Academic Assembly Focuses on Data and Momentum
Academic Assembly Focuses on Data and MomentumKate Levin, Associate Director, External Communications
The Academic Assembly met Monday afternoon to discuss priorities, and explore how College Board initiatives can effect change for the academic community in the coming year.
Topics of discussion included access to opportunity; how data can support efforts to encourage students with academic potential to apply to four or more colleges; and how the College Board can more effectively blend instruction with assessment.
“Thinking about community colleges, it’s all about access, affordability and achievement,” said Council chair-elect Michael McDonough, Provost and Vice President for Academic Services at Monroe Community College. “Data may help the access and achievement pieces, but can also help identify where students are losing momentum on a journey that for some of them might be very lengthy.”
McDonough added that data can also serve as an identifier of where and why students may be losing momentum on their path to college, including: adequate access to academic, financial, and counseling support.
“Data makes opportunity real,” said McDonough. “For those of us in postsecondary education, that’s one of the big uses of data; there’s some controversy in my part of the world about the phrase ‘under-matching,’ but let’s instead understand that students’ individual pathways to their achievement might be multi-institutional for good reason.”
Council Chair Pam Paulson, Senior Director of Policy at the Perpich Center for Arts and Education discussed how new College Board instruction and assessment programs are working to combat “testing exhaustion” by offering students and educators early feedback to help them improve over time. Paulson encouraged the College Board to continue thinking of ways to support this momentum.
“I think there’s exhaustion from standardized testing for students and their parents, and the new initiatives we’re undertaking – like 6-12 and AP Capstone – help us move from tests that record achievement at one point in time to formative assessments that address some of the preparation issues,” said Paulson. “Because it gives the students a chance to improve when they get feedback and get remediation early before they move on.”
McDonough noted that 63 percent of new students at his institution enter needing remedial work, underscoring Paulson’s point that the College Board should continue to work on programs that offer robust student feedback.
“One of the strengths of the College Board is the ability to convene a broad array of stakeholders,” said McDonough. “The College Board has a tremendous currency as a convener of stakeholders. I hope people understand that the mission of the College Board is for all students. We can be a very powerful agent for change.”