CNMI Alliance for College and Career Readiness

The work and efforts of this alliance involves a partnership between the CNMI Public School System (PSS), Northern Marianas College (NMC), and the Department of Labor. Members aim to use data, research results, and best practices to guide changes in policy and practice intended to ensure that more CNMI students are ready to succeed in college and careers. Another priority of the alliance is to support substantive collaboration between K-12 and post-secondary organizations. As a result of work in 2014, the alliance was able to deepen its pre-existing knowledge base around college and career readiness, including definitions and indicators. The projects for 2015 will guide the alliance from learning about college and career readiness to using research results to develop actual interventions and programs to ensure more students are ready to succeed, which may include early indicator systems, curricular alignment between K-12 and college, and changes to remedial education at both the PSS and NMC.

Research alliance projects currently underway in the CNMI include:

College and Career Readiness Indicators: How Do We Know our Students are College and Career Ready?
Description: For this technical assistance project, REL Pacific worked with the CNMI Alliance for College and Career Readiness to understand, examine, and apply college and career readiness indicators. The project focused on the following question: What indicators can be used in the CNMI to further understand the extent to which students are college and career ready? The project was divided into three in-person training sessions, spread throughout 2014.

Research Question:

  1. What indicators can be used in the CNMI to further understand the extent to which students are college and career ready?

College Readiness Among High School Completers in American Samoa and the CNMI
Description: Many students entering college in the Pacific region are required to enroll in developmental or remedial education programs, which can increase the time required to achieve a degree and are associated with less successful college outcomes. In American Samoa and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), education leaders have expressed concerns about college readiness of graduating high school students and the percentage of students testing into remedial courses. This study responds to requests from education leaders to examine the condition of college readiness in these entities and to identify opportunities to strengthen and improve students’ college and career readiness.

Research Questions:

  1. What are the availability and quality of student-level data for high school and community college students in the CNMI to construct college and career readiness indicators?
  2. Given the availability and quality of data as explored in Research Question #1, what is the performance of enrolled high school seniors on a number of indicators that may relate to college readiness from the most recent cohort in the CNMI, by demographic subgroups and by 12th-grade completion status?

Exploring the Academic Readiness of Incoming Students to Northern Marianas College
Description: Increasing students’ college and career readiness and success is a priority throughout the United States and across the Pacific region. Educators in the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands (CNMI) have expressed concern about high rates of student assignment to non-credit bearing remedial education courses at the local college, Northern Marianas College (NMC), which may indicate that many students are not ready to succeed in college. This study is intended to provide actionable information to help inform policies and practices related to high school advising, requirements for graduation from high school, interventions to increase attendance, interventions to increase the rigor or content of high school courses, analyses of grading practices, and the placement process at NMC.

Research Questions:

  1. What are the high school profiles of students entering Northern Marianas College who were assigned to either remedial English courses or credit-bearing English courses upon entry?
  2. What are the demographic characteristics of students entering Northern Marianas College who were assigned to either remedial math courses or credit-bearing math courses upon entry?
  3. How is remedial course placement in English or math related to students’ high school profiles and demographic characteristics?

Exploring Patterns of Success at Northern Marianas College
Description: Increasing students’ college and career readiness and success is a priority throughout the United States and across the Pacific Region. This study will examine the characteristics and college trajectories of students who are placed into remedial English or math classes as compared to students who are placed into credit-bearing courses in order to provide the alliance with a clearer understanding of the impact of assignment to remedial courses on student success. Actions to be informed by this study might include implementation of additional supports for students assigned to remedial courses (e.g., tutoring, curricular differentiation, or other programmatic supports).

Research Questions:

  1. How is initial-year course placement into remedial or non-remedial English and math courses associated with students’ ongoing college success for students who entered Northern Marianas College?
  2. How are student characteristics associated with students’ initial placement into either remedial or credit-bearing courses and with ongoing college success?

Research to Practice: Making College Readiness and Success Data Actionable to Improve Student Outcomes in the CNMI
This technical assistance project deepens and extends the work of the CNMI Alliance for College and Career Readiness as they move to use research results, data, and best practices to guide changes in policy and practice intended to ensure that more CNMI students are ready to succeed in college and careers. Over the course of three workshops, REL Pacific will assist alliance members in developing, implementing, and evaluating interventions or changes to policies and practice, such as the following:

  • Early Indicator Systems to help K-12 and college educators recognize if students are on track and identify steps/programs designed for students off track.
  • Utilize high school data in lieu of, or in concert with, NMC placement exam data for more accurate placement
  • Change course-taking or HS graduation requirements based on findings from the studies.
  • Change structure, pace, or supports of NMC remedial courses to ensure more successful outcomes.
  • Curricular alignment between K-12 and college to better ensure students’ opportunity to learn the content assessed on college placement exams and credit-bearing math and English courses at NMC.

Member organizations:

  • Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Department of Labor Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Public School System
  • Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Public School System, Records Management
  • Northern Marianas College

The alliance lead for the CNMI Alliance for College and Career Readiness is Dr. Daisy Carreon.

Watch a video on projects from the CNMI Alliance for College and Career Readiness: