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Research and Policy Round-up: Veterans, Service Learning, Evaluating Applied Skills

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August 6, 2014

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Research and Policy Round-up: Veterans, Service Learning, Evaluating Applied Skills

Two recent publications track policies on service learning and veterans in postsecondary education, while a new assessment explores enhancing data collection about applied skills.

A recent brief from the Education Commission of the States (ECS) shares recent state policies that support veterans in postsecondary education. Twenty-four states provide in-state tuition for veterans, and 16 states enacted policies in 2013 and 2014 about prior learning assessment, veteran support services and veteran-friendly course registration and attendance policies, including:

  • Connecticut's Executive Order 36, which requires policies ensuring credit for relevant military experience
  • Indiana Senate Bill (SB) 115, which created the Combat to College program, requiring campuses with at least 200 veterans to provide a program coordinator and support services
  • Illinois SB 2245, Washington House Bill (HB) 1109 and Pennsylvania HB 1164, which give course registration preference to veterans
  • Oklahoma SB 1830, Washington SB 5343 and West Virginia HB 2491, which require veteran students to be granted absence if they are called up for active duty

In addition, ECS completed a recent scan of state policies on service learning and found that:

  • 33 states have service learning as an element of their academic standards or frameworks
  • 24 states recognize service learning as a method of preparing students for the workforce
  • 23 states either allow or require school districts to award credit for service learning, to be counted toward graduation requirements
  • 17 states identify service learning as an instructional strategy for student achievement
  • Maryland and DC require high school students to participate in service learning or community service in order to graduate

Finally, a new test from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, based on the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), assesses schools on how well a sample of students can apply their reading, math and science skills to real-world problems. The exam is given to a sample of students and is meant to evaluate school curriculum, not particular students. Students also fill out a questionnaire assessing their attitudes about teachers, courses and the school in order to provide broader context.

 

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