Literature Reviews, Meta-Analyses, and Meta-Ethnographies

May 2024

Watson Scott Swail, Ed.D.

This paper looks at three important types of literature review: the traditional literature review, the meta-analysis, and the meta-ethnography. Especially among graduate students, but fre-quently among researchers, there is a misunderstanding about the differences and the uses of each method. The traditional literature review, often glazed over by novice researchers, pro-vides a basic foundation upon which further study can be developed and conducted. The me-ta-analysis is a qualitative technique to bring together the findings from several quantitative studies to provide an overarching understanding of the work. Meta-ethnographies provide a similar process for studies of a qualitative nature. The purpose of this paper is to provide a greater understanding of these three techniques and provide a comparative description for the purpose of clarity. Through this understanding, it is the hope that researchers, instructors, and graduate students will make better use of these techniques and practices offered through these methods.

The Student Success Papers

The Student Success Papers, Volume 1

March 2019

Watson Scott Swail, Ed.D.

The Student Success Papers is a collection of short essays by Dr. Watson Scott Swail on critical issues related to the retention and graduation of students in higher education. Dr. Swail is a noted expert in student retention and has worked with thousands of professionals and hundreds of institutions over the past two decades. His company, the Educational Policy Institute and consulting subsidiary, SwailLandis, offer Retention Certification Workshops throughout the year to get campus-based practitioners up to speed on the latest data and practices that encourage and push students through to graduation. This volume contains 28 writings from Dr. Swail originally published between 2010 and 2019. Download your book or order a paperback version at


From Thought to Action: Essays on Education Policy and Postsecondary Opportunity

January 2019

Watson Scott Swail, Ed.D.

"From Thought to Action" is the third compilation of Dr. Swail's "Swail Letters," which are published by the Educational Policy Institute ( This edition covers his writings on education from January 2015 to December 2018. Topics include educational opportunity and college access; equity for underrepresented groups, including race/ethnicity and socio-economic status; college affordability and financial aid; and others. Download your book or order a paperback version at and Apple Books.


Data Collection Efforts at Postsecondary Institutions

October 2018

Watson Scott Swail, Ed.D. and Maly Fung-Angarita, M.Ed.

This paper identifies and describes current and recent efforts at the institutional, state, regional, and national levels to collect individual student data for tracking progress in postsecondary education in order to provide comprehensive information on promising and usable efforts to collect data. This effort was conducted by the Educational Policy Institute in collaboration with the AAAS Center for Advancing Science & Engineering Capacity with support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.


Reading Enhancement for Advancing Development (READ) Bangladesh

September 2018

Christine Harris-Van Keuren, Ph.D., Brooks Bowden, Ph.D., and Watson Scott Swail, Ed.D.

This report provides a summary of the cost-effectiveness analysis conducted by the Educational Policy Institute (EPI) of the Reading Enhancement for Advancing Development (READ) in Bangladesh for the USAID. The study involved three primary objectives: to identify the relative effectiveness of READ’s intervention taking cost into account; to build up the capacity of READ staff on Cost-Effectiveness Analysis (CEA); and to set a standard and methodology for future work on CEAs.


Stop Making Sense: A collection of thoughts and other random musings on education

January 2, 2018

Watson Scott Swail, Ed.D.

In Stop Making Sense, Dr. Watson Scott Swail provides his take on a variety of policy and practical issues in education writ large, especially on issues involved educational equity, the cost of going to college, and the returns on a college educated for our nation and our graduates. Stop Making Sense provides essays taken from The Swail Letter on Education between 2011 and 2014. As a policy analyst and former teacher and President of the Educational Policy Institute, Swail provides a perspective that is at times raw but always interesting. Chapter titles include “The Financial Woes of Higher Education,” “Robert Reich and College Affordability,” and “The ROI on Higher Education.” Swail also takes on the NCAA in “The NCAA: Missing the Point of a Higher Education” and rails against the idea of free tuition in “College for Free? Not Really…” Book and eBook available at and Apple iBooks. Visit Dr. Swail's author page at


The State of Academic Customer Service on U.S. Campuses

February 2, 2017

Neal A. Raisman, Ph.D.

In 2016, Dr. Neal Raisman conducted a web-based survey of customer service professionals at U.S. colleges and universities. This Policy Perspective provides a summary and discussion on the findings of the survey, pointing out that academic customer service could be improved to increase the retention and persistence of students in higher education.


OECD Supporting Teacher Professionalism: Insights from TALIS 2013

February 12, 2016

Christine Harris-Van Keuren, Ph.D.

Supporting Teacher Professionalism was written, in part, by the Educational Policy Institute's Senior Research Scientist, Dr. Christine Harris-Van Keuren. The report is based on data from the 2013 Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) results and examines how countries around the world focus on pre-service and in-service professional development to prepare and support teachers as they face changing demographics amongst their students and rigorous expectations for student success in today’s economy. The report focuses on teachers’ knowledge, autonomy in decisionmaking, and engagement in peer networks as hallmarks of teacher professionalism. The findings highlight the value of teacher collaboration, mentoring, and pre-service education programs.


POLICY PERSPECTIVES: Itemized Charges & Student Aid: Enhancing the Capacity of States to Understand Affordability for All Students

February 24, 2016

Lee Holcombe, Ph.D.

This Policy Perspectives report by EPI Senior Research Associate Lee Holcombe discusses the challenge of supporting public policy via available data and statistics. While states have been establishing ambitious higher education participation and success targets against the backdrop of increasing costs to students, their parents, and state budgets, national databases lack the necessary breadth, depth, and timeliness in order to support states in their efforts to meet their higher education goals. This report discusses the challenges for states and what to look for in order to effectively create the data necessary to support public policy.


Educated Thoughts: Perspectives from one of America's Leading Educators

June 2015

Watson Scott Swail, Ed.D.

Educated Thoughts is a collection of short essays from Dr. Watson Scott Swail written for his The Swail Letter on Education for the Educational Policy Institute. The discussion of current issues in education include college preparation, affordability, and other political issues that impact the quality and equity fo education in the US and beyond.

Book and eBook available at and iBooks. Visit Dr. Swail's author page at


Implementing EFA Strategy No. 9: The Evolution of the Status of the Teaching Profession (2000-2015) and the Impact on the Quality of Education in Developing Countries: Three Case Studies

April 14, 2015

Christine Harris-Van Keuren, Ph.D.

The UNESCO Global Monitoring Report is the result of research prepared by researchers and institutes around the world. The Educational Policy Institute was selected to contribute to the GMR 2015. For more information about the global release of the GMR 2015 and events in your area, please refer to the GMR 2015 website (


POLICY PERSPECTIVES: Facing Global Challenges: A European University Perspective

August 2014

Watson Scott Swail, Ed.D.

This Policy Perspectives features the keynote address of EPI's Dr. Watson Scott Swail at the 2009 European University Association Convention in Prague, Czech Republic, which focused on the university as an “inclusive and responsive institution.”


POLICY PERSPECTIVES: Finding Superman & Global Competitiveness

August 2014

Watson Scott Swail, Ed.D. & Arthur Levine, Ph.D.

On March 21 2013, the Educational Policy Institute held the first day of the EPI Forum on Education & the Economy in Orlando, Florida. The session transcribed here featured two of the authors of the Teachers College Press publication, Finding Superman: Debating the Future of Public Schools in America (2012). Dr. Watson Scott Swail, President & CEO of the Educational Policy Institute, served as editor of the book and wrote the introductory chapter, Finding Superman. Dr. Arthur Levine, President of the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, wrote a chapter titled “The Potential Impact of Waiting for “Superman” on Schooling in America.”
The Forum provided an opportunity to talk about their respective chapters and engage in an interesting conversation about education and international competition. Dr. Swail served as moderator of the session. The video of this session can be found on the Educational Policy Institute’s YouTube channel.


A Different Viewpoint on Student Retention

June 2014

Watson Scott Swail, Ed.D.

The June 2014 journal of Higher Learning Research Communications Journal includes a special invited article written by Educational Policy Institute president Dr. Watson Scott Swail. The article, A Different Viewpoint on Student Retention, discusses the barriers in today’s environment from student persistence and graduation and the focus areas for institutions in combating these issues. However, from a policy point of view, our society must decide who will pay for continued broad access to higher education and how we achieve our collective goals. The Higher Learning Research Communications Journal is an international, open access online journal to advance universal knowledge on teaching and learning in higher education.


POLICY PERSPECTIVES: The Cost of College Attrition at Four-Year Colleges & Universities

February 2013

Neal Raisman, Ph.D.

The report, authored by Dr. Neal Raisman, an expert on student retention and persistence in higher education, is a first-time study of the relationship of attrition to revenues lost in four-year public, private, and for-profit colleges and universities on an annual basis. The report is the result of a study investigating the financial impact of attrition on four-year colleges and universities. The study is based on data collected from colleges and universities directly, through IPEDS, the Educational Trust, college and university websites and reporting, as well as the College Board “Annual Survey of Colleges 2010.” The report calculated the average six-year graduation and attrition rates of 1669 private, public and for-profit four-year colleges and universities then applied predicative formulas to determine the amount of revenue lost by the schools due to attrition for the 2010-2011 academic years. And as this study shows, the loss of revenue from attrition for schools is significant and hurtful to the financial well-being of colleges and universities. The financial and personal losses to the students are equally significant.


Finding Superman: Debating the Future of Public Education in America

June 2012

Watson Scott Swail, Ed.D. (Editor)

In Finding Superman, some of the most prominent educational thinkers of our time examine the pressing issues of educational equity and excellence brought to light in Davis Guggenheim's popular documentary, Waiting for Superman. The film's portrayal of urban public schools as uniform failures and charter schools as the only viable alternative for our nation's youth demands a closer look. Across the chapters of this important book, the contributors reveal the film's untold stories. These include the many public schools that are doing an excellent job of educating students, as well as the many charter schools that are doing no better than most public schools, despite their monetary advantages.

With chapters from educational luminaries that include Milton Chen, Linda Darling-Hammond, Dan Domenech, Ben Levin, Arthur Levine, Ann Lieberman, John Merrow, Diane Ravitch, Peter Smith, and Watson Scott Swail, Finding Superman demands a new perspective from readers on a topic of urgent importance to all of us. Achieving excellent schools for all children is not an easy task. As these authors remind us, it requires a more balanced dialogue and a fuller range of evidence to realize truly lasting change.


A Blueprint for Success

April 2012

Watson Scott Swail, Kate Quinn, Kimberly Landis, and Maly Fung

"Blueprint" is a companion document to the TG-funded "2012 Directory of Pre-College Outreach Programs," published in March 2012 by EPI. This document is a collection of 10 case studies of successful pre-college outreach programs around the US, providing an inside and detailed view at how they operate and what makes them successful.


2012 Directory of Pre-College Outreach Programs

March 2012

Watson Scott Swail, Kate Quinn, Kimberly Landis, and Maly Fung

This directory includes information on 374 programs from around the United States that serve low-income, students of color, and other students who are historically underrepresented in postsecondary education. Includes highlights from the study and an essay by Dr. Watson Scott Swail.


In Search of a Better Mousetrap: A Look at Higher Education Ranking Systems

Spring 2011

Watson Scott Swail, Ed.D.

This article, appearing in AACRAO's College & University journal, focuses on the limitations of college ranking systems and suggests new directions to more accurately measure the quality of colleges and universities.


Student Success

Winter 2011

This edition of Student Success features an interview with Neal E. Boyd, America's Got Talent 2008 winner and keynote speaker at Retention 2011 in San Diego, CA in June 2011, an EPI student success story, and the presentation of EPI-DAS, EPI's New Data Analysis System.


Graduating At-Risk Students: A Cross-Sector Analysis

February 2010

Watson Scott Swail, Ed.D.

This report, conducted for the Imagine America Foundation, uses data from the US Department of Education’s Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study (BPS) Survey and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) to compare and contrast completion and persistence rates of students attending proprietary (career colleges) institutions versus other institutional sectors. Copies of the publication are available for purchase from IAF at


Leveling the Playing Field for All Schools, Including Career Colleges, from Career Education Review

August 2009

Watson Scott Swail, Nancy Broff, and Jenny Faubert

This article from the Career Education Review (August 2009) previews a future Imagine America Foundation report which outlines the outcomes of career college students versus students at other institution sectors and types. In summary, the research—done by the Educational Policy Institute shows that career colleges do a good job of helping students persist and attain a degree, especially viewed in light of the risks or challenges presented by their students.

EBE_#436_Eval PD_AL_200

Making Decisions about Teacher Professional Development: Practices in 8 Alabama School Districts

October 2009

Patricia Moore Shaffer & Watson Scott Swail

This report was researched and written by the Educational Policy Institute for Southeast Regional Education Lab (SERVE). The SERVE Center contracted the Educational Policy Institute to describe the evidential bases for administrators’ decisions about professional development as reported by a small sample of small and medium-sized school districts in the State of Alabama. The work was collaboratively designed by SERVE, EPI, and the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE) to improve understanding of current decision-making practices.



October 2009

Watson Scott Swail, Sarah Jaeschke, and Chris Rasmussen

This report by the Educational Policy Institute and the Midwestern Higher Education Compact (MHEC) provides an analysis of the 2008 Measuring Up report with specific emphasis on the midwestern member states of the MHEC. Funding for this report was provided by the National Center for Public Policy in Higher Education.


Engaging Faculty and Staff: An Imperative for Fostering Retention, Advising, and Smart Borrowing

February 2008

Watson Scott Swail with Rebecca Mullen, Hyniea Gardner, and Jeremy Reed

This joint publication of TG and EPI provides an overview of the student departure/retention process, focusing on evidenced-based practices in engaging faculty and staff, strategies for student advising, and information on early warning systems. The purpose of the publication is to provide a hands-on resource for college and university stakeholders in the field.


The No Child Left Behind Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Act: A Progress Report

January 2008

Watson Scott Swail (EPI) & Betsy Brand (AYPF)

This report by the National Council on Disability (NCD) documents trends in academic achievement of students with disabilities and also the successes and barriers achieved by states,school districts, and other stakeholders as a result of the implementation of No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) and the Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The report was researched and written by the Educational Policy Institute and the American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF). To read the press release, click here. Print copies may be obtained from NCD by faxing requests to Stacey Brown at 202-272-2022 or by e-mail([email protected]).


A Clear and Present Danger to Institutional and Student Success: A Training Model for Embedding Student Loan Default Aversion within Strategic Enrollment Management

January 2008

Watson Scott Swail, Ed.D.

TG and the Council for the Management of Educational Finance have issued a second edition of A Clear and Present Danger to Institutional and Student Success: A training model for embedding student loan default aversion within strategic enrollment management.” The training model is offered as a guide to help schools support academic and financial success among students through early and sustained intervention and education; to encourage entire campus participation and support in promoting wise borrowing decisions by students; and to help institutions develop systemic default aversion efforts within strategic enrollment management. To read the press release, click here.



December 2007

Watson Scott Swail, Ronald C. Willis, & Rebecca M. Mullen

This report provides an analysis of the 16 presidential candidates with a focus on educational issues.


Missouri Students and the Pathways to College

November 2007

Watson Scott Swail & Sarah Hosford

This report presents analysis of a series of over 30 focus groups conducted in Missouri as part of a large-scale initiative by an anonymous Missouri organization. The focus groups included 7th, 9th, and 11th-grade students and concerns their attitudes toward college and the future.


A Practical Guide to Strategic Enrollment Management Planning in Higher Education

November 2007

R.B. Wilkinson, James Taylor, Ange Peterson, and Maria de Lourdes Machado-Taylor

This guidebook provides a multi-step process for enrollment managers to follow in order to facilitate strategic enrollment management planning in all types of postsecondary educational institutions. It draws heavily from the practical experiences of the authors, the literature base on strategic planning as well as actual institutional strategic planning experiences


An Annotated Bibliography of Latino Educational Research

October 2007

Paul Baumann, Alberto Cabrera, and Watson Scott Swail

This publication lists 59 recent research studies on a variety of Latino educational issues. The bibliography was compiled in partnership with the College of Education, Univeristy of Maryland, College Park.


POLICY PERSPECTIVES: After Michigan, What? Next Steps for Affirmative Action

February 2007

John Brooks Slaughter

This edition of Policy Perspectives features commentary from Dr. John Brooks Slaughter, the president of the National Action Council on Minorities in Engineering (NACME), and former Director of the National Science Foundation. Dr. Slaughter looks takes a historical look at affirmative action and posits what may be to come.P


California Trends in Student Aid: 1994-95 to 2003-04

March 2006

Watson Scott Swail, Ed.D

The California Student Aid Commission and EdFund released the report California Trends in Student Aid: 1994-95 to 2003-04. The report, written by the Educational Policy Institute, documents all available student financial aid and the relative cost of attending postsecondary education to students in the Golden State.


Focus on Results: An Academic Impact Analysis of the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP)

August 2005

Adriane Williams & Watson Scott Swail

This report was conducted for the KIPP Foundation to provide an independent audit of their school-level data. Preliminary findings suggest that KIPP charter schools are doing significantly better than average in academic achievement in reading, language, and mathematics on norm-referenced tests. To read the press release, click here.


Reframing the Student Loan Costing Debate

July 2005

Fred Galloway & Hoke Wilson

This report suggests that the competition between the two US federal student loan programs, the Federal Family Educational Loan (FFEL) Program and the Direct Student Loan (DSL) Program, saves federal taxpayer millions of dollars each year.
Written by University of San Diego professor Fred Galloway and Macro International researcher Hoke Wilson, the report provides a history of the federal loan system and an analysis of the financial impact of the FFEL and DSL programs.


Education and Human Resources in the FY2006 Budget

June 2005

Watson Scott Swail, Daryl Chubin, Shirley Malcom, and Kathryn Grogan

EPI was contracted by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) to write a chapter on the 2006 federal budget and its implications for science and education. This chapter provides an overview of the President's budget.


The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 and the Pathways to College Network Framework: Mutually Supportive Visions and Complementary Goals

June 2005

Watson Scott Swail & Adriane Williams

This brief, prepared for the Pacific Resources for Education and Learning (PREL) and the Pathways to College Network, describe how NCLB and the Pathways Framework can be partnered when developing and evaluating comprehensive programs for schools interested in preparing children not just for the next grade, but for the next steps in their educational careers. The paper lays out the conditions under which the Pathways Framework can be most effective and how those conditions relate to NCLB.


POLICY PERSPECTIVES: No Merit in these Scholarships 

June 2005

Fay Vincent

This first edition of EPI's Policy Perspectives was written by Mr. Fay Vincent, a former Major League Baseball Commissioner and University Trustee. Mr. Vincent, a Yale law graduate and a former trustee at Williams College, Carleton College, and Fairfield University, takes a look at the escalating issue of increased merit-based aid in lieu of aid to deserving students from low-income families. "To my mind, merit-based aid betrays the original goal of helping worthy but disadvantaged students," says Vincent."It spends donors' money in a way they may not intend, and it invests college resources in short-term promotional advantage instead of lasting improvements of substance."


Is More Better? The Impact of Postsecondary Education on the Economic and Social Well-Being of American Society 

May 2005

Adriane Williams & Watson Scott Swail

This report, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, looks at the economic and non-economic impacts of higher education on individuals and society as a whole. According to the report, college graduates receive higher wages, are more likely to be employed, and when unemployed, likely to find new jobs faster. As well, graduates receive social returns to education, including increased life expectancy and better general health, improved quality of life for self and offspring and increased social status. The report concludes that higher education can best serve the nation by targeting low-income and other historically-underrepresented groups.ates


Latino Students & the Educational Pipeline

PART I: From Middle School to the Workforce: Latino Students in the Educational Pipeline

April 2005

Watson Scott Swail, Alberto F. Cabrera, Chul Lee, and Adriane Williams

This first report in a three-report series for Lumina Foundation focuses on the NELS 8th-grade cohort and their progression through high school, postsecondary education, to the workforce. This section provides the most comprehensive look at what happens to students from the 8th grade in 1988 by the year 2000.


Latino Students & the Educational Pipeline

PART II: Latino High School & Baccalaureate Graduates: A Comparison 

April 2005

Watson Scott Swail, Alberto F. Cabrera, Chul Lee, and Adriane Williams

This second of a three-report series for Lumina Foundation focuses on NELS 8th-grade cohort who completed a Bachelor’s degree as compared to those students whose highest education achieved was a high school diploma. At points we talk about Certificate and Associate’s degrees, but the focus here is about the BA. Complete data tables for Part II begin on Page II-20.


Latino Students & the Educational Pipeline

PART III: Pathways to the Bachelor’s Degree for Latino Students 

April 2005

Watson Scott Swail, Alberto F. Cabrera, Chul Lee, and Adriane Williams

This third of a three-report series for Lumina Foundation focuses on the NELS 8th-grade cohort who attained a bachelor’s degree and what it took to get there. We used multiple regression analysis to determine the factors that seemed to matter on the pathway to the BA. The appendix of this report provides methodological details to this analysis.


The Role of Counseling in Increasing Academic Opportunity in Missouri 

March 2005

Watson Scott Swail, Ed.D.

This report, written for the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority (MOHELA), presents findings from a review of counseling literature and interviews conducted by EPI of high school counselors in Missouri.


The Affordability of University Education 

December 2004

Watson Scott Swail, Ed.D.

The Affordability of University Education looks at the relative affordability of public university education in the United States and Canada. Prepared under contract to the Montreal-based Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation, the report compares all 50 US states and 10 Canadian provinces on postsecondary access, student financial aid, tuition and fee charges, and overall net cost of attendance for the years 1999-01.


Value Added: The Costs and Benefits of College Preparatory Programs

November 2004

Watson Scott Swail, Ed.D.

This report considers issues related to the complex proposition that the cost of early intervention program delivery is directly and positively tied to the ability of programs to successfully enable students to get into college. As part of this discussion, the author touches on how these programs are funded and introduces cost analysis as a method of evaluating the impact of these programs. To increase the clarity of the discussion, real examples of cost analysis from the literature are provided. (315KB).


Changes in Tuition Policy: Natural Policy Experiments in Five Countries

August 2004

Watson Scott Swail & Donald E. Heller

This international study reviews tuition and fee policy changes and strategies in 5 countries and 9 jurisdictions. Funded by the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation and conducted by the Educational Policy Institute, the purpose of this review is to gain an insight into the impact of various tuition policies around the world in terms of enrolment, participation, and tuition pricing. Analysis of these data will help formulate a research-based opinion as to the impact of the stated policies. (629KB) or on the icon below. To view the press release, click here.


Latino Youth and the Pathway to College

June 2004

Watson Scott Swail, Alberto Cabrera, and Chul Lee

Prepared under contract to the Pew Hispanic Institute, Latino Youth and the Pathway to College uses data from the U.S. Department of Education's National Educational Longitudinal Study (NELS), which first surveyed eighth-grade students in 1988 with followup surveys in 1990, 1992, 1994, and a final followup survey in 2000, eight years after scheduled high school graduation.

The study found that, for every 1,000 eighth grade students who are of Hispanic origin, 142 earn a bachelor's degree within 8 years of scheduled high school graduation. By comparison, 318 White students-more than double the number of Latino students-achieve the same outcome.


Improving Educational Outcomes for Students with Disabilities 

May 2004

Watson Scott Swail & Betsy Brand

The National Council on Disability (NCD), a non-partisan independent federal agency that makes recommendations to the President and Congress on issues affecting Americans with disabilities, released a report in May 2004 that looks at the impact of Congress' No Child Left Behind Act on the postsecondary opportunities for students with disabilities. The report, written by the American Youth Policy Forum and the Educational Policy Institute, was commissioned by NCD to assist policy leaders and stakeholders in identifying, disseminating, and aligning evidence-based outcome producing practices with the Federal Government's commitment to leaving no child behind in the attainment of a free appropriate public education. 


The Art of Student Retention


Watson Scott Swail

This monograph is a summary from Retaining Minorities in Higher Education, Swail's 2003 Jossey-Bass publication written with Laura Perna and Kenneth Redd. It provides an overview of the Swail Geometric Framework for Student Retention as well as a review of literature. 


Retaining Minority Students in Higher Education

November 2003

Watson Scott Swail with Kenneth Redd and Laura Perna

This publication focuses on the reasons why students of color do not persist at the postsecondary level at rates similar to white and Asian students, and provides useful tools for administrators and other educational leaders to improve retention on college campuses. Part I provides background on the political and practical issues facing campuses, Part II looks at why students leave college, Part III provides a theoretical model of student retention and a framework to guide institutional leaders during the development of a retention plan at their institution, and Part IV looks at implementation and leadership issues. Appendices includes an annotated reference of retention programs across the U.S., plus an extended annotated bibliography of useful readings


Trends in Student Aid and College Pricing FLORIDA, 1997-98 to 2001-02 

September 2003

Watson Scott Swail, Ed.D.

This research report was conducted by EPI for the Florida Council on Education Policy, Research, and Improvement (CEPRI) and includes data and analysis based on a state-wide survey of postsecondary institutions.


Student Assistance the American Way

February 2003

Lawrence E. Gladieux

Written for an audience of non-American educators, the former director of the College Board's Washington Office provides an insightful analysis into the workings of U.S student aid policy that is of interest to education policy watchers both in and out of the U.S.


Higher Education and the New Demographics: Questions for Policy 

July - August 2002

Watson Scott Swail, Ed.D.

For much of the last half of the 20th century, federal and state policies have focused on opening the doors of higher education to the under-served populations of America. The result has been a qualified success: more students from all backgrounds are attending college than ever before, but large gaps still exist in who goes where and who completes degree programs. From CHANGE magazine.


The California Dream and Its Future: Indicators of Educational and Economic Opportunity in the Golden State 


Lawrence E. Gladieux and Watson Scott Swail

The California Dream and Its Future is an indepth analysis of economic and educational indicators in the nation's largest state. The report concludes that low-income students are bearing a larger burden in paying for college than middle- and higher-income families, even though they receive considerable financial aid. Mirroring the finding on low-income students, the report found that affluent students are better prepared for college and are more likely to receive a degree than those from other socio-economic groups. Sponsored by EdFund, this report was released in September 2001.


Outreach Handbook Essays


Watson Scott Swail, Lawrence E. Gladieux, and John B. Lee

This pdf file contains two essays written for the College Board's Outreach Program Handbook 2001. The first essay, Educational Opportunity and the Role of Pre-College Outreach Programs, provides a discussion of the importance of early intervention programs on motivating and preparing historically underrepresented students for higher education. A View of the Landscape provides analysis of data collected through the National Survey of Outreach Programs, a large-scale project developed and directed by Dr. Swail. 


Distance Education & Accreditation-Riding a Tide Of Opportunity School-to-Work and the SAT


Watson Scott Swail and Eva Kampits

This chapter from the New Directions in Higher Education Sourcebook (2001) Making the Connection Between Accreditation and Learning Outcomes provides insight into the changing world of higher education and the issues of quality control in the U.S. and beyond. This chapter focuses on a likely evolutionary path that identifies the accreditation resources and processes necessary to respond to change in educational-delivery systems with an appropriate system of quality assurance. The chapter concludes with a list of questions rather than answers to help guide future investigation and action in accreditation.


Ensuring Student Loan Repayment 


Watson Scott Swail and others

On October 2-4, 2000, the Office of Student Financial Aid at the US Department of Education sponsored a meeting of officials from FFEL guarantors, lenders, and servicers to Washington, DC to discuss what could be done to further reduce the loan default rates of institutions and students. EPI's Watson Scott Swail, then a senior researcher at SRI International, moderated several of the sessions and also served as one of the primary writers of this monograph, released in 2001 by the Department (57 pages, 849KB)

School-to-Work and the SAT


Watson Scott Swail, Ed.D.

The College Board was invited to join the New England Association of Schools and Colleges and its project with the National Center for Student Aspirations (University of Maine), by the National School-To-Work Office (U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Department of Education) to look at the academic outcomes of students who fit the school-to-work mold and see how they compare with other, more traditional students in high school and postsecondary education. This study consists of three distinct components: a national survey of high school students; a national survey of two- and four-year students; and an analysis of College Board data derived from SAT registration information and test scores. This report provides a summary of the third component of this study.

(14 pages, 85KB)

2000_ERIC Review_200

The Role of Early Intervention in Education Reform and Sponsors of Early Intervention Programs


Watson Scott Swail, David M. Roth, Laura W. Perna, and Robert H. Fenske

The Fall 2000 issue of the ERIC Review contained two articles co-authored by Watson Scott Swail. The first, with David Roth of Occidental College, discussed the challenges facing educators and policymakers to ensure that appropriate safety nets are in place to catch at-risk students at the secondary level. The second piece, with Perna and Fenske, describes the types of organizations and initiatives that support early intervention programs and contains a profile that illustrates this support.

2000_PREL Certification_200

Certification and Teacher Preparation in the United States 


Watson Scott Swail and David Roth

This paper was written for the Pacific Resources for Education and Learning (PREL) to help provide a wider lens through which one might view the significant teacher-shortage dilemmas that affect schools and communities in the Pacific. The paper into three sections. Part I provides a perspective of the challenges facing teacher education, recruitment, and quality in the United States. Part II focuses on issues of certification and licensure, with a specific look at the alternative and emergency certification issues across the nation. Finally, Part III provides recommendations with respect to the conditions and critical teacher-quality issues of the Pacific Island entities.


Institutional Retention Strategies at Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Their Effects on Cohort Default Rates: 1987 - 1995 


Fred J. Galloway and Watson Scott Swail

This study focuses on an analysis of the factors that significantly affect the cohort default rates at HBCUs, and on the potential for reducing these rates. It is hoped that findings from the analysis will help pave the way for further analysis, and ultimately develop a better understanding of which institutional practices have greater success in reducing the higher default rates for these colleges and universities. Published by the Sallie Mae Education Institute.


The Virtual University & Issues of Equity and Access for the Next Generation Educational Opportunity 


Lawrence E. Gladieux and Watson Scott Swail

This report grew out of a paper prepared for the Conference on Lifelong Learning sponsored by the Programme on Institutional Management in Higher Education (IMHE) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Paris, France in September 1998. The report poses the question of whether the potential of the latest information technologies for expanding opportunities for postsecondary education is and can be fulfilled, and concludes that the result of the new technologies may be to deepen the divide between educational haves and have-nots, and that the market-place alone will not fix the problem. A special data update collected one year after this report was published is added on the end of the report.


Financial Aid is Not Enough 


Lawrence E. Gladieux and Watson Scott Swail

Published in the College Board Review in Summer 1998, this publication provides data and analysis asserting that financial aid is an important factor in college access and persistence. However, other factors, including academic preparation, are pivotal to ultimate success at the postsecondary level. This article provides data on who goes to college, who goes where, and who completes, and asks the question "Why haven't we done better?" The authors conclude with a discussion of public policy and the responsibilities of higher education in rectifying the inequities in access.

Teaching for Understanding: Policy to Practice


Watson Scott Swail, Ed.D.

This monograph identifies key policy areas that support the concept of teaching for understanding. Part 1, "Teaching for Understanding," explores the mission and practices associated with teaching for understanding, presenting this practice from the viewpoint of the student, teacher, and school system. Part 2, "Policy Areas," identifies four areas of policy that are critical to the reform of the education system (teacher evaluation; staff development; school organization and culture; and teacher preparation, certification, and licensure). Part 3, "Policy Application," builds upon the information discussed in part 2 to develop a framework from which educators can identify the policy parameters within the scope of teaching for understanding. The monograph concludes that it is essential for educational researchers to understand the importance of policy factors in the reform process.