What?s Wrong with Community College Placement Policies?

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What?s Wrong with Community College Placement Policies?
We take an in-depth look at recent studies that show placement examinations may not be the best way to place incoming community college students into the proper courses. What could be the alternative?
Community colleges across the country typically have open enrollment policies that allow students admission to the schools regardless of their academic performance in high school. In fact, many two-year schools don’t collect high school transcripts or standardized test scores before allowing students to enroll in classes. However, most of these schools do rely on standardized placement examinations to ensure students lacking skills to succeed in college get the help they need in remedial classes before moving on to college-level courses.
 
In theory, this system sounds like a good one. Students are assessed before they are placed in community college classes to ensure they possess all the skills necessary to achieve in higher education courses. Unfortunately the theory doesn’t always translate to an effective education process. In fact, recent studies have shown community college placement examinations may do more harm than good.
 
The Problem with Placement Exams
 
Last year, Inside Higher Ed reported on a study by the Community College Research Center at Columbia University’s Teachers College. The study found that up to two-thirds of the students placed in remedial classes after taking placement exams could have passed college-level courses with a grade of “B” or better without the remedial assistance. This study was significant, since remedial coursework has a detrimental impact on college completion rates at community colleges across the country.
 
At the time of the study, around six out of every 10 community college students were assigned remedial coursework before they could take college-level classes. Although students have...
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Studies Show Community College May Offer Superior ROI to Some Four-Year Schools
Studies indicate that some community college graduates are now finding work at a higher starting salary than their four-year counterparts and with less debt to boot.
The perception of the value of a college degree appears to be evolving. As some students and their parents begin to focus on their return on investment (ROI), they are beginning to realize that graduating from a prestigious four-year school isn’t as glamorous as it seems. In addition, rising concern over increasing student debt has spurred questions about the best path to a profession. As the exploration continues, community colleges are starting to be seen as offering the superior ROI for many students today.
 
The Value of a Four-Year Degree
 
PolicyMic reports on a recent analysis that looked at 1,248 four-year colleges and universities across the country. The study showed 28 percent of those four-year schools offered a negative ROI, which means students would have been better off financially if they had not gone to school at all!  However, if those students had started their higher education at a community college and then transferred to a four-year school for their last two years, the negative ROI would have been reduced to 11.5 percent.
 
The best ROI from four-year schools often involved engineering programs. Schools like Colorado School of Mines, Georgia Tech, MIT and Cal Tech reflect that trend. Ivy League schools also made the list for positive ROIs, demonstrating that high admission standards and a tradition of success do contribute to the value of a postsecondary education. Other four-year schools did not always fare as well. For example, the last school on the list, Savannah College of Art and...
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Online Courses Popularity Growing at Community Colleges
We look at the increase in online course offerings at community colleges across the country, and why this option is becoming more popular with some students.
Community colleges strive to operate as institutions of higher education that meet the needs of many today. Convenience and flexibility are the mantra of these schools that host adult students with a wide range of family and professional responsibilities. To achieve those goals, many community colleges across the country are increasing their selection of online and hybrid courses, allowing many busy students to get in at least a portion of their study time from the comfort of home. As the demand for online coursework continues to grow, community colleges grapple with how to provide ultimate flexibility to students without sacrificing instructional quality or completion rates to give students the education options they are asking for.
 
The Growth of Online Options
 
Online courses have been increasing at community colleges nationwide since 2005, according to a recent report at Santa Ynez Valley News. The publication cites a report, titled, “Going the Distance: Online Education in the United States, 2011,” which showed that 32 percent more students took an online course during fall 2011 term. That means more than 6.7 million community college students took advantage of online opportunities during that semester alone.
 
The number marks a significant increase in online courses from the same semester in 2008, when just 4.6 million students at community colleges took an online course. The 2008 numbers were a 17-percent increase from 2007, suggesting an uptick in the demand for online courses overall. In fact, the Marin Independent Journal states that online courses have increased...
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10 Reasons Community College is a Good Choice in 2013
We explore the many changes that have taken place in community colleges recently and why they can be the best choice for some graduating seniors and adult students alike.
Community college have received plenty of attention in recent years, due to a combination of an economic slowdown and renewed interest by the current administration in these institutions. Changes to community colleges in recent years have also contributed to the increased demand for two-year degrees. Check out these 10 reasons why your local community college might be a good choice in higher education today.
 
Easier Admission
With many four-year colleges becoming increasingly competitive in their admission requirements, community colleges still offer opportunities for postsecondary education even if a student’s high school grades weren’t exactly stellar. Education.com explains these schools typically offer placement examinations prior to enrollment to help students ascertain which introductory courses will be better suited to their needs. Students that require additional instruction prior to the rigors of a college curriculum will find most schools offer remedial education to help them bone up on challenging subjects.
 
Flexibility
Community colleges usually offer more flexible scheduling options than traditional four-year schools, with both night and weekend classes available. In addition, the website for Brookhaven College explains that students have the option of taking classes full or part-time, depending on what their current schedule allows. This makes it much easier for adult students with family or professional responsibilities to work their education pursuit around the rest of their obligations.
 
Degree Options
Community colleges offer more degree options than ever before, with a wealth of choices available for in-demand industries like healthcare. STEM subjects, which include science, technology,...
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Even More Campus Housing Coming to Community College Near You
We analyze the Community College Week report about the trend toward campus housing at community colleges nationwide and what it means for prospective students.
Campus housing has traditionally been seen as a privilege reserved for students of four-year colleges and universities. However, as the demand for affordable postsecondary education continues to rise, so does the availability of campus housing on community college campuses nationwide. While the number of community colleges offering on-campus living is still relatively small, the number is steadily growing. Why the sudden interest in dorm living from community college students? There appear to be many reasons for this rising trend.
 
The Demand for On-Campus Housing
 
A recent report from Community College Week highlights the increasing demand for on-campus housing many community colleges are now facing. According to the report, around 80 community colleges currently offer residence halls or dormitories, which is a relatively small percentage of the more than 1,200 community colleges across the country. However, more schools are announcing plans for building housing on campus, as community colleges are working to increase their presence as a viable postsecondary alternative to more expensive four-year schools.
 
Many community colleges are now recruiting student athletes and boasting specialized programs that draw students from outside their immediate area. Without the ability to commute, these students are now on the hunt for affordable housing around the community college campus. On-campus dormitories and apartments have become the best solution for many schools today. As other schools see the popularity of campus housing, they are also implementing plans to construct their own housing to remain competitive in the community college market.
 
An increase in international...
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