Friday Roundup: America’s cities, lifelong learning, and college assessments

There are always a few items we’ve read during a week that deserve more attention but don’t make it into our regular posts. So we bundle them for the Friday roundup.

Here’s this week’s bundle:

New Geography: Rethinking America’s Cities’ Success Strategy

One of the most important preliminary steps to designing and implementing policies that promote entrepreneurial growth is understanding the economic and competitive context within which such policies are made. The STEEP (Social, Technological, Economic, Environmental, and Political) forces model is one method of inventorying and categorizing a business’s or community’s external context.

Pew Research: Lifelong Learning and Technology

A large majority of Americans seek extra knowledge for personal and work-related reasons. Digital technology plays a notable role in these knowledge pursuits, but place-based learning remains vital to many and differences in education and income are a hallmark of people’s learning activities.

 New America: Standardized Assessments of College Learning – Past and Future

In the world of public K-12 education, the United States has seen a rapid increase in the amount of standardized testing taking place…In the American university, however, standardized assessment remains a nascent endeavor…

With the college wage premium still large, the route to financial stability and a successful life for many Americans will entail receiving a quality college education. Given the costs of tuition and the potential hardship that student borrowers face, the moral need to ensure that our colleges are teaching effectively remains clear. While serious challenges to effective college assessment exist, these challenges can be met if approached with flexibility and commitment.

(See also comment from The American Interest.)

 Seattle Times: US economy likely struggled last quarter; mild rebound seen

After struggling in the final three months of 2015, the U.S. economy is thought to be rebounding in the current quarter, though not as strongly as most analysts had once expected…

For the current January-March quarter, many economists foresee growth as measured by the gross domestic product — the total U.S. output of goods and services — accelerating to a 2 percent rate. But some analysts have been downgrading their estimates of late, reflecting some weaker-than-expected economic data.