Workforce Statistics (KCEWS) show employment and earnings for graduates of Kentucky’s eight (8) public four-year universities. They also show similar information for students who start college but leave without completing a degree.

The feedback reports provide data for parents and students to make informed decisions about their courses of study given the likely wage and employment opportunities in Kentucky. The report shows that a full 80 percent of Kentucky’s graduates stay in Kentucky to work and live. For these students, and those who plan to stay in a particular region of the state, this is very helpful information. For example, in general graduates with more education make higher salaries, but a deeper look shows graduates with associate degrees from three Kentucky universities (EKU, KSU, NKU) make significantly more than their peers with bachelor degrees and nearly as much as individuals with graduate degrees. 

The Prichard Committee is especially pleased to see a focus on the data related to students who drop out of college. The feedback reports provide good information about students who start college but choose to leave without finishing a degree. In 2013, roughly 10 percent (8,833) of the total enrollment in Kentucky’s 4-year public universities left college and did not transfer to another institution. One year later, their average salary was less than $15,000 a year. Gender does not seem to be a determinate for “leavers” with males and females leaving about equally. However, the data in the report does suggest that these college students were either ill-equipped academically or lacked the dispositions needed to persist in higher-education. Nearly 70 percent of “leavers” left college with less than 30 credit hours earned (the equivalent of one year of college) and more than half (58%) had a GPA lower than a 2.0. 

As we persist in Kentucky to balance an Unbridled Learning Accountability Model that ensures College- and Career Readiness for ALL, policymakers need to be mindful that readiness implies success at the next level.  As we increase the number of students “ready” we need to also ensure that those students have the skills, dispositions and supports they need to persist in their first year of college and beyond. The data show that students completing their first year of college are much more likely to complete their degree. College and career counseling at the high school level and retention efforts at the postsecondary level are both important strategies to help students achieve their potential.

The 2014 Postsecondary Feedback Reports by Institution can be found at:  

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Investments in Young Children Last a Lifetime

From Ed Week Blog:

The following post is from Cindy Heine, the Associate Executive Director (retiring), from the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence.

After years of working on behalf of better schools, I have a ready answer when people ask my opinion about the most important thing we can do to improve education outcomes: invest in quality early childhood programs.
Pre-birth through kindergarten is the most critical time for children to develop socially and emotionally and to establish learning patterns for school and work. As our committee's first chairman and namesake Edward Prichard pointed out in the early 1980s, addressing achievement gaps must begin "....not in the high school, not in the middle school, not even in the first three grades. It has got to begin in the preschools and the kindergartens and in the womb (with) ... things such as prenatal care, child nutrition, emphasis on the learning process in the home. ..." He understood then what research clearly shows now - that early investments are critical to improve students' chances for a strong education.
Our 1980s study of elementary/secondary education included reviews of early research reports showing that impoverished children who attended the high-quality Perry Preschool were more likely to complete high school and continue with postsecondary education, more likely to be employed and less likely be arrested. We also observed that it was the children "in the middle" who were missing out. Those from the poorest families were served by Head Start, and those from affluent families were enrolled in programs their parents could afford. So a key recommendation in our report, "The Path to a Larger Life," was preschool for all children ages three and four whose parents wanted it.
Forty years later, researchers continue to follow the Perry Preschool students with long-term results showing higher earnings, greater likelihood of home ownership and having a savings account and lower incidence of crime. Other studies, including the Abecedarian Project in North Carolina and the Chicago Parent Child project, all show similar long-term results for children who attend quality programs, with a return on investment averaging about $7 for each $1 spent.
I am often asked about a Head Start study that showed test scores of third graders who did not attend Head Start to be essentially the same as those of children who did. The implication is that Head Start didn't make a difference. Long-term results, however, show children in the program are less likely to need special education services, less likely to repeat grades and more likely to graduate from high school.
What this implies, as Nobel Laureate and University of Chicago Professor James Heckman points out, is that these programs make a difference in such executive skills as perseverance, motivation, attention, self-confidence and getting along with peers. We often forget that skilled teachers help children solve their own disputes on the playground, guide them to complete projects and help them gain self-confidence by solving their own problems. These are skills needed in classrooms and the workplace. Established early, they last a lifetime.
Health care professionals - in addition to economists - are also focused on children in their earliest years. Research shows stronger outcomes when mothers have good prenatal care and deliver babies at term. Brain development in the last two to three weeks of pregnancy and in the first few years of life is critical in establishing the foundation for learning and socio-emotional development. New research on ' toxic stress' in children shows the more stressful events (homelessness, hunger, serious illness, death in the family, family violence, adult substance abuse or mental illness, for example) children experience without the support of caring families, the worse the long-term health, social and economic outcomes.
All children deserve to be in quality environments, whether at home, in child-care settings or in preschool. They need adults who care about them, talk with them, read to them, help them deal with stressful events and provide them with a secure, loving and nurturing environment. We need a system of care that assures quality prenatal care for all women, supportive programs like Kentucky's Health Access Nurturing and Development ( HANDS) home visiting program for vulnerable families, quality child care for all children, quality preschool for all children whose families want it and support and information for parents in these early years.
Kentucky is moving to coordinate and provide these supports through the Governor's Office of Early Childhood and with the Race to the Top Early Childhood grant, but it will take a focus on quality and an investment of resources. We know through research that giving all of our children the strongest possible start is not only the smart thing to do, it is the right thing to do.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Chess Impacts Students

Chet Sygiel, Chess teacher in the Jackson Independent school district, talks about how Chess impacts students.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Transforming the Teaching Profession Through Honest Feedback

Jana Bryant, a 2014-2015 Hope Street Group Kentucky State Teacher Fellow discusses how honest feedback can help transform the teaching profession.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Evaluation and the Beginning Teacher

Pennye Rogers, a 2014-2015 Hope Street Group Fellow discusses Kentucky's new evaluation system and its impact on beginning teachers.

Monday, June 30, 2014

What Happened to School Facilities Since the Rose Case?

Researcher Caroline Wilson demonstrates what has happened to school facilities in Kentucky since the landmark Rose decision.

Private College Return on Investment

Gary S. Cox, President of the Association of Independent KY Colleges and Universities talks about the return on investment from private colleges.