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February 25, 2015

New from ECS

Governors' education issues
So far, governors in 37 states have presented their 2015 State of the State addresses, and improving education from preschool to college was, without a doubt, a top priority. This ECS Education Trends report highlights the top six education priorities for governors in 2015: Early learning, school finance, school choice, teaching quality, workforce development/career and technical education, and postsecondary funding, affordability and access.

How reliable is the civics test for immigrants?
Using questions from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services website, the author of this study administered the test to unprepared citizens and noncitizens on the Michigan State University campus. If these had been real citizenship test forms, nearly one in four would have passed or failed depending on which test form they happened to take. (New to the ECS Research Studies Database)

Retained students have an effect on their classmates
The greater the percentage of retained students in a classroom, the more their classmates have unexcused absences. Most vulnerable were non-retained lower ability students, high-poverty students and, to a slight extent, non-retained boys, according to this study. (New to the ECS Research Studies Database)

No penalty for starting college at two-year institutions
No apparent penalty for starting a four-year degree at a community college was found in this test of the assumption. In an era when community colleges are playing an increasing role in four-year degree pathways, community college students were found to be just as likely to complete a  bachelor’s degree as four-year rising juniors after controlling for precollege and environmental factors. (New to the ECS Research Studies Database)

What States Are Doing

German auto supplier supports competency-based learning
Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear announced  a new collaboration between the state and German manufacturer Dr. Schneider Automotive Systems, which will use apprentices who get credit for competencies learned at the Russell Springs plant. High school students can earn up to half of their apprentice hours before graduation.

Scholarships for high-need industries
In-state and out-of-state students are invited to apply for 300 scholarships at one of South Dakota’s four technical institutes, according to an announcement by the Build Dakota Scholarship Board. Tuition, fees, books and equipment will be covered. Students must enroll full-time, complete on schedule and commit to stay in South Dakota at least three years. High-need industries include energy, automotive, construction, engineering, health, precision manufacturing and welding.

Good Reads

Keeping better teachers
Contemplating a teacher compensation redesign? A look at 10 districts yielded recommendations: differentiate compensation and pay increases based on roles and responsibilities, set starting salaries to meet market demand, align redesign with proven evaluation systems, shift pay away from experience and advanced degrees, use incentives to attract effective teachers to hard-to-staff schools and subjects, accelerate timeline to maximum salary and allow teachers to opt in to the redesign within a set time. (Center for American Progress)

Characteristics of early high school dropouts
Among ninth graders in 2009, 2.7 percent didn't make it to the 11th grade, according to a federal report. Early dropout rates for Black, Hispanic and White students were 4.3 percent, 3.5 percent and 2.1 percent, respectively. Males and females had about the same dropout rate. The biggest gap was between the haves and have-nots, with 5 percent of early dropouts in the lowest socioeconomic fifth compared to 0.6 percent in the highest fifth. (National Center for Education Statistics)

Scaling developmental reform
Juxtaposed against a history of post-recession financial stress is the desperate need for states to redesign developmental education. This paper looks at four states – Connecticut, Florida, North Carolina and Virginia – to give higher education agencies ideas about how they might accomplish the seemingly impossible. (Jobs for the Future and Completion by Design)

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