Thursday, October 9, 2014

News Links | October 9, 2014


Washington State Universities Will Use Smarter Balanced Test Scores for Placement
Public colleges and universities in Washington state have announced that they will use the college-readiness determination from the 11th grade Smarter Balanced assessment in course-placement decisions. The announcement is significant because it puts teeth into the most pivotal claim of the common-core initiative: that a "college ready" score on consortium tests means a student is prepared to perform well in entry-level, credit-bearing work. ... The decision by Washington state's public universities and its community and technical colleges is one of the first steps out of the abstract into the concrete.
Education Week, October 8, 2014

VP Biden to visit Renton Technical College Thursday
Vice President Joe Biden will travel to the Seattle area on Thursday, visiting a community college and headlining a political fundraiser. Biden will speak at Renton Technical College Thursday morning to tout the Obama administration’s job-training efforts, according to the White House. The community college was one of 270 nationwide that received a slice of a $450 million U.S. Department of Labor training grant program.
The Seattle Times, October 7, 2014

EvCC receives $1.4 million
Washington state community colleges, including Everett Community College, will share nearly $12.5 million in the latest round of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training initiative. These investments will help expand the capacity of Washington state community colleges to provide innovative training programs in partnership with local employers. Everett Community College's share is $1,415,776.
Everett Herald, October 7, 2014

Community colleges redefine town-gown
Thom Chesney, president of Brookhaven College, often meets donors who have never taken a course at his community college in northern Dallas, nor had children who attended the school. Instead, they have a different type of connection to the college: They simply enjoy walking along the trails crisscrossing the campus. ... Rural colleges partner with local governments on projects that may not be possible without that support. In 2010, Yakima Valley Community College in southern Washington state partnered to build a new, larger library with the city of Grandview, home of one of its two campuses.
University Business, October 2014


Lumina Looks to Expand Use of Framework to Track Student Learning
More than three years ago, the Lumina Foundation unveiled a framework for defining what a college degree means and what graduates should be expected to know and be able to do. Now, as the foundation makes the case for wider adoption of its rubric, some educators have asked: How do you push for a national set of standards without seeming to impose it from the top down? The framework, known as the Degree Qualifications Profile, or DQP, was introduced by Lumina as a way to define the range of skills and knowledge students should gain in earning associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degree across five key areas: “broad, integrative knowledge,” “specialized knowledge,” ”intellectual skills,” “applied learning,” and “civic learning.”
The Chronicle of Higher Education, October 9, 2014

Borrowing Rates for Wealthy Soar
All college graduates are more likely than they were two decades ago to have financed their education with loans. But the likelihood of borrowing increased the most among students from the nation’s wealthiest families, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of government data.
Inside Higher Ed, October 8, 2014

New App Measures Students’ Moods and Mental Health
A computer-science professor at Dartmouth College is building a smartphone application that can detect users’ levels of happiness, stress, and loneliness, he says, with the hope of helping students monitor their mental health. The app, called StudentLife, draws on sensor data from smartphones to “infer human behaviors,” says the professor, Andrew Campbell. It was inspired partly by the mental-health struggles that Mr. Campbell’s brother experienced while in college. The professor also wants to test his hypothesis, based on classroom observations, that students’ fluctuating stress levels correspond to their behaviors.
The Chronicle of Higher Education, October 7, 2014

Where the jobs are: The new blue collar
Joseph Poole will make more than $100,000 in wages and overtime by the end of the year. The 21-year-old works in what looks like NASA's mission control, monitoring the manufacturing process at Chevron Phillips petrochemical plant in Houston. Poole didn't get the job with the engineering degree he originally considered. Instead, Poole landed it with a two-year course at a local community college. ... By 2017, an estimated 2.5 million new, middle-skill jobs like Poole's are expected to be added to the workforce, accounting for nearly 40% of all job growth, according to a USA TODAY analysis of local data from Economic Modeling Specialists Intl. and CareerBuilder.
USA Today, September 30, 2014


Accessibility for Blind Borrowers
As part of a settlement reached this week, the U.S. Department of Education will be required to make student loan information more accessible to blind students and order the companies it hires to collect loan payments to do the same. The department agreed to make all websites, forms, and documents related to federal student loans accessible to blind students by, for instance, providing Braille copies and meeting universal web accessibility standards.
Inside Higher Ed, October 9, 2014

Colleges Seek Waivers to Experiment With Federal Aid
Scores of colleges and universities are taking the Obama administration up on its offer to waive certain federal rules for institutions that want to test out competency-based education and other new models of higher education.
Inside Higher Ed, October 8, 2014