Tag Archives: High Drop-Out Rates

New report takes community colleges to task

26 Apr

In Helping community college students to graduate moi said:

Going to a community college is one way to reduce the cost of college.

The Lumina Foundation provides the following statistics:

  • Forty-six percent are 25 or older, and 32 percent are at least 30 years old. The average age is 29.

  • Fifty-eight percent are women.

  • Twenty-nine percent have annual household incomes less than $20,000.

  • Eighty-five percent balance studies with full-time or part-time work. More than half (54 percent) have full-time jobs.

  • Thirty percent of those who work full time also attend classes full time (12 or more credit hours). Among students 30-39 years old, the rate climbs to 41 percent.

  • Minority students constitute 30 percent of community college enrollments nationally, with Latino students representing the fastest-growing racial/ethnic population.

Source: The American Association of Community Colleges, based on material in the National Profile of Community Colleges:Trends & Statistics, Phillippe & Patton, 2000.

Many of those attending community college will need a variety of assistance to be successful in their academic career. https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/02/08/helping-community-college-students-to-graduate/

Jennifer Gonzalez reports in the Education Week article, Multiyear Study of Community-College Practices Asks: What Helps Students Graduate?

The first of three reports, “A Matter of Degrees: Promising Practices for Community College Student Success” was released last week. It draws attention to 13 strategies for increasing retention and graduation rates, including fast-tracking remedial education, providing students with experiential learning, and requiring students to attend orientation.

The strategies specified in the report are not new. In fact, many of them can be found at two-year colleges right now. But how well those strategies are working to help students stay in college and graduate is another matter. The report found peculiarities among responses on similar topics, suggesting a disconnect between institutions and students, while also raising questions about how committed institutions are to their own policies and programs.

For example, 74 percent of students said they were required to take academic-placement tests, but only 28 percent said they used materials or resources provided by the college to prepare for those tests. While 44 percent of participating colleges report offering some sort of test preparation, only 13 percent make test preparation mandatory, the report said.

Also, 42 percent of part-time students and 19 percent of full-time students work more than 30 hours per week. More than half care for dependents. But only 26 percent of entering students reported that a college staff member counseled them about how many courses to take while balancing commitments outside of class.

Colleges need to figure out a way to better align their programs and policies with the needs and realities of their students, Ms. McClenney says. The report found a sizable gap between the percentage of students who plan to graduate and those who actually do, suggesting that what colleges think works may not be helping retain and graduate students. In fact, fewer than half (45 percent) of entering community-college students actually graduate with either a certificate or associate degree within six years after enrolling at an institution, according to the report….

Minding Our campus has an article by Mark Bauerlein about a report which is highly critical of the effectiveness of community colleges.

In The Community Colleges: High Promise, High Drop-Out Rates, Bauerlein reports:

The problem is stated bluntly in this report from the American Association of Community Colleges, entitled, “Reclaiming the American Dream: Community Colleges and the Nation’s Future.” The report contains an overly-dramatic framing, with dire assertions such as this opening in the Executive Summary: “The American Dream is imperiled. Upward mobility, the contract between one generation of Americans and the rest, is under siege.” But the basis for the report is undeniable. A section on “Student Success” notes that only 46 percent of community college students pursuing a degree or certificate earn one, transfer to a four-year college, or are still enrolled after six years. Worse, “Nearly half of all community college students entering in the fall term drop out before the second fall term begins.”

There is more. About 60 percent of community college students need remedial course work. Only a fraction (25-39%) of students manages to transfer to a four-year institution. For students who do succeed, too many of them opt for dead-end fields: “Reports suggest an overabundance of both adult and younger students planning to enroll in low-demand fields, and a corresponding shortage of students planning to enroll in high-demand fields paying a family-supporting wage.” Indeed, the authors observe, “Estimates indicate employment opportunities for just 3% of students planning on enrolling in fields such as personal services, employment-related services, regulation and protection, crafts, and the creative and performing arts.”

The report develops several recommended “institutional responses” to improve these abysmal results, including focusing on student success as well as student access, making faculty members think less individualistically and more collectively, and making the curriculum less fragmentary and more cumulative. But while these changes are all intramural, the best driver of improvement is, in fact, off-campus, as three examples of community-college success demonstrate a few pages later. There, we read about community colleges as “entrepreneurs,” each one partnering with local businesses to link education directly to employment. City Colleges of Chicago works directly with Rush University Medical Center and Midway airport to provide a pipeline of graduates tailored to their needs. Jefferson Community and Technical College in Kentucky has teamed up with UPS, the latter helping cover tuition and textbook costs while the former provides coursework designed to meet UPS’s job openings. And Walla Walla Community College has altered its curriculum to match the region’s tremendous growth in wine-making, the College now operating a commercial winery run by the students themselves. http://www.mindingthecampus.com/originals/2012/04/the_community_colleges_high_promise_high_dropout_rates.html

The report has several strategies to improve the performance of community colleges.

Here is a portion of the press release:

Transforming Community College System Key to U.S. Competitiveness

Milestone Report Outlines 7 Specific Recommendations for the Future

ORLANDO – Today, the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) released a report that calls for dramatic changes to America’s community colleges to ensure U.S. competitiveness. The report outlines seven specific recommendations for reforming the country’s community college system in its new report, Reclaiming the American Dream: A Report from the 21st-Century Commission on the Future of Community Colleges.

The report’s counsel center on the “Three Rs” of reform: Redesign, Reinvent and Reset. These are defined as a redesign of students’ educational experiences, a reinvention of institutional roles, and a resetting of the system to create partnerships and incentives for student and institutional success….

In a rapidly changing America and a drastically reshaped world, the Commission notes, sustaining the American Dream is at risk. The ground beneath the nation’s feet has shifted so dramatically that community colleges – which had their greatest growth period to respond to societal needs in the 1960s and 1970s – need to re-imagine their roles and the ways in which they work. A highly educated population is fundamental to economic growth and community colleges play a significant role in ensuring the American dream. Stepping up to this challenge will require dramatic redesign of these institutions, their mission, and, most critically, their students’ educational experiences.

The report’s recommendations are:

1. Increase completion rates of community college credentials (certificates and associate degrees) by 50 percent by 2020, while preserving access, enhancing quality, and eradicating attainment gaps associated with income, race, ethnicity, and gender.

2. Dramatically improve college readiness: by 2020, reduce by half the numbers of students entering college unprepared for rigorous college-level work, and double the rate of students who complete developmental education programs and progress to successful completion of related freshman-level courses.

3. Close the American skills gaps by sharply focusing career and technical education on preparing students with the knowledge and skills required for existing and future jobs in regional and global economies.

4. Refocus the community college mission and redefine institutional roles to meet 21st-century educational and employment needs.

5. Invest in support structures to serve multiple community colleges through collaboration among institutions and with partners in philanthropy, government and the private sector.

6. Target public and private investments strategically to create new incentives for educational institutions and their students and to support community college efforts to reclaim the American Dream.

7. Implement policies and practices that promote rigor, transparency, and accountability for results in community colleges.

The report also includes implementation strategies for each of the seven recommendations.

Additional resources:

Reclaiming the American Dream full report: http://www.aacc.nche.edu/AboutCC/21stcenturyreport/21stCenturyReport.pdf

Report Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Ijzdohq15fs

Report website: http://www.aacc.nche.edu/AboutCC/21stcenturyreport/index.html

http://www.aacc.nche.edu/AboutCC/21st_century/Documents/AACC_Report_Press_Release.pdf

Given the numbers of students attending community college and the population demographic, more must be done to help this students graduate.

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©