Wednesday, May 25, 2011

FERPA Used to Block Tracking Student Data

In SRI's work, we have suddenly begun seeing community college faculty cite FERPA when we request even anonymous student data, such as classroom work with a student's name blotted out. This was all baffling to us, and then we saw this report. Apparently FERPA has wound up in the center of a tug-o'-war between the U.S. Department of Education and higher education institutions. The education department seeks to create databases that track students from one level of education to another and then into the workforce. Such data are considered a primary way to see how well different institutions prepare students "in aggregate." One of the best tracking approaches involves seeing how students educated at one institution perform at the next level of education. Privacy advocates are raising the heat, but it does appear much light, on this matter--hence the responses we're seeing from faculty.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

News: Community College If You Can Pay - Inside Higher Ed

Two Southern California community colleges support a bill to create a two-tiered tuition system, charging more for non-credit courses and courses taken by 4-year students transferring credits to their home institutions. The faculty union opposes the proposal over concerns about charging different costs for different courses and students, but supporters say it will help colleges offer more classes in a timely way to the neediest students. Regular courses currently cost $34 per unit, and the change would charge $100 per unit for the high-tier courses and students. The system is currently not receiving enough funds from the state to meet enrollment needs and the state budget crisis has forced cutbacks. See story here: News: Community College If You Can Pay - Inside Higher Ed

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

News: Online Ed Trends at Community Colleges - Inside Higher Ed

The number of community colleges offering online or hybrid courses goes up, and quality evaluation, faculty training, and assessment continue to be the primary challenges: News: Online Ed Trends at Community Colleges - Inside Higher Ed

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Student Success: ATE Program Report

The National Science Foundation's Advanced Technological Education program issues a report on goals in various technological education programs. The report spotlights ideas of how to measure student success suggested in forum sessions at last fall's annual principal investigators' meeting. Most of the outcomes focus on completion rates, reports of student success on the job through contacts on social networks or hiring data from employers, a focus on industry standards, and forms of student assessment, such as results on certification and credentialing exams, program portfolios, and pre-post tests of student employability.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Personal attention boosts college success rates

An article from the Community College Times underscores the importance of personal attention around academics and financial aid in improving students' success rates: Personal attention boosts college success rates