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January 08, 2015

Common Core, college ratings among major education areas to follow in 2015

iPads. SMART boards. Social media. While new technology is proving to be a powerful tool for the future of classroom learning, there are other trends and areas of American education that remain a concern for many educators. 

From standardized testing to rising college tuition costs, parents and teachers alike have expressed worries over students' academic success. 

U.S. News has listed a few key education trends to look out for in 2015

1. Campus sexual assault

Colleges and universities have been placing a stronger emphasis on the reporting of sexual assaults, especially following the Rolling Stone article about an alleged gang rape at the University of Virginia, which was later discredited. Campuses nationwide are working to improve reporting methods and increase education for students and employees about sexual assault. The White House launched a national campaign regarding prevention efforts, and several bills were passed in recent months focusing on campus accountability.

2. Obama's college ratings

In December 2014, the Obama administration released a draft of its college ratings proposal

According to the U.S. News story:

The plan was short on details and made some wonder whether the administration can follow through on its promise to deliver a full system by the 2015-16 school year. There's also a chance the Republican-controlled Congress in 2015 could set out to block the administration from eventually tying the ratings to federal financial aid.

3. Alternative degree paths

There has been much discussion regarding the necessity of a four-year degree in today's job market. College officials and employers are increasingly praising a community college education, industry certificate or workforce training. The White House announced two initiatives in April that focus on preparing students for jobs that are in demand. 

4. Common Core

The Common Core is the set of standards that defines what students should know in each grade. In 2014, many states mounted opposition to the standards and suggested a review and revision process. Support for the Common Core showed great decline.

According to the U.S. News:

With Republicans taking control of the House and Senate as well as several gubernatorial positions across the country, it's likely there could be an even greater effort to scale back the standards.

5. Standardized testing

Increasingly, parents and teachers have criticized the emphasis being placed on standardized tests as a form of evaluation. Many parents have chosen to opt their students out of testing, while some school districts have refused to even administer tests. Several states have introduced new teacher evaluation systems with emphasis on student growth measures in order to keep their waivers from No Child Left Behind Act.