This new approach to math was introduced at Daytona State College in the fall to all students pursuing degrees that don’t involve science, math, engineering or technology. Last semester, there were 1,100 enrolled who attend class once a week as well as an optional lab day.
Here’s how it works:
On the first day of class, instead of getting a syllabus saying when they will cover chapters in a textbook, students sit in front of a computer and take an un-timed, 30-question online assessment.
That assessment measures the knowledge students already have and determines their starting point. For example, once students indicate that they already know a lot about algebra or arithmetic, they are no longer responsible for it.
Fewer than 10 percent of 3,118 high school students invited to sign up for a new online program after their applications were rejected for regular admission to the University of Florida have accepted the offer.
The 256 students who signed up for the Pathway to Campus Enrollment program will be guaranteed a spot at UF after they complete the minimum requirements: two semesters and at least 15 hours of online course work.
The Great Recession has had lasting effects on employment prospects of young people entering the workforce after graduating from high school or college. Despite officially ending in June 2009, the recession left millions unemployed for prolonged spells, with recent workforce entrants such as young graduates being particularly vulnerable. The slow pace of the recovery means that seven classes of students have graduated into an acutely weak labor market and have had to compete with more-experienced workers for a limited number of job opportunities. This is on top of the fact that graduates since 2000 have confronted suboptimal labor market conditions, resulting in stagnant wages and limited job opportunities. While recent improvements in economic conditions have finally begun to brighten young graduates’ job prospects, the labor market is still far from recovered from the Great Recession.
Last September, a couple million newly minted high school graduates loaded up the family car with their possessions and headed to State U or a private liberal arts college to spend the next four years coming of age in a cozy campus environment.1 Their experiences tend to mirror the common images we see in mainstream media and movies about college life: homecomings, studying on the quad, sitting in a classroom taught by the canonical bespectacled professor in a tweed coat, and attending football games and frat parties during the weekend.
Fewer working-age African-Americans than whites hold four-year college degrees in all but one of the nation’s 150 largest metropolitan areas, according to a new Next America analysis of data from the massive National Equity Atlas.
Likewise, the share of working-age Hispanic adults holding four-year college degrees lags behind the percentage of whites, often by enormous margins, in all but one of those 150 communities, the analysis found.
In each case, the sole exception was in a community with a very small proportion of minority adults. African-Americans exceed whites in college completion only in Fayetteville, Arkansas, where less than 2 percent of the total population is black. Hispanics exceed whites in college completion only in Pittsburgh, where Hispanics represent just 1.3 percent of the population. In most cities with large African-American and Hispanic populations, adults from those groups trail working-age whites in college completion by at least a double-digit margin.
At Broward College, in Florida, closing the skills gap takes a village — or at least the public and private components of one.
“It becomes a community effort,” says Robin Swanson, program manager for the Florida TRADE Program at Broward. “We have a strong partnership with vocational schools that have machining and welding programs. We engage with cities and partner with community organizations.”
Perhaps most importantly, Broward College partners with the local manufacturing association as part of the Florida Transforming Resources for Accelerated Degrees and Employment (TRADE) program, a grant program spending $15 million statewide to move 1,000 Floridians into advanced manufacturing jobs by this time next year. Broward College is one of 13 state colleges and universities selected for the program as part of the Florida TRADE Consortium.
The Great Recession and its aftermath have exposed a major mismatch between the skills of many college graduates and the skills employers are seeking. If anything, as technological change marches on, this problem may get worse.
University presidents and trustees cannot afford to be complacent. One compelling suggestion, by Monica Herk, the the Committee for Economic Development’s vice president for education research, is that all institutions of higher learning focus far more on certifying competencies in particular skills that employers demand rather than on simply requiring students to complete a fixed number of classes. This may even lead to an unbundling of courses and certifications, much as the challengers to cable-television providers are now beginning to offer consumers. (Full disclosure: I am a member of CED’s research advisory board).
Spring enrollments at community colleges continue to slide, particularly among older and full-time students, according to new data from theNational Student Clearinghouse Research Center.
Overall, enrollments at all postsecondary institutions in spring 2015 totaled just under 18.6 million, down 1.9 percent compared to spring 2014. However, enrollments at public four-year colleges increased 0.1 percent, while those at community college dipped 3.9 percent.
Of the nearly quarter of a million enrollments lost this spring at community colleges, students over the age of 24 account for three-quarters of the decline, according to the center.