OVAE Connection - issue 134

OVAE Connection

                                                              January 24, 2013 - Issue 134

Want to Discuss Ways to Get Students and Industry in Workforce Education Partnership?

SRI International, an independent, 501(c)(3) nonprofit research institute conducting client-sponsored research and development for government agencies, commercial businesses, foundations, and other organizations, has been studying workforce partnerships with funding from the National Science Foundation and will present its preliminary findings through a panel discussion via a webinar on Feb. 25, 2013 at 1 pm EST. The panel will comprise researchers, community college policy leaders, and an experienced industry partner. Ultimately, the webinar will lead to a white paper about education in the workforce from the perspective of engaging industry and from that of engaging students and will feature case studies from Harvard Business Review about challenges and solutions in this engagement endeavor.

The webinar will begin with a 30-minute presentation of findings about these two perspectives by principal investigator Louise Yarnall, co-principal investigator Raymond McGhee. The webinar will also present a framework for identifying and addressing challenges in industry and student engagement in workforce education.

Next there will be a 30-minute discussion of the framework by experts in workforce education: two researchers Debra Bragg of the University of Illinois and Al Phelps of the University of Wisconsin will be joined by an American Association of Community Colleges workforce leader, Kathryn Mannes, and an industry representative, Nicholas Xenos of Juniper Networks.

For the final 30 minutes, there will be a Q&A and request for "war stories" from the webinar participants. 

To register, visit http://sri-workforce-webinar.eventbrite.com.

Decline in Remediation Participation Rates at U.S. Colleges and Universities

The first priority that guided the U.S. Department of Education in developing its Blueprint for Reform with a view to the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act was that “Every student should graduate from high school ready for college and a career.” Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, among other education leaders, has expressed concern that too many American students are leaving high school without the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in postsecondary education or in the workforce. One measure of students’ readiness for college-level coursework is the rate at which they participate in remedial (also called “developmental”) education.

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) recently released a research brief examining changes in the frequency of self-reported participation in developmental coursework at U.S. colleges and universities during the academic years 1999–2000, 2003-04, and 2007–08. The brief shows that developmental education participation rates for first-year undergraduate students fell from 26 percent in 1999–2000 to 20 percent in 2007–08.

These averages, however, do not show the variation in enrollment in remedial courses by type of institution and among sub-groups of students. In the 2007–08 academic year, developmental education participation rates ranged from less than 6 percent for first-year undergraduates at for-profit, less-than-two-year institutions to 24 percent at public, two-year colleges. At the most selective colleges and universities, less than 13 percent of first-year undergraduate students reported taking at least one developmental education course in 2007–08, compared to over 25 percent of first-year undergraduates at institutions with open admissions policies.

The brief includes statistics on developmental education participation rates for sub-groups of first-year undergraduate students who attended public colleges and universities. While just over 26 percent of those students in associate-degree programs took remedial courses in 2007–08, about 20 percent of those enrolled in a bachelor’s-degree program did so. Further, less than 20 percent of first-year white undergraduates took at least one remedial course in 2007–08, while the participation rate for black and Hispanic undergraduates was about 30 percent each.

While these data can help policymakers and education leaders better understand the extent of remediation needs among undergraduate students and assess their college readiness, NCES advises readers to exercise caution in interpreting the findings. The data came from student self-reports which, NCES notes, carry certain limitations, and there was a high incidence of non-response to the remediation questions in the 2004 and 2008 versions of the National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS). Therefore, NCES notes that the findings presented in this research brief “may not represent the full extent for the need of remediation for first-year undergraduate students.”

Education at a Glance 2012 Now Available

In late 2012, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) published its annual report on education in the member countries, Education at a Glance 2012. Much of the data included in this report comes from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and CTE received substantial attention in the report.

While OECD is made up of 34 nations, data from eight additional nations are also included in this report. OECD’s mission is the promotion of policies to improve the social and economic well-being of people around the world. Education is one of those policy areas. The report provides a wealth of interesting comparative education data and analyses. Readers should be aware, however, that comparisons of national education systems along these dimensions are notoriously difficult to make, and they can be misleading.

This overview draws from the lead editorial of the report authored by Angel Gurria, OECD secretary-general, “Investing in People, Skills, and Education for Inclusive Growth and Jobs.” Gurria begins with the observation that global education and global economies have been in a “state of rapid transformation” for some period of time because of two key changes: (1) the continued growth of the knowledge economy and (2) the explosive growth of higher education worldwide. The global recession of 2009 and 2010 has been a major factor influencing these transformations.

Within this context of change, one significant finding is that “having more education helped people to keep or change their jobs during the recession.” In addition, the report notes that “For all OECD countries together, the unemployment rate in 2010 was roughly one-third less for men with higher education than for men with upper secondary education [roughly the equivalent of the American high school]; for women with higher education, it was two-fifths less.”

Secondly, the “gaps in earnings between people with higher education and those with lower levels of education not only remained substantial during the global recession, but grew even wider.”

A third general observation is that “the demand for highly-skilled employees to meet the needs of the knowledge economy in OECD countries has continued to grow, even during the crisis” and even as the percentage of adults who have attained higher education has grown rapidly (from 22 percent in 2000 to 31 percent in 2010).

Finally, “as long as societies continue to need more high-level skills, it’s likely that the benefits of having advanced skills will remain solid not only in the short term, but over the long run.”

In addition to the points Secretary-General Gurria chose to emphasize in his introduction, the great value of this report is in its details. These data points are essential background material for anyone wishing to understand the international context and outcomes of education, including CTE.

Advancing CTE in State and Local Career Pathways Systems

OVAE is pleased to announce that Colorado, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Oregon have been chosen through a competitive application process to participate in Advancing Career and Technical Education (CTE) in State and Local Career Pathways Systems, a two-year project managed by Jobs for the Future through a contract with OVAE. Technical assistance will be provided to assist these states in building their capacities to integrate CTE Programs of Study (POS) into their broader career pathways system development efforts. Participating states each will be assigned a coach and will have subject matter experts available to help them develop and implement their action plans and achieve their goals.

This project is led by Mary Clagett, director for Workforce Policy at Jobs for the Future, who can be contacted at mclagett@jff.org or at 202-709-5330, ext. 406.