All posts by Tara Nicola

Study: Implementation of Individualized Learning Plans Varies Across US High Schools

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About 72 percent of public high school students are required to have a graduation, career, or education plan, according to findings released this month by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). This figure supports data collected by NACAC as part of its 2015 study of individualized learning plans (ILPs), which indicated that all 50 states had in place at least one initiative for promoting college and career planning among high school students.

In fact, 29 states plus the District of Columbia mandate the development of ILPs in secondary schools, but the ways in which these plans are implemented vary greatly.

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Report: High School Graduates from Southern States Projected to Increase

The Southern region is set to produce the largest number of high school graduates in the US over the next 15 years, according to the latest enrollment projections from the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE).

Although the overall number of high school graduates in the US is predicted to decrease, Southern states (highlighted in yellow in the figure below) will see a significant increase in their number of public and private high school graduates. Specifically, Florida, Texas, Georgia, and Oklahoma will experience the largest growth.

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Study: Grit as an Indicator of College Success

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Underlying the college admission process is the principle that colleges should strive to accept the most academically talented students. What are the factors that best predict academic success in college?

Historically, postsecondary institutions have relied on quantitative indicators such as high school GPA and standardized test scores to assess a student’s academic potential, and with good reason—there is strong evidence linking these factors with academic performance in college. Yet such measures are neither foolproof, nor do they capture key non-cognitive characteristics, like motivation, enthusiasm, and maturity, which also impact academic outcomes.

A new study by Dr. Patrick Akos and Dr. Jen Kretchmar published in The Review of Higher Education examines the predictive power of one non-cognitive trait—grit. According to research by Dr. Angela Duckworth, grit is a construct encompassing two dimensions: consistency of interest and perseverance of effort. An example of a “gritty” student is one who is steadfast in pursuing long-term goals.

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Panel Discussion Explores Future of Community Colleges

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How has the community college sector evolved in recent years? What are the challenges such institutions will face in the future? These were just some of the questions addressed during a recent Urban Institute panel discussion — “Community Colleges since the Great Recession.”

The panel, comprised of Urban Institute researchers as well as various community college stakeholders, discussed a number of issues including college financing and Pell grants, indicators for measuring institutional success, and efforts to increase ties between colleges and employers.

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NACAC at ASHE: College Promise Programs

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Earlier this month, NACAC research associate Tara Nicola attended the annual meeting of the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) to present NACAC work as well as stay abreast of the latest research in the field. This is the first in a series of posts highlighting exciting research relevant to admission and high school counseling professionals.

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