Interested in what’s trending in education? Here are a few highlights from recent education news.

To Ease Transfer Hurdles, Colleges Share Data and Overhaul Curriculum
Marguerite McNeal, EdSurge

McNeal profiles the experience of a young woman who struggled with the “hurdles” of transferring from a two-year institution to a four-year university and then transitions into a review of what some of the major issues are and what some schools are doing to solve them. While the article highlights the fact that many community college students are not provided the proper advice for planning their college experience, there are schools that appear to have laid out a blueprint for how the system can work well.   

County schools look to streamline college, career planning with Naviance
Josh Mandell, Charlottesville Tomorrow

Mandell overviews the implementation of Naviance in Albemarle County Public Schools. “Seventh- and eighth-graders in Albemarle County use Naviance to create a draft of their high school courses of study. High school guidance counselors will have access to these four-year plans and information about students’ career interests before students begin freshman year. ‘We have always done career stuff in middle school, but it often just stopped there,” Craddock said. “Maybe it got put in a file, or maybe it got sent home. Now, high school counselors have … a better picture of each kid that’s coming in on their caseload.’”

California education officials reject Long Beach's request to replace statewide assessment with SAT
John Fensterwald, EdSource

While eleven states in the U.S. are planning on swapping their statewide assessments for the SAT this year, California will not be adding itself to that list.  Instead, California will continue to use the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium exam in math and english language arts, which the State Superintendent of Public Instruction and State Board President for California both agreed is a better exam because of the “SAT’s shortcomings” as a replacement.

Liberal Arts College Students Are Getting Less Artsy
Colleen Flaherty, Inside Higher Ed

Anxiety over the job market appears to be causing liberal arts students to focus more on math and science classes and less on the arts and humanities. While some administrators think that the trend poses no real problem, others, such as William Deresiewicz who is the author of Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life, think that the the trend “bespeaks the destructive attitude that is ubiquitous in education today.”

The Ethics of Sharing Predictive Analytics
Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed

Jaschick quotes Ellen Wagner, Vice President of Research at Hobsons, on her response to the question of: "If the information from predictive analytics could be discouraging, do we have a duty to withhold it? Is there an ethical basis for a sort of statistical placebo?"

“Answering the question starts with an understanding of why one would want to use predictive analytics in the first place, and then how to best apply the specific analytics to find answers to the question. Predictive analytics don’t result in a single correct answer emerging, a la Magic 8-Ball. It’s more about surfacing patterns and understanding what kind of variables can impact student success. Predictive analytics shouldn’t curtail students’ dreams or to send the message that we don’t think they can make it. Rather, they offer proactive prompts for institutions to find personally relevant pathways for success, surfacing risks that might be overlooked, or surfacing patterns that may not be intuitive. Analytics enable student success staff on campus to address concerns before they become problems, rather than communicating a message of anticipated failure.”

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