Affordability & Above-Level Testing


December 22, 2017 – Here’s our weekly roundup of education news you may have missed. Reports on affordability and graduation rates dominate the discussions in higher ed. K-12 coverage looks at solutions for school integration and above-level testing.

Happy holidays! The Cooke Chronicle will return on Friday, January 5, 2018. Subscribe now to make sure you don’t miss it.


Elementary & Secondary Education:

  • “Above-level testing, which is a way of helping us more accurately measure a student’s aptitudes, is under-utilized in gifted education,” states the Belin-Blank Center. The blog post includes an infographic to illustrate the use of above-level testing in identifying accelerated learners.
  • Recent media coverage and reports from organizations like EdBuild have emphasized how decisions about housing policy and district borders influence school segregation. The Center for American Progress suggests district consolidation as a strategy for educational equity.


Higher Education:

  • Alison Griffin’s EdSurge commentary describes how the PROSPER Act is taking shape. The piece cites Cooke Foundation research on college affordability, which many consider a primary concern for this reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA).
  • Open Educational Resources (OER) such as digital textbooks, e-books, and other free online resources, are being increasingly adopted by college professors. Inside Higher Ed and The Chronicle of Higher Education share the findings of a new report that shows how costs play into faculty textbook choices.
  • “Nationally, six-year graduation rates for first-time college enrollees rose to 56.9% from 54.8%,” reports Education Dive. “The 2.1% bump lifts graduation rates above the pre-recession high of 56.1% and represents about 48,000 more degree earners.” Community College Daily notes that the same National Student Clearinghouse report also notes a 38% graduation rate for students who began their studies at a two-year institution.
  • A related report from the Education Trust finds a persisting gap in graduation rates between white and Latino students. Diverse: Issues in Higher Education shares the findings, which emphasize the importance of administrator focus and institutional culture.


Cooke Foundation Highlights:

  • The holidays can be especially difficult for low-income college students who face food insecurity challenges. Executive Director Harold O. Levy shares more on the issue in HuffPost.
  • In the Cornell Chronicle, new graduate Cooke Scholar Sagar Chapagain describes how he developed a new passion at the university: “In health policy class I was sitting and learning about how complicated and fragmented our health care system is, and that got me into writing about it.” Sagar’s latest op-ed is in USA Today.


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