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									Community College
Success: Numbers,
  Measures, and
    Delusions
Excerpts from a Longitudinal Study of the
 Los Angeles Community College District

              Linda Serra Hagedorn
               Professor and Chair
      Department of Educational Administration
                     and Policy
               University of Florida
              U.S. Department of Education
              Office of Educational Research and
              Improvement
              Washington, DC 20208
              Grant # (R305T00015)

              Lumina Foundation (1415)




Transfer and Retention of Urban
 Community College Students
           (TRUCCS)

                     http://www.truccs.org
         Transfer and Retention of Urban Community College Students

         What is TRUCCS?
• 5 year longitudinal study of 5,000
  community college students at the Los
  Angeles Community College District

     1. Qualitative (focus groups)

     2. Quantitative (questionnaires)
         • Four collection points
            • 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005

     3. Transcript analyses (transcripts)
Operationalizing
             Transcript Stories
• Transcript Stories are the simplest type
  of transcript analysis
• While a transcript story can only relate
  details of one student, it can be very
  powerful.
  – Choose “stories” that are representative.
       – Stories I
       – Stories II
       Participation Ratios
       (campus measures)
• Proportionality of “Success” and “Non-
  Success”
  – What proportion of students. . . .
     • Are taking transfer level courses?
     • Are taking mathematics?
     • Are transitioning from basic skills to
       “college-level.”
    Course Completion Ratio:
      Community College
     Measure of Retention
        (and success)


# courses completed (Grades A-through C)
--------------------------------------------------
            # courses attempted
    Developmental Climb
• Progressing from one level of
  developmental math and English to
  the next
• Progressing from developmental to
  transfer level
               Remediation Levels

• Level 0: There exist no pre-requisites to enter the course and the
  course is designed to teach the students the necessary skills to be
  successful in level 1 courses and beyond.
• Level 1: There may be a pre-requisite to join the course and the
  course is designed at a basic skills level aiding the student to
  master the basic skills needed to be successful in the advanced
  level courses
• Level 2: There exists a pre-requisite to enroll in the course and
  the course is beyond the basic understanding of the core
  concepts. Usually the course itself is indicated with the title of
  intermediate. However, the course does not provide transfer
  credit to either the University of California or California State
  University systems, so is not at the advanced transfer level.
• Level 3: The course provides transfer credits and is considered a
  college level course.
Time Removed
                                  Math Success I
                       Attempts      Passing at least one
                                     of the courses
                                     attempted at that
                                     level
                       District       District


Level 0 Math           1784           1362 (76.3%)
(Remedial)
Level 1 Math (Basic)   2195           1578 (71.9%)

Level 2 Math           1581           1147 (72.5%)
(Intermediate)

Level 3 Math           1365           1040 (76.2%)
(Transfer)
          Different
          lens                     Math Success II
                Average success ratio Successful Progress
                (SD) in each area     to next level
                attempted
                District               District


Level 0 Math    .66 (.42)              43.9%
(Remedial)
Level 1 Math    .59 (.43)              35.2%
(Basic)
Level 2 Math .64 (.44)                 37.1%
(Intermediate)
Level 3 Math    .64 (.42)
(Transfer)
Hispanic Students Math Developmental Climb


             Attempt   Passed         Attempted        Passed         Attempted    Passed         Attempted    Passed
             ed        Level 0        Level 1          Level 1        Level 2      Level 2        Level 3      Level 3
             Level 0

Group 0         607        490              396            313            230          185             134         105
                       (80.7%)          (65.2%)        (51.6%)        (37.9%)      (30.8%)         (22.1%)     (17.3%)
Group 1           --             --          349           281            220          173             137         112
                                                       (80.5%)        (63.0%)      (49.6%)         (39.3%)     (32.1%)
Group 2           --             --               --             -- 137                110              96          81
                                                                                   (80.3%)         (70.1%)     (59.1%)
Group 3           --             --               --             --           --             --           64        52
                                                                                                               (81.3%)
Totals          607        490               718           594             587         468              431        350
(Total
Pass Rate)
                       (80.7%)                         (82.7%)                     (79.7%)                     (81.2%)
The Role of
 Grades in
  Student
  Success
      Grades and Success
• Extant research assumes that “grades” is
  a continuous, linear, and ratio level
  variable.
  – The difference in academic success between
    grades (A versus B, B versus C, etc.) is neither
    ratio nor linear.
  – Grade of “C” may encompass a larger range of
    abilities
  – Grades of “D” do not transfer, some
    community college faculty may assign a
    “gentleman’s C”
  – Issues of grade inflation
Number and Percentage of Grades
  in Level 1 by Level 0 Grade
              A         B         C         D         F, W, or NP
              (Level 1) (Level 1) (Level 1) (Level 1) (Level 1)
A (Level 0)       279        229       167         44         250
n= 974          28.6%      23.5%     17.1%      4.5%        25.6%
B (Level 0)          84      178       260         88         499
N=1110            7.6%     16.0%     23.4%      7.9%        45.0%
C (Level 0)         47       115       272       139          674
N=1254           3.7%      9.2%     21.7%     11.1%        53.7%
D (Level 0)          9         17        42        32         143
N=244             3.7%      7.0%     17.2%     13.1%        58.6%
Total              419       539       741       303         1566
Number and Percentage of Grades
  in Level 2 by Level 1 Grade
               A         B         C         D         F, W, or NP
               (Level 2) (Level 2) (Level 2) (Level 2) (Level 2)
 A (Level 1)         110        82        48        14           62
      n=323       34.1%     25.4%     14.9%      4.3%        19.2%
 B (Level 1)          25        93      102         24         146
     N=414         6.0%     22.5%     24.6%      5.8%        35.3%
C (Level 1)          16        42       115        47          239
    N=509         3.1%      8.3%     22.6%      9.2%        47.0%
D (Level 1)           3         8         25        7            47
    N=101          3.0%      7.9%     24.8%      6.9%        46.5%
Total               154       225       290        92          494
Number and Percentage of Grades
  in Level 3 by Level 2 Grade
               A         B         C         D         F, W, or NP
               (Level 3) (Level 3) (Level 3) (Level 3) (Level 3)
 A (Level 2)          45        31        18        7            27
      n=128       35.2%     24.2%     14.1%      5.5%        21.1%
 B (Level 2)          24        48        48        17           78
     N=215        11.2%     22.3%     22.3%      7.9%        36.3%
C (Level 2)          24        45        92        24          120
    N=306         7.8%     14.7%     30.1%      7.8%        39.2%
D (Level 2)           7         12        17        9            36
     N=81          8.6%     14.8%     21.0%     11.1%        44.4%
Total               100       136       175        57          261
Average Number of Attempts and Number
     of Students in Transfer Level Courses
Grade in Last Lvl 0 % and # of Students who   % and # of Students who
   Class before 1st    attempted a Transfer      passed a Transfer Level
   Lvl 1               Level Course              Course
A (974)            34% (336)                  28% (277)


B (1110)           31% (342)                  22% (248)

C (1254)           25% (313)                  18% (224)

P (634)            45% (288)                  36% (227)

D (244)            27% (65)                   17% (42)
Measures of Time and
     Efficiency
• Efficiency as measured by the following
  – Number of drops: The number of times that
    students attempt a remedial level but drop
    it prior to successful completion
  – Time: semester count from first remedial
    enrollment to completion of college level
    work.
  – Backtracking: Backtracking occurs when a
    student enrolled in a less than college level
    course subsequently enrolls for a lower
    rather than higher level course.
                        Gatekeeping classes
                          Course           Pre-Census      Post-Census
                          CH DEV     1              0.31            0.48
Differential Progress


                          CHEM      51              0.35            0.69
                          CHEM      101             0.31            0.52
                          ENGLISH    21             0.41            0.58
                          ENGLISH    28             0.38            0.58
                          ENGLISH    101            0.37            0.58
                          HISTORY     1             0.28            0.48
                          MATH      100             0.16            0.57
                          MATH      112             0.20            0.31
                          MATH      115             0.24            0.39
                          MATH      125             0.18            0.30
                          MATH      235             0.30            0.82
                          POL SCI    1              0.37            0.63
                          PSYCH      1              0.33            0.53
Older and
Younger
Students
                    Number of Years in the Los Angeles Community College District


            1,200




            1,000




             800
Frequency




             600




             400




             200




               0
                       .00 2.00 4.00 6.00 8.00 10.00 12.00 14.00 16.00 18.00 20.00 22.00 24.00 26.00 28.00
                          1.00 3.00 5.00 7.00 9.00 11.00 13.00 15.00 17.00 19.00 21.00 23.00 25.00 27.00 29.00
                                                              Years
                          Age and Success
• Using the student’s reported date of
  birth, each course was coded with
  the exact student age at the time of
  enrollment.

                                     Step 3: Last Chancers
                                    45 years and above

                                      Step 2: Prime Timers
                                      31 to 45 years
Traditionally aged Students


                                    Step 1: Young Adults
                                    22 to 30 years
                              Success
Age Steps                              College GPA
                                       (Standard
                                         Deviation)
Traditional Age (17-22; N=3052)        2.253 (0.8897)

Step 1: Young Adults (22-30; N=        2.5264 (0.8981)
  2,200)
Step2: Prime Timers (31-45; N=         2.7834 (0.8488)
  1165)
Step 3: Last Chancers (46 and older;   2.8396 (0.7950)
  N= 273
                                     Course Completion by
                                     Cross-sectional group
                          0.80




                          0.70
Course Completion Ratio




                          0.60




                          0.50




                          0.40




                          0.30


                                 Traditional Age   Step 1: Young Adults   Step 2: Prime Timers   Step3: Last Chancers
                        Longitudinal Course completion
                             students attending across
                                       three age steps
                                  Course Completion


0.8



0.7



0.6



0.5



0.4                                                                 Course Completion



0.3



0.2



0.1



 0
      Traditional Age       Young Adult               Prime Timer
Outcome:
Transfer
5 years later
  Who Transferred as of 2005?

• Fall 2003
  – National Loan Clearinghouse
• Fall 2005
  – National “Right to Know” records.
• Students reported as enrolled in a four-
  year institution during either of these
  sweeps were coded as transfer.
  – The type of institution (i.e., state school,
    research university, for-profit, etc) also noted.
                                                                                         Number of People and
                                                             Number of People and
                                                                                       Percentage that Transferred
                                                             Percentage that Did Not
                       Demographic Variable                                                 to a BA Granting         Chi square Results
                                                             Transfer from LACCD
                                                                                                Institution
                                                             (N = 3290)
                                                                                                (N = 411)

                       Gender

                              Female                                  1952 (59.3%)           249 (60.6%)
                                                                                                                          p >.05
                              Male                                    1338 (40.7%)           162 (39.4%)

                       Age
Representation Check




                              Younger than 30                         2412 (73.3%)           359 (87.3%)
                                                                                                                          p < .01*
                              30 and Older                             878 (26.7%)            52 (12.7%)

                       Ethnicity

                              African American                         426 (12.9%)            73 (17.8%)

                              Asian                                    373 (11.3%)            61 (14.8%)

                              Caucasian                                369 (11.3%)            48 (11.7%)                  p < .01*

                              Hispanic                                1711 (52.0%)           166 (40.4%)

                              Other                                    411 (12.5%)            63 (15.3%)
                                   * notes statistical significance
                                            Non- transfer   Transfer Mean
                                            Mean (S.D)      (S.D.)

Cumulative GPA                              2.44 (7.99)     2.94(596)       *
Number of IGETC modules completed                                           *
                                            1.38 (1.29)     3.79 (1.19)

Number of semesters                         9.71 (5.44)     9.54(4.24)      ns
Number of CSU transfer level courses                                        *
                                            5.89 (5.54)     9.62 (5.39)
passed
Total courses passed                                                        *
                                            19.11 (12.3)    24.35 (9.66)

Success ratio in ALL courses attempted      .699 (.217)     .834 (.150)     *
Transfer Ratio                              .282 (.174)     .392 (.152)     *
Average number of courses per semester of                                   *
                                            2.80 (.847)     3.20 (.822)
enrollment
English placement score                     1.43 (.892)     1.66 (.913)     *
Mathematics placement score                 .741 (.854)     1.22 (.991)     *

SES: Highest occupational status score of                                   ns
                                            53.067(26.37) 54.827 (27.268)
parent
Continuity Index                            .812 (.244)     .831 (.208)     ns
       Proportion of Enrollments and
      Passes of Select “Gateway” and
           “Gatekeeper” courses
                       Did not Transfer   Transferred


Chemistry              11.3%              23.1%
Economics              15.3%              30.4%
Psychology             42.3%              59.12%
Calculus               1.38%              9.49%
Statistics             4.35%              17.5%
Biology                19.8%              48.7%
Physics                3.1%               12.9%

   Unit of Analysis=course type
                 Transfer Readiness        .811
                 Total Success Ratio       .514
                 Number of Transfer
                 Courses Passed a          .498

                 Transfer Ratio            .438
                 English Transfer Ratio    .380
Structure        Highest Math
                 Enrollment Intensity
                                           .366
                                           .323

Matrix           Math Transfer Ratio

                 Highest English a
                                           .247
                                           .226
                 Student Age               -.216
Results from a   Determination a           .168
Discriminant     Minority/Non-minority a   -.161
                 SES: highest
Analysis         occupational score
                                           .076
                 between mother and
                 father a
                 Continuity Index          .040
                 English as Native
                                           -.029
                 Language a
                 Time (Number of
                                           -.012
                 Semesters)
                 Gender a
             Interpretations
• Approximately 400 community college students
  have transferred to a four-year institution
• Many students expressed a desire to transfer, but
  most did not have academic records that would
  encourage or allow them to do so.
  – Desire to transfer may not be an appropriate way to
    categorize “transfer possible” students.
• Differences in academic preparation.
  – Transfers had higher English and Math placement scores
  – Community college Achievement
     • Students who transferred had completed more transfer
       course modules (IGETC) and passed 18% more courses
       successfully.
     • More likely to be more engaged as evidenced by the higher
       average number of courses per semester.
                      Differences
• Big differences in success in gateway and gatekeeper
  courses
   – Those who transferred were about twice as likely to have
     passed a Chemistry, Economics, or Biology course.
   – While few students took Calculus, Statistics or Physics; note
     that transfers were four times more likely to pass a Statistics
     or Physics class
       • Almost 7 times more likely to pass Calculus.
• Students transferred to a diverse set of institutions (n=65);
   – Students with the highest GPA’s attended selective research
     universities
   – Our discriminant analysis revealed that the most
     discriminating variable was transfer readiness as defined by
     IGETC modules
       • Earlier work at these same campuses revealed the vast majority
         of students desiring to transfer had very little to no knowledge of
         the IGETC sequences (Hagedorn & Garcia, 2004).
  When it comes to Transfer,
      Academics Count

• Students in the Los Angeles Community
  College District who desire to transfer
  should:
  – Be advised and assisted to take transfer level
    courses within the IGETC specified curriculum.
  – Progress through the remedial/developmental
    work as quickly and as efficiently as possible
  – Remain continuously enrolled through
    completion of the transfer ready sequence.
           Policy Implications
• Based on these findings as well as other studies
  by the TRUCCS Research Team, the policies of
  advising and assisting students may deserve
  another look.
  – In the absence of convenient advising, students will turn
    to their peers for advice or will just try to figure it all out
    themselves.
  – Rather than exist as a separate entity, it is suggested
    that advising be more enmeshed with the classroom
    experience.
     • Periodic visits to classrooms by advisors (especially those
       that meet in the evenings and weekends) would bring
       advice to the student.
     • Information regarding the IGETC curriculum should be
       widely and repetitively dispensed.
            Technology

• Websites are only valuable if
  students are aware of them and use
  them.
  – Flyers, posters, or other means of
    dissemination announcing the websites
    should be made available to students.
  – Assist (http://www.assist.org
  – IGETC http://igetc.org/)
              The Truth
– community college is an academic
  experience.
  • While endeavors to assist students to be
    more engaged in college life and to enjoy
    their experiences may be positive, they are
    hollow if not accompanied by intensive
    academic support and consistent advising
    services.
  • The root of the problems are academic and
    only academic solutions will make a
    difference in academic outcomes

								
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