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STATISTIC OF THE WEEK

Sixty-five percent of the 3 million students studying at the graduate and first-professional level in 2007–08 were working on a master’s degree. Another 15 percent were enrolled in doctoral programs, and 9 percent were in first-professional programs. The remaining 11 percent were working on a post-baccalaureate or post-master’s certificate (in teaching, for example) or taking graduate courses without enrolling in a formal program.

Source: Graduate and First-Professional Students: 2007-08

 

THE NEWS

ACADEMIC PREPARATION
Iowa will form council focused on math, science
By Iowa Sioux City Journal
Gov. Terry Branstad signed an executive order Tuesday creating a new advisory council designed to improve science and technology education in Iowa. Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, who announced the creation of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Council, known by the acronym STEM, at an education summit earlier Tuesday, said the ultimate outcome will be to produce a better-educated workforce.

LePage takes steps toward 5-year high schools
By Glenn Adams, Maine Bangor Daily News
Following up on a campaign promise, Gov. Paul LePage on Tuesday issued an order that takes a first step toward giving more Maine students the option of a five-year high school education. The governor’s executive order will create a 19-member task force to study and set the stage for changes.

As expected, Delaware test scores decline
By Nichole Dobo and Mike Chalmers, The Delaware News Journal
Test scores in Delaware's public schools dropped significantly this year, an expected result of a new statewide assessment introduced this year that includes more difficult questions and a higher bar for proficient scores. State officials on Thursday released preliminary school and district scores for reading, mathematics, science and social studies tests that were taken last school year. Final test score reports for individual students are being sent to parents this month.

 

POSTSECONDARY ACCESS SUCCESS
Study finds students taking online courses more likely to fail
By Mary Ellen Flannery, NEA Today
In a newly released study of 51,000 Washington State community college students, Columbia University researchers found that students who took online courses were more likely to fail or drop out of the course than students who took the same course in person. Moreover, those students with the most Web credits were the least likely to graduate.

After college, young illegal immigrants face low-skill jobs
By Erica Perez, California Watch
In the same week that California opened up some financial aid for illegal immigrants, a new report finds that many college graduates who entered the country illegally ended up with the same low-skill jobs as their parents, despite dreams of bettering their lives.

Focus on outcomes of higher education
By Bill Hammond for the Corpus Christi Caller Times
Much of what we're hearing about Texas' higher education system is nothing more than some very passionate noise — a distraction from our core focus and the current battle we must wage and win. If we are serious about higher education reform, state lawmakers, our colleges and universities and the business community must work together and lead, not bury ourselves in lofty rhetorical arguments or burden our education system with misguided micromanagement.

 

INTERNATIONAL NEWS
South Korea: Books overload
By Banyan-Asia Blog Post, The Economist
When school textbooks make the headlines in East Asia, they are usually cast as bystanders to some intractable old dispute, and related demands that children be taught “correct” history. Thankfully though, future-minded officials in South Korea have given cause for this correspondent to write about something altogether different: by 2015, all of the country’s dead-tree textbooks will be phased out, in favour of learning materials carried on tablet computers and other devices.

More places, along with more students per lecturer, figure in BPP’s plans
By David Matthews, Times Higher Education
BPP University College plans to double its student-to-staff ratio as it expands across the country. Speaking to Times Higher Education a year after the for-profit institution was awarded university college status, BPP's chief executive Carl Lygo said that the ratio would increase from an average of 7:1 to 14:1 or 15:1, and could reach 30:1 on some courses. This compares with a national average of about 17:1, based on 2009-10 data and on staff who have teaching roles.

Tertiary education more forward than backward: ABS
By John Ross, The Australian
New tertiary education pathways data, released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, shows that while Australians are becoming more highly educated, they're also becoming more frequently educated. The report found that the proportion of Australian adults with at least one post-school qualification had increased by over a seventh in less than a decade, from 54 per cent in 2001 to 62 per cent in 2009.

 

REPORTS WORTH READING
Promoting Educational Opportunity: The Pell Grant Program at Community Colleges
This brief examines the historical and programmatic nature of the Pell Grant program and investigates how it has come to form trends over time. Underlying the examination is the use and importance of the program to college students, with a focus on those attending community colleges.

41st Annual Survey Report on State-Sponsored Financial Aid
This report provides data regarding state-funded expenditures for student financial aid and illustrates the extent of efforts made by the states to assist postsecondary students. Information in this report is based on academic year 2009-10 data from the 41st Annual National Association of State Student Grant and Aid Programs (NASSGAP) survey.

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