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The View from Higher Education: Public Universities Respond to Educational Reform (MDS-913)

A. C. McCormick, M. N. Alt, S. Geis

Higher education plays an important role in determining the prospects for adopting and institutionalizing educational reform. Specifically, higher education is seen as endorsing or rejecting changes at the secondary level through the admissions process. The history of educational reform is replete with accounts that portray higher education as unsupportive of reform and as obstructing reform through inflexible admissions standards. In the present reform climate, higher education's role is as important as ever, but there has been little systematic inquiry into how colleges and universities are responding to reform.

This report presents findings from a 50-state survey of how public universities are responding to selected educational reforms in the admissions process. The survey consisted of structured telephone interviews of personnel in state higher education agencies and at flagship institutions in the 50 states.

This study provides valuable information for policymakers and reformers in government, secondary and postsecondary education, and independent education policy groups. It identifies reforms that pose challenges to conventional admissions practices, discusses the realities of the admissions process and the practical difficulties involved in accommodating these reforms, provides empirical data on how flagship public universities are responding, and reports on the extent to which formal policies have been adopted or are being developed to address these reforms in the admissions process.

> The full text of this publication is available online.


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