From ETS, or Educational Testing Service–the folks that bring us test products like the SAT, the GREs, LSAT, MCAT, and others–is a report on high school dropouts, it’s prevalence, risk factors, and remediation strategies. If ETS knows how to keep students in school longer, it would certainly help schools who are struggling with retention rates. Who better than ETS to write a report on dropping out? They have decades of information in their databases that they use to design their tests. It is not surprising that they are able to mine their data for information that can help schools.
This report came on the tail of an interview transcript with Bill Gates from the Chronicle of Higher Education for his views on dropping out of college. The article points out that
he argues for radical reform of college teaching, advocating a move toward a “flipped” classroom, where students watch videos from superstar professors as homework and use class time for group projects and other interactive activities. As he put it, “having a lot of kids sit in the lecture class will be viewed at some point as an antiquated thing.”
To this interveiwer question,
Q. The Gates Foundation has given tens of millions of dollars to traditional universities and to some new upstart players in higher education. But with that amount it would be possible to build a new campus of your own—have you considered starting your own university?
Bill Gates responds, in part,
Even these top universities often only have a 60-percent completion rate. And the average university will have something like a 30-percent completion rate. So you have an immense amount of wasted resource, and students who end up with a big loan and sort of a negative experience in terms of their own self-confidence. And so that failing student is a disaster for everyone.
The Bill Gates interview can be found here. The URL is http://chronicle.com/article/A-Conversation-With-Bill-Gates/132591/. The site has the full interview in video, too, for those who would prefer to listen to Bill Gates instead of read the transcript.
You should be able to access the ETC research and development report on high school retention and dropout below. If not, let me know and I’ll post the .pdf file. You can contact me here. Remember to let me know that you are asking for the report.