Key Questions for Policymakers to Ask
when Assessing Progress
Creating Smarter Pathways
About guided pathways:
Do institutions provide all students coherent degree plans upon enrollment to guide them in course selection and advising? Does that advising include information regarding high-demand jobs with family-sustaining wages?
Are support systems available to monitor student progress and intervene when students are at risk of falling off track? Have states and institutions established milestones students can reach to signal that they are on track to succeed in their chosen field?
About transfer of credits:
To what extent do credits and degree programs transfer across state institutions?
About college readiness, remediation and acceleration:
How many high school graduates are college-ready? How many need remediation? How many college students are enrolled in remedial education, and are they making it to and through the first-year college courses?
Has the state developed and implemented high school assessments aligned with entry-level college expectations? Are high schools using them to identify students who need remediation or acceleration before entering college? Are high school faculty using results of college readiness assessments to adjust or redesign high school curriculum to ensure higher levels of preparedness?
About credit accumulation and caps:
On average, how many credits accumulated by graduates exceed what is required for graduation? What is the opportunity cost to students, institutions and taxpayers? Are students taking enough credits each term or year to graduate on time?
Do institutions and state financial aid programs expect students to enroll each semester with enough credits to graduate on time?
About prior learning assessment:
To what extent are institutions within a system or state utilizing outcomes rubrics and assessments to award credit for prior learning that occurred through open courses, life experience and work?
About competency-based programs:
Where does statute or regulation strictly define student and institutional eligibility for state financial aid in ways that impede the growth of competency-based degree programs?
About online learning opportunities:
What online learning opportunities are available to students in your state? What process do providers in other states have to follow for approval? What quality assurance policies do you have in place?