The State of the Humanities 2018: Graduates in the Workforce & Beyond

The State of the Humanities 2018: Graduates in the Workforce & Beyond.  American Academy of Arts and Sciences. 2018

 Discussions about the value of a college degree in the humanities have become something of a cottage industry of late. Opinions range from enthusiastic support of the long-term benefits of humanities degrees to resigned acceptance or acid humor regarding the ostensibly grim career outcomes of graduates from the field. As the number of students graduating with degrees in the humanities started to drop in recent years, these conversations appeared to take on increased urgency.

This report reflects the ongoing mission of the Humanities Indicators, a nationally recognized source of nonpartisan information on the state of the humanities. The Indicators website ( features 103 topics and includes more than 500 graphs and data tables detailing the state of the humanities. The project draws on data sources that meet the highest standards of social scientific rigor, relying heavily on the products of the U.S. federal statistical system. In producing this report, the Indicators staff also received crucial support from Louis Tay and Christopher Wiese (Purdue University), who provided special data runs from the Gallup-Purdue Index survey of college alumni. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 32 pages].


Learning Champions: How 15 Countries, Cities, and Provinces Came Together to Rethink Learning Assessment

Learning Champions: How 15 Countries, Cities, and Provinces Came Together to Rethink Learning Assessment. Brookings Institution. Kate Anderson and Joshua Muskin. February 13, 2018

 Between 2012 and 2016, the Learning Metrics Task Force (LMTF) laid out an ambitious agenda for nations and the international community on how to define and measure learning in the context of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The first phase of the task force’s work—“LMTF 1.0”—focused on two main objectives in 2012 and 2013. One was to catalyze a shift in the global education conversation from increased education access, to access plus learning. The second was to build consensus on a set of global learning indicators and actions to improve measurement of learning worldwide.

The second phase—“LMTF 2.0”—took place between 2014 and 2016 and concentrated on applying the task force’s recommendations. This entailed influencing the SDG indicator process to include learning outcomes and developing practical strategies for countries and other jurisdictions to improve the measurement of learning across a broad range of skills.

This report describes the process undertaken by a group of 15 “Learning Champions”—countries, provinces, and cities—that came together to experiment with the LMTF 1.0 recommendations and develop strategies for improving their education systems. They did this by seeking to measure learning across the seven learning domains and seven measurement areas captured in the LMTF 1.0 recommendations. First, the authors describe these domains and measurement areas along with the structure of the Learning Champions initiative. Next, they present the experiences and activities of the 15 Learning Champions. Finally, they discuss the lessons learned from the initiative and present examples of the tools developed through it. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 60 pages].

Financing Graduate and Professional Education: How Students Pay

Financing Graduate and Professional Education: How Students Pay. Urban Institute. Sandy Baum, Patricia Steele. January 4, 2018

 This brief examines how students finance their graduate and professional education. It summarizes the sources of funds used to cover the tuition and fees universities charge, as well as living expenses. Institutions set a “cost of attendance” (COA) for students, estimating the average budget for one academic year (fall through spring). COA includes tuition and fees, books and supplies, room and board, transportation, and other living expenses, and it establishes the maximum amount students can borrow in federal student loans to attend a particular school. These official budgets serve as the foundation for the discussion that follows about how graduate and professional degree students pay for their education. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 16 pages, 806.37 KB].

Truth Decay: An Initial Exploration of the Diminishing Role of Facts and Analysis in American Public Life

Truth Decay: An Initial Exploration of the Diminishing Role of Facts and Analysis in American Public Life. RAND Corporation.   Jennifer Kavanagh, Michael D. Rich. January 16, 2018.

 Over the past two decades, national political and civil discourse in the United States has been characterized by “Truth Decay,” defined as a set of four interrelated trends: an increasing disagreement about facts and analytical interpretations of facts and data; a blurring of the line between opinion and fact; an increase in the relative volume, and resulting influence, of opinion and personal experience over fact; and lowered trust in formerly respected sources of factual information. These trends have many causes, but this report focuses on four: characteristics of human cognitive processing, such as cognitive bias; changes in the information system, including social media and the 24-hour news cycle; competing demands on the education system that diminish time spent on media literacy and critical thinking; and polarization, both political and demographic. The most damaging consequences of Truth Decay include the erosion of civil discourse, political paralysis, alienation and disengagement of individuals from political and civic institutions, and uncertainty over national policy.

This report explores the causes and consequences of Truth Decay and how they are interrelated, and examines past eras of U.S. history to identify evidence of Truth Decay’s four trends and observe similarities with and differences from the current period. It also outlines a research agenda, a strategy for investigating the causes of Truth Decay and determining what can be done to address its causes and consequences. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 324 pages, 2.6 MB].

Results from the Teach For America 2017 National Principal Survey: School Leader Perspectives on Induction, Support, and School Partnerships

Results from the Teach For America 2017 National Principal Survey: School Leader Perspectives on Induction, Support, and School Partnerships. RAND Corporation.   Amanda F. Edelman, Rachel Perera, Jonathan Schweig. January 17, 2018

 Teach For America (TFA) recruits, selects, and trains recent college graduates and professionals to teach for a two-year commitment in high-needs schools across the United States. This report describes the findings from TFA’s 2017 National Principal Survey, which is administered biennially to all partner principals currently employing TFA teachers (called corps members) in their schools. Nearly 1,100 principals across the United States who work with TFA corps members completed the 2017 National Principal Survey. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 117 pages, 655.29 KB].

Spending on Children Ages 8 and Younger

Spending on Children Ages 8 and Younger. Urban Institute. Heather Hahn et al. December 7, 2017

 Investments in young children can positively influence childhood well-being and long-term social and economic outcomes.

To provide a better understanding of public spending on young children, this report tackles questions about federal, state, and local investments. We provide information on how much the federal government spent on children ages 8 and younger in 2006 and 2016 and estimate projected spending in 2026. We also address where and how those funds are used. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 39 pages, 1.30 MB].