Issue/Policy Brief

Community Colleges Expanded Role into Awarding Bachelor’s Degrees

A growing number of states allow community colleges to award bachelor’s degrees as one strategy to meet workforce demands, address affordability, and increase access to educational opportunities. This Education Commission of the States Policy Analysis examines state policies that allow community colleges to offer four-year degrees, summarizes arguments for and against these policies, and offers key policy considerations related to community college bachelor’s degree programs.

State Approaches to Funding Dual Enrollment

Students who dually enroll are more likely to finish high school and succeed in postsecondary education. Yet in many states, students and parents are largely—if not completely—responsible for covering dual-enrollment course costs, placing these courses out of reach of students in the greatest need. This Education Commission of the States policy analysis explores approaches states are taking to minimize or completely eliminate tuition and other costs for dually enrolled students.

How the States Got Their Rates

High school diploma options vary across states with regard to: (1) the number offered, (2) their alignment to college- and career-ready expectations in English language arts/literacy and mathematics course requirements, (3) the types of assessment requirements associated with degree conferral, and (4) whether or how they report student outcomes. Achieve’s analysis provides detailed descriptions of these four characteristics for the 93 diploma options available across all 50 states and the District of Columbia for the class of 2014.

How Ohio’s Career-Technical Education Programs Fuse Academic Rigor and Real-World Experiences to Prepare Students for College and Careers

Career and technical education (CTE) in Ohio has received a statewide renovation during the past two decades. The programs now integrate academics in a rigorous and relevant curriculum and focus on high-skill, high-demand career clusters and career pathways. CTE programs also partner with postsecondary institutions, offering students opportunities for dual enrollment so that they can graduate with college credits, a few steps closer to degrees or even employment. This report touches on the implementation of Ohio’s three-pronged CTE structure while spotlighting real student experiences.

New Pathways to Careers and College: Examples, Evidence, and Prospects

To prepare all students for success in both postsecondary education and the workforce, the high school reform debate is increasingly focused on the role of career and technical education (CTE). Programs that merge CTE, rigorous academic coursework, and career exploration opportunities, while creating clear pathways through high school, college, and beyond, are gaining momentum.

Laying the Foundations: Early Findings from the New Mathways Project

National studies reveal that 50 percent to 70 percent of community college students enter school each year unprepared for college-level mathematics and must take a series of developmental, or remedial, courses to build their skills before they can enroll in a college-level mathematics course. As these students continue to stumble over their mathematics courses, there has been growing awareness that the types of mathematics skills required in many of today’s professions differ from those skills taught in traditional college mathematics courses.

Gateway to College: Lessons from Implementing a Rigorous Academic Program for At-risk Young People

This study reports on the implementation of Gateway to College, a program whose mission it is to serve students who have dropped out or who are at risk of dropping out of high school by allowing them to earn a high school diploma and credits toward a postsecondary degree. The report’s first goal is to provide an in-depth description of the Gateway to College model and to more precisely define the youth population served by the program.

The Carnegie Unit: A Century Old Standard in a Changing Education Landscape

The Carnegie Unit has recently come under critique from educators and policymakers who want to make student performance more transparent and the delivery of education more flexible. This report provides an analysis of what the process may require to shift away from the Carnegie Unit’s instructional, time-based metric toward a competency-based metric. It also provides the scope of innovations necessary to replace the Carnegie Unit and the uncertainties associated with these tasks. Finally, the report discusses the array of practical problems that would need to be solved.


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