Policies to foster college completion in three New England states are cited in The College Completion Agenda 2011 Progress Report and State Policy Guide, new national reports published by the College Board and National Conference of State Legislatures.
The policy guide cites Connecticut Public Act 04-212 as a low-cost way to coordinate workforce training and professional advancement ladders for early-childhood providers.
The guide also profiles Rhode Island’s requirement that the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education department work with schools districts that have dropout rates higher than 15%. The College Board also cites Rhode Island’s focus on revamping teacher-evaluation metrics to include student academic growth.
And it refers to the Massachusetts Education Reform Act of 1993, which aligns academic standards, curriculum frameworks, assessments, high school accountability measures, and teacher certification requirements, as one way to better coordinate K-12 education systems and college admissions expectations. Massachusetts is also cited for legislation requiring that all public colleges report annually to the governor and Legislature on measures including student college-completion rates.
The College Board outlines strategies for state legislators to adopt in increasing college completion in 10 categories:
- Provide a program of voluntary preschool education;
- Improve middle and high school college and career counseling;
- Implement research-based dropout prevention programs;
- Align K-12 education systems with international standards and college admissions expectations;
- Improve teacher quality and focus on recruitment and retention;
- Clarify and simplify the admission process;
- Provide more need-based grant aid while simplifying and making financial aid processes more transparent;
- Keep college affordable;
- Dramatically increase college-completion rates; and
- Provide postsecondary opportunities as an essential element of adult education programs.
Monnica Chan is director of policy & research at NEBHE.