Videos from ETS-CDF Symposium on Advancing Success

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Princeton, NJ (July 28, 2014) —

Recently 400 of the of the nation's preeminent educators, experts, policymakers and fundraisers working on advancing Black male success in higher education gathered for a day-long symposium co-convened by ETS and the Children's Defense Fund, to highlight the issues and discuss solutions. Videos of panel discussions and presentations from that event are now available online.

The symposium, "Advancing Success for Black Men in College," was the fourth and final in the series, "Promoting Promising Practices for Black Male Success," which began by looking at the education attainment of Black boys from birth to nine, then middle school, high school and most recently college.

"The leaders from government, academia, civil rights organizations and corporations who gathered for this symposium would not have done so if they didn't believe it was possible to chart a path forward for Black men in college," says Walt MacDonald, President and CEO of ETS, who opened the event. "It was an inspiring and informative day filled with shining examples of students who have succeeded in the face of adversity as well as profiles of frontline programs that offer great hope, but also show it can be done. We're pleased to share the wonderful presentations from the event."

"In five years, the majority of our children will be non-White. We need them if we are going to have a strong military, a strong workforce and are going to be able to compete and maintain our role in the world," said Marian Wright Edelman, President of the Children's Defense Fund. "Failing to invest in equal success for all children represents America's greatest economic and military security threat. By talking about an action plan for how we're going to save our Black boys, we are talking about an action plan for how we are going to save our country."

A highlight of the day was a panel presentation called "College Student Stories," that featured four young men who defied the odds and became college success stories. The four, Sixto Cancel, Shawon Jackson, Javon Mullings and Marvin Perry, talked about finding the inspiration to strive for a college education, people and programs that helped them succeed, the financial challenges of going to college, choosing positive, supportive friends, navigating dating relationships in college and more.

Moderator Jeff Johnson of Illume Communications asked the group how they came to realize the importance of a college education. Cancel, who grew up in the foster care system and is now at Virginia Commonwealth University, said, "I saw the difference between people who made it out of the foster care system and those still in the neighborhood. I saw the difference was education. That access gave them a better quality of life. It enabled them to be self-reliant. Education did that for them. That's the moment I realized that's where I needed to be."

Other panel discussions offered insights about policy changes that can increase access and raise the odds for college success, how to make college more affordable, and strategies to support college students so they make it through to graduation.

"When you look at most indicators of achievement, this is the group that comes in at the bottom most often," said Michael Nettles, Senior Vice President, ETS Policy Evaluation Research Center. "We need to make progress, and your participation is important to that end," he said, underscoring the symposium's purpose of sharing ideas and strategies that work.

About ETS

At ETS, we advance quality and equity in education for people worldwide by creating assessments based on rigorous research. ETS serves individuals, educational institutions and government agencies by providing customized solutions for teacher certification, English language learning, and elementary, secondary and postsecondary education, and by conducting education research, analysis and policy studies. Founded as a nonprofit in 1947, ETS develops, administers and scores more than 50 million tests annually — including the TOEFL® and TOEIC® tests, the GRE ® tests and The Praxis Series® assessments — in more than 180 countries, at over 9,000 locations worldwide. www.ets.org