Saturday, November 11, 2017

Gallup and Strada Survey - Informal Sources Commonly Used Among Students Seeking Major Advice

Work colleagues and employers are ranked among the best sources of information for students seeking advice about choosing a major. However, according to a new survey by Gallup and Strada Education Network, they are the least utilized. This survey reports that the majority of U.S. adults list their informal social network as providing advice about their college major. The study seeks to explore what types of sources provide advice to students regarding college major selecgtion, and how helpful that advice is perceived to be. Results from the survey found that responses were divided into four broad categories: formal (counselors and media), informal social network (friends, family and community leaders), informal school-based (college staff and professors, high school teachers and coaches), and informal work-based (employers, coworkers, experienced professionals and the military). One implication of the findings from this study is that the most commonly cited sources of advice in choosing a major are not necessarily rated as being the most helpful. The researchers of this report seek to use their findings in order to learn how to enhance traditional models of advice and support to help students make better-informed decisions about their field of study.

Gallup (2017). Major influence: Where students get valued advice on what to study in college. Washington, D.C.: Gallup Inc. and Strada Education Network.

BSRG Survey - How K-12 School Districts Choose Curricula Materials

A national survey of curriculum decision makers in K-12 school districts sought to understand the process by which K-12 school districts select and adopt full-course curricula materials, and to understand the degree to which K-12 school districts are aware of and adopted Open Education Resources (OER).  Key findings include:

·      Over three-quarters of districts have made a full-course curricula decision in the past three years, with two-thirds of these making decisions in more than one subject area.
·      The most common subject area is Mathematics, followed by English Language Arts. Adopting a full-course curriculum is a group activity including teachers, administrators, and principals. Half of the districts include parents and outside experts in this process.
·      The vast majority of district adoption decisions are driven by an external factor: changing standards (curricula is replaced roughly every 6 to 10 years), with most decision processes take the better part of a year to complete.
·      K-12 school districts have a greater degree of awareness of OER materials than of OER concepts and definitions. Two-thirds of all districts are aware of at least one OER full-course curriculum, with roughly a third having considered at least one for adoption.

Allen, I. E., & Seaman, J. (2017). What we teach: K-12 school district curriculum adoption process, 2017. Wellesley, MA: Babson Survey Research Group.

Increasing K-12 Student Access to Digital Learning

In 2013, only 4 million students had access to broadband that provided internet fast enough to allow for digital learning in the classroom. By 2017, that number has risen to 39.2 million, but the movement to close the connectivity gap between students and technology to assist in digital learning is far from over. According to a report by EducationSuperHighway, it is important for state and federal leaders, school districts, and service providers to work to close the connectivity gap, which still spans 6.5 million students. This report emphasizes the fact that continued action is necessary to ensure the remaining students receive access. Those students largely hail from the 1,587 rural schools that don't yet have the infrastructure necessary, the report notes. Some of the findings from the report state that some of the specific steps necessary in order to reach the goal of increasing access to digital learning for students include setting connectivity goals, engaging service providers, establishing state matching funds, making broadband affordable, and providing technical assistance when needed.

EducationSuperhighway (2017). 2017 State of the states: Fulfilling our promise to America’s students. San Francisco, CA: EducationSuperhighway.