College Completion Study Will Get More Discussion
“The danger of doing nothing is that we remain where we are.“
The words of West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission Executive Vice Chancellor Rob Anderson when describing what should happen with a college completion study released last week.
“Educating West Virginia is Everyone’s Business: Report from the West Virginia College Completion Task Force” makes several recommendations to improve the numbers in West Virginia.
Anderson says the study, which took more than a year to complete, cannot be ignored.
He says there will be consequences if it is.
“We will remain in the situation where we are not graduating enough of our students and we can’t meet our workforce needs,“ he said.
For years funding to colleges and universities in West Virginia has been linked to student enrollment but the study recommends at least part of an institution’s funding be connected to how many students actually earn a degree.
“We need more of a prioritization on graduation itself, some kind of funding attached to the numbers you are able to fully get through this pipeline,“ he said.
Students who begin college but do not finish usually end up in debt with student loans without the ability to pay them off.
Another task force recommendation is to reduce the time it takes for students to earn a college certificate or degree.
For example, Shepherd University has streamlined some of its degree programs and is requiring fewer credit hours for graduation.
“This makes college for attainable for many students and lets them incur less debt and expense overall and get into the workforce,“ Anderson said.
A recent study shows the state is lagging behind when it comes to a properly trained workforce.
“West Virginia needs 20,000 more credentialed adults above and beyond what we currently produce by 2018 just to tread water,“ Anderson said.
A legislative committee has already been looking at some of the recommendations and business leaders and public education leaders seem to be on board.
Anderson says it is important for the discussion to continue and for the report’s recommendations to be implemented through policy decisions.
“We need to make graduation a visible and tangible priority across the state,“ he said.
A copy of the report can been seen at the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission’s website www.hepc.wvnet.edu.
It would be wrong to lay all blame on our colleges and universities. The real culprit is the failed K-12 education system in WV. When it produces graduates who can’t read or do math what can you expect? We are paying the steep price for WV being at the bottom for education quality and it points to ineptness with Dr. Marple’s DOE that puts undue emphasis on processes instead of educational outcomes. This news in one more reason Gilmer must have a comprehensive, unbiased study by qualified experts so we can plan for a superior K-12 school system. Building new schools is too simplistic of an answer. County Commissioners, your help to get a top notch study done would be a real service to the County’s children.
Comment by Mert Lombard on 06.05.2012
I find it difficult to believe the answer is to decrease the number of credit hours required to receive a diploma and agree that improved K-12 education must happen. Both State and Local BOE’s must get on board with a study of the situation for any improvement to be realized. The HEPC should be demanding improvement of student skills at the college entry level and support such studies throughout WV.
Comment by NJH on 06.06.2012
To NJH, actually I think it is a good idea to decrease the number of credits required for a degree. This can be done by just focusing on the area of student’s interest and the field they are going to. Right now students are required to take so many classes that has nothing to do with their field of study.
Comment by think about it on 06.06.2012
To Think: I am aware that many a Math and Science major sees no value in English Lit or Sociology as a Music major may feel about Math or Science. However, I fear making a college degree a certificate program.. The college experience was designed to develop well rounded individuals. I am sure there are classes we would both agree seem frivolous but want to see students walk out globally prepared and not just task oriented. Ready to take on a changing world and flexible, with the ability to take care of themselves outside their field of study. Emphasis on proper preparation at the K-12 level means less need for remedial assistance after college enrollment and students prepared for success in the collegiate atmosphere.
Comment by NJH on 06.06.2012
I agree with NJH. Lowering the credits solves nothing except graduating inferior students. That’s what we have now, evidently.
Lower the standards and in 15 years we’d need to lower them again because students got lazier and lazier. just look at the ones who don’t graduate….it’s not because they can’t do the work, it’s because they DON’T do the work.
If that were the solution, we could just do as the Sheriff has done and buy our diplomas online for a grand or two, then everyone graduates, right? That solves nothing.
All you need to do is look at the english skills of many of the writers on here to see where the problem lies. We have good teachers, just bad policy for shuffling them on through, when they really can’t perform.
But then again our society is afraid we’ll make Johnny or Sally feel bad if we are critical of their work, so let’s make them feel good about themselves and pass them on.
Tired of “Pansy Nation”
Comment by Anon. on 06.06.2012
To Think About it - Students need the amount of credits now required to be able to function in the world outside of Gilmer County and maybe even WV. You are a perfect example. A person getting a Forestry degree needs an English class. It is “classes that have” - not “classes that has”. The grammar in Gilmer County shows the level of our schools. It is sad that if you live in Gilmer County you cannot get a first class education.
Comment by Just Wondering on 06.07.2012
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