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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Raising college grad rates may lower quality

The push to get more students to a college degree may be lowering the quality of a college education, writes Jon Marcus for the Hechinger Report.

Dual enrollment is helping high school students earn college credits — but are they really meeting college standards? Increasingly, instructors are high school teachers — not college professors.

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More students are starting in college-level classes, while trying to learn basic skills, instead of doing remedial work first. Does that lower standards in entry-level classes?

Colleges are reducing degree requirements and letting failing students keep trying until they pass.

What about giving college credit for previous training or experience? “The U.S. Department of Education inspector general has raised concerns about a lack of oversight,” writes Marcus.

Everybody wants college graduation numbers to go up, said Frederick Hess, who directs education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute. “The two easiest ways to improve your graduation rate is to stop admitting students who are a bad risk — or start handing out diplomas like a PEZ dispenser.” His new study looks at ways to raise  college graduation rates, but without reducing quality.

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