Issue/Policy Brief

College and Career Ready: What's in a Definition?

No matter what side you’re on in the battle over standards, testing, school choice, or teacher tenure, everybody agrees that kids must leave high school ready for college and careers. State leaders are giving this commitment a lot of thought and are working to define what “college and career ready” means for their students.

Closing the Gap between Career Education & Employer Expectations: Implications for America’s Unemployment Rate

This brief discusses the extent to which a lack of sufficient employment skills leads to structural unemployment throughout the country. In doing so, it also attempts to understand why, in a nation full of countless education resources, this “employment skill gap” persists.

Building Pathways to Success for Low-Skill Adult Students: Lessons for Community College Policy and Practice from a Longitudinal Student Tracking Study

This report discusses the outcomes of a longitudinal study, conducted to investigate the profile of low-skill adults entering community or technical colleges in Washington State and to identify the points at which this demographic commonly drops out or fails to achieve. The study findings indicate that technical and community colleges should establish goals for low-skill adults to earn a credential and take a year’s worth of college-level courses to improve opportunities for achievement via college entry or career-path employment.

Improving Education Through Collaboration: A Case Study of the Long Beach Seamless Education Partnership

This report reveals the components of a successful collaboration by sharing the collaborative model of the Long Beach Seamless Education Partnership. The Partnership is comprised of faculty, administrators, and non-education institutional leaders dedicated to the successful transition of students from secondary school to college and the workforce. The components of the Partnership’s P-20 collaboration model include strong leadership, media involvement, initiatives that thrive in spite of turnover, and a community demand for improvement.

En Route to Seamless Statewide Education Data Systems: Addressing Five Cross-Cutting Concerns

In this report, the State High Education Executive Officers (SHEEO) shares five processes that are key to the development of effective and sustainable state longitudinal data systems. These components were identified by a cohort of 11 state leadership teams and content experts collaborating to provide a framework for states in the early stages of creating longitudinal data systems.

Maximizing Resources for Student Success: Competency-Based Education as a Potential Strategy to Increase Learning and Lower Costs

This report explores how competency-based education at institutions of higher learning has taken on greater prominence in recent years as several colleges and universities have adopted degree programs. Rather than relying on course credit accumulation, competency-based programs require the demonstration of knowledge for degree progression. In these programs, degree completion is dependent on the demonstration of content mastery rather than fulfilling a predetermined amount of time in a sequence of courses.

Maximizing Resources for Student Success by Reducing Time- and Credits-to-Graduate

This report from HCM Strategists provides strategies for regional public universities serving high concentrations of low-income and otherwise at-risk students to reduce the amount of time and credits necessary to graduate. This report highlights while that more students are seeking a four-year college degree, less than 40% of first-time college students graduate within four years. Taking additional time to graduate not only can add years to a "four-year" degree, but it also comes with additional costs in tuition, room, board, and other expenses.

National Standards for Strong Apprenticeships

While apprenticeships are offered throughout the nation, programs use different measures to indicate successful completion and mastery of the relevant skills learned. This Center for American Progress (CAP) policy brief outlines the benefits of apprenticeships, describes why current apprenticeships are not meeting student and employer needs, and advocates that to address this problem, apprenticeships must provide a portable, nationally recognized credential.


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