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Report Round-Up: August 26, 2011

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August 26, 2011 06:58 pm

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Here is a round-up of this week’s education-related reports!

“Reaching the Goal” Education Policy Improvement Center
This study evaluated the applicability and importance of the Common Core State Standards –adopted by all but five states– to college and career readiness. Researchers surveyed entry-level college instructors at two- and four-year degree-granting institutions to see if they believed the common standards are good reflections of the skills students need to master in order to be successful in the postsecondary world. The report found that these instructors did indeed consider the standards in mathematics and English/language arts to be accurate representations of what students need to be successful post-high school.

“Grade Inflation for Education Majors and Low Standards for Teachers” American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research

This study states that colleges of education within U.S. universities have lax grading standards for students, which in turn negatively affects their future performance as K-12 teachers. The report by the states that university students in education departments consistently receive higher grades than their peers in other areas of study, and not because they are higher achieving, but because they face lower grading standards. The study’s author then argues the lax standards while in college produce under-skilled teachers.

Driving Innovation from the Middle: Middle-Skill Jobs in the American South’s Economy, National Skills Coalition
Fifty-one percent of jobs in the American South require “middle-skills” – such as medical technicians or computers support workers – and the region has a shortage of people able to fill the positions. The National Skills Coalition presented these figures during the Southern Governors Association meeting in Asheville. While over half of the jobs in the South require middle-skills, highly skilled jobs make up 29 percent of the market and low-skill jobs make up 20 percent. The South is finding it difficult to fill these positions even when four-year graduates face difficulty finding a job and paying off their student loans.

Hispanic College Enrollment Spikes, Narrowing Gaps with Other Groups Pew Hispanic Center
This report shows Hispanics in the United States are going to college at higher rates than ever before, with college enrollment among young Hispanics up by 24 percent from 2009 to 2010 – the largest increase of any ethnic group. While the general population of Hispanics is growing as well, it was only by 7 percent in that time period, showing the results are not just due to population growth. The report also shows Hispanics are now the largest minority group on college campuses in the United States, surpassing black students for the first time.

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