Vision: Student Success—Every American will have opportunity to enroll in postsecondary education and at least 60% of adults from every socioeconomic and demographic category will complete a degree or other credential that represents high quality learning, demonstrates mastery, and prepares them for success in society and the workplace. SHEEO’s mission, efforts, and activities will engage states in achieving this vision of student success.
Theme One: Member Support and Internal Operations
As a membership organization, SHEEO must first and foremost serve and be of use to its members. For 2014-15, initiatives include a new effort to integrate and streamline SHEEO’s data resources as well as existing efforts to support members (websites, surveys, salary report, etc.), conduct the annual meeting and the policy conference, update and expand the State Higher Education Finance (SHEF) report (by adding information about degrees), and maintain current support operations and services.
Theme Two: The Higher Education Environment
SHEEO will continue its work in compiling and updating its database of authorized programs and institutions by state and develop and update information about higher education governance, coordination, regulatory, planning and service responsibilities and structures in states.
Theme Three: Student Readiness for College Work
As K-12 schools across the nation are implementing college-ready standards (whether Common Core or state-developed standards) and assessments linked to those standards are being used broadly, SHEEO will focus on supporting the work of higher education, often in partnership with K-12, to ensure that standards and assessment implementation raises achievement levels for all students.
Funding is being sought to help SHEEO and its partner, NASH (the National Association of System Heads), galvanize efforts across multiple states—and their colleges and universities—to engage higher education leaders and faculty in outlining multiple but clear pathways for students, families, and schools to follow; showing what students should undertake in the 12th grade to be ready for college work, based on students’ results from their 11th grade summative assessments. A foundation grant includes funding to determine how states are using their longitudinal data systems. This will identify what information about college readiness is included in each state’s system and support understanding about student transitions from high school to college. SHEEO will bring a lens focused on equity and diversity to its student readiness and transition efforts so that more can be learned and done about attainment gaps for lower income students and students of color. To support the K-12 educators who will be preparing America’s students, the Educator Professional Development Collaborative will highlight the professional development needed and available to existing teachers to help them become even more effective in meeting the challenges introduced by higher K-12 standards.
Theme Four: Student Progress to Completion
For 2014-15, SHEEO will seek funds to refine the federal-state partnership ideas in its financial aid paper, “Moving the Needle,” and to develop a companion proposal regarding supports for adult students to enable them to enroll more intensively in college. SHEEO will work with Complete College America to develop more information about success for adult learners, low income students, and students of color. Staff will use the data-use grant to explore how state and system level longitudinal data are being used to advance outcomes for these students. A first step will be requesting states to update and expand their information presented in SHEEO’s “Strong Foundations” report. The results of that update will inform later work highlighting effective practices in states.
Theme Five: Student Learning
SHEEO’s work in assessing student learning outcomes has been tied directly to the Multi-State Collaborative to Advance Learning Outcomes Assessment (MSC). If full funding is secured, four additional states and more than 50 more colleges and universities will be added to the collaborative effort. The goal is both proof of concept (determined from the pilot work now underway) and expansion to become a norm for the assessment of student work. The second phase of the work will look at the diversity of institutions participating in the MSC, specifically tracking the success of low income students and students of color by type of institution. Another proposal would align learning outcomes assessment work with Credit for Prior Learning initiatives to investigate whether the faculty-developed assessment approach used in the MSC can measure and validate learning regardless of how a student acquired it. This could enable students to transfer to higher education institutions or be awarded credentials based on demonstration of the same mastery demanded of students earning credit and degrees through regular coursework.
Theme Six: Linking Students and Graduates to Workforce and Society
SHEEO members have become more focused on the connection between higher education and effective workers. This is a major component of the data-use grant, which will highlight how states connect higher education and workforce data to address workforce outcomes for students and graduates.
An element of workforce pertains to prior learning assessment. SHEEO staff, in addition to the efforts noted in the prior section, will continue to participate with the American National Standards Institute and others in the development of definitions for and a compendium of workforce related certificates.