Blog: Higher Ed Beat
Word on the Beat: Adversity Score
What reporters need to know about the College Board's experimental "Environmental Context Dashboard"
The question of which students should win admission to selective colleges is so heated that it has sparked state legislation, discrimination lawsuits and a celebrity-studded bribery scandal. So news that the College Board had been providing admissions officers data on the kind of “adversity” to which applicants had been exposed couldn’t help but stir controversy.
College Board Explains ‘Environmental Context Dashboard’
In this on-the-record interview, David Coleman objects to the term "adversity score."
In the midst of legal and political battles over preferences given to different kinds of college applicants, news broke that the College Board has been experimenting with providing college admissions officers with what some have called an “adversity score” for each applicant to, potentially, give admissions boosts to students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
The Institute for Higher Education Policy is known for issuing wonky, data-heavy reports. So why did the Washington-based think tank just issue a report focused on the personal stories of 17 low-income students struggling with inadequate financial aid?
Driven by changing student demographics and demands from employers, colleges are experimenting with new, more flexible and affordable bachelors’ degrees, a panel of higher education leaders and experts told journalists at the Education Writers Association’s 2019 National Seminar.
Colleges are trying boot camps, competency-based education, credit for prior learning, and other strategies to lower costs, speed up and improve the value of bachelors’ degrees.
In 2018, Meghan Irons and her colleagues at the Boston Globe set out to document a troubling paradox: Their city is famous for its world-class universities, but working-class Bostonians were largely failing to thrive there and move up the economic ladder.
Most journalists covering universities focus on undergraduate programs, even though, in many cases, the graduate student population is larger and has a bigger impact on the school’s financial health. So graduate schools can be a trove of fresh, under-covered story ideas, according to graduate student representatives and researchers who spoke at the Education Writers Association’s 2019 National Seminar.
Many instructors still use traditional-style lectures despite growing scientific evidence that less-passive approaches are more effective in building students’ skills and knowledge. At the Education Writers Association 2019 National Seminar, Harvard professor Eric Mazur demonstrated to journalists how active engagement – both inside and outside the classroom – stimulates higher-order thinking and motivates students to learn.
Top 10 Higher Education Story Ideas for 2019-20
Inside Higher Ed's Scott Jaschik says admissions, free speech and rising graduation rates will make headlines.
While the hottest higher education story of early 2019 involved celebrities trying to bribe their kids’ way into elite colleges, many other important stories are likely to make news in the 2019-20 academic year, according to Scott Jaschik, editor of Inside Higher Ed.
The veteran higher education journalist and editor listed the 10 topics he thinks every higher education reporter should be ready to cover in the coming months.
Covering How ‘Varsity Blues’ Affects College Admissions
Experts suggest following up with investigations into large inequities and sports recruiting.
The “Varsity Blues” scandal involved a small group of wealthy families using bribes and other tactics to gain admissions to selective colleges. But it also illuminated broader admissions problems – particularly those involving income disparities – that should be examined by education reporters, according to experts who spoke at the 2019 Education Writers Association seminar in Baltimore.
Six Story Ideas for Covering Race on Campus
College student body diversity, recruiting practices and history
Journalists who want to better cover the reality of the racial environment on college campuses should broaden their focus beyond protests against Confederate statues or controversies over yearbook pictures, advised a group of researchers, educators and veteran journalists gathered at the Education Writers Association’s 2019 National Seminar in Baltimore.
Tips on Covering Race Issues Responsibly
Ask followup questions, add context and use the "R" word carefully.
When covering race issues, journalists can get things things very right, or very wrong. From their story choices, to the context they add and the words they use, opportunities — and risks — abound. That’s especially true for reporters covering schools and colleges, which have been ground zero for some of the most important racial incidents and news stories of the recent past.
Fresh Angles on Student Loan Stories: Phones and Bills
Lawsuits and "Next Generation" reforms are likely to generate headlines.
Journalists looking for new angles on the click-grabbing topic of student loans should consider digging into legal and political battles over who answers the phones when borrowers call with questions, and how the bills are collected, experts told reporters at recent Education Writers Association event in Washington, D.C.