Gates: It’s completion, not costs

Completion is a bigger problem than rising college costs, argues Bill Gates.

Completion numbers are better than previously reported, according to a new analysis which tracks more students, including transfers,

Who’s a graduate?

The U.S. Education Department plans to start counting part-time and transfer students in official graduation rates, but figuring out how to do it will be difficult without tracking individual students.

Solving the smugness problem

Elite colleges can solve the smugness problem by admitting community college transfers.

Also on Community College Spotlight: Here’s how to succeed in community college and beyond, writes Isa Adney in a new book geared to first-generation college students.

Community is back on TV, but will its characters ever graduate?

Counting transfers will raise completion rates

Hit for low graduation rates, community colleges will will more than double completion counts by including transfers.

“Tuning” college courses will help students transfer their credits, it’s hoped. First, faculty at different colleges and universities have to agree about what students should learn in specific courses.

Billions for college, but we don’t know grad rates

What’s the college graduation rate? Nobody knows because federal data leaves out or miscounts so many students. It’s time to track individual students’ progress, including transfers, part-timers and second-time-around students, an analyst argues.

Also on Community College Spotlight: A college’s quality isn’t measured by the completion rate.

Colleges question dual enrollees' readiness

Many more high school students are earning college credits through dual-enrollment programs, but some colleges question whether they’re truly doing college-level work. More colleges also are refusing to give credit to students who’ve passed AP exams.

Also on Community College Spotlight: Fewer California community college students are transferring to the California State system, while more are choosing private and out-of-state colleges and universities. That’s much more expensive, but not if students factor in the time it will take to get the courses they need and complete a degree.

College is the best mobility strategy

College is the best mobility strategy — but watch out for debt.

Also on Community College Spotlight:  Community college transfers let elite colleges add a little socioeconomic diversity.

CC students want more online classes

Community colleges can’t keep up with student demand for online classes.

Also on Community College Spotlight:  A common core curriculum for CUNY’s two-year and four-year colleges would help transfer students complete a bachelor’s degree, but many professors oppose the Pathways plan, saying it would devalue the CUNY degree.

KIPP mobility matches nearby schools

KIPP middle schools take as many transfer students as nearby district schools, according to a Mathematica working paper (pdf). Furthermore, attrition rates for black males are lower than in neighboring schools, Mathematica found.

“KIPP’s success is not simply a mirage that is based on the results of a select number of high achievers who persist through 8th grade,” the researchers write.

A 2010 study by Mathematica found large achievement gains at KIPP schools, even when the scores of students who had left the schools were included, Inside School Research notes.

A Western Michigan study found high attrition for KIPP’s black males, charging that 40 percent of black male students leave between sixth and eighth grade.  The study compared two or three KIPP schools to entire school districts.

Mathematica compared individual KIPP schools to neighboring district schools. “Our data is showing that KIPP loses black males overall at a lower rate than the local district schools,” said Christina Clark Tuttle, a senior researcher.

Urban black male students often change schools, whether they attend a district or charter school, but are less likely to leave the district.

KIPP students are more likely to be black or Hispanic and have lower incomes than students in the surrounding school districts, Mathematica confirmed.

From community college to Mars

On Community College Spotlight: With baby-boomer engineers set to retire soon, NASA is trying to create a pipeline from community college to four-year institutions to aerospace jobs.

Also, four-year colleges and universities must do more to help transfers.