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IMPROVING COLLEGE SUCCESS: LESSONS FROM COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES ON THE PERFORMANCE FRONTIER

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Title: IMPROVING COLLEGE SUCCESS: LESSONS FROM COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES ON THE PERFORMANCE FRONTIER


1
IMPROVING COLLEGE SUCCESSLESSONS FROM COLLEGES
AND UNIVERSITIES ON THE PERFORMANCE FRONTIER
  • College Board Commission on Access and Success in
    Higher Education
  • Chicago, 2008

2
Over past 25 years, weve made a lot of progress
on the access side.
3
Immediate College-Going Up
Recent High School Graduates

Source U.S. Dept. of Education, NCES, The
Digest of Education Statistics 2002 (2003), Table
183 AND U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population
Survey Report, October 2002.
4
Most High School Grads Go On To Postsecondary
Within 2 Years
Source NELS 88, Second (1992) and Third (1994)
Follow up in, USDOE, NCES, Access to
Postsecondary Education for the 1992 High School
Graduates, 1998, Table 2.
5
College-going up for all groups.
6
Immediate College-Going Increasing for All
Groups 1980 to 2006

Percent of high school completers who were
enrolled in college the October after completing
high school
Source Condition of Education 2008 Table 24-1. 
http//nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/2008/section3/tabl
e.asp?tableID902
7
College Going Generally Increasing for All Income
Groups
Source U.S Dept. of Education, NCES, The
Condition of Education, 2008, Table 24-1
8
But though college-going up for minorities, gains
among whites have been greater
9
All Groups Up In College-Going from 1980-2005,
But Gaps Also Increase
Source U.S. Department of Education, NCES, The
Condition of Education 2006.
10
And though college going up for low-income
students, they still havent reached rate of high
income students in mid-seventies.
11
(No Transcript)
12
But what about graduation?
13
College Completion Rates, Entering Class of
2000(6 Year Rates All 4-Year Institutions)
Overall rate 56
Data is for first-time full-time freshman who
entered college in the fall of 2000.
Source SOURCE US Department of Education,
National Center for Education Statistics,
Enrollment in Postsecondary Institutions, Fall
2006 Graduation Rates, 2000 2003 Cohorts and
Financial Statistics, Fiscal Year 2006 (NCES
2008-173).
14
And from 2-year institutions?
  • Lower still.

15
California Community CollegesTransfer Rates for
Degree-Bound Freshmen
Shulock, Nancy. Excludes students
who did not complete at least 10 credits.
16
The result?
  • Increases in college completion not commensurate
    with increases in college going.

17
College Going vs. Completion of BA or Higher,
White (Age 25-29)
19
11
Immediate College-going refers to the percentage
of high school completers who were enrolled in
college the October after completing high school.
Percent attaining their BA refers to the
percentage of 25 and older with a BA or higher

Sources Condition of Education 2008,Table 24-1.
Current Population Survey (1980 to 2002), Annual
Social and Economic Supplement to Current
Population Survey (2003 to 2007)
18
College Going vs. Completion of BA or Higher,
African American (Age 25-29)
12
7
Immediate College-going refers to the percentage
of high school completers who were enrolled in
college the October after completing high school.
Percent attaining their BA refers to the
percentage of 25 and older with a BA or higher

Sources Condition of Education 2008,Table 24-1.
Current Population Survey (1980 to 2002), Annual
Social and Economic Supplement to Current
Population Survey (2003 to 2007)
19
College Going vs. Completion of BA or Higher,
Latino (Age 25-29)
6
2
Immediate College-going refers to the percentage
of high school completers who were enrolled in
college the October after completing high school.
Percent attaining their BA refers to the
percentage of 25 and older with a BA or higher

Sources Condition of Education 2008,Table 24-1.
Current Population Survey (1980 to 2002), Annual
Social and Economic Supplement to Current
Population Survey (2003 to 2007)
20
Gaps Widen Completion of BA or Higher for All
Groups (Age 25 to 29) 1980 to 2007

Source 1980 to 2005, Current Population Survey,
2003 to 2007 Annual Social and Economic
Supplement to Current Population Survey
21
Add it all up
22
Different groups of young Americans obtain
degrees at very different rates.
23
Some Americans Are Much Less Likely to Graduate
From College
24
Some Americans Are Much Less Likely to Graduate
From CollegeB.A. Rates by Age 24
SES is a weighted variable developed by NCES,
which includes parental education levels and
occupations and family income. High and low
refer to the highest and lowest quartiles of SES.
Source Family Income and Higher Education
Opportunity 1970 to 2003, in Postsecondary
Education Opportunity, Number 156, June 2005.
25
These rates threaten health of our democracy.
But even for those who dont care much about
that, they are particularly worrisome, given
which groups are growingand which arent.
26
There is Rapid Growth Among Groups Who Already
Are Under-Represented
Source U.S. Census Bureau, Population Projections
27
Not surprisingly, our international lead is
slipping away
  • Were still relatively strong (although no longer
    in the lead) with all adults.

28
U.S 4th Out of 34 Industrialized Countriesin
Overall Postsecondary Attainment
Source 2006 OECD Education at a Glance, 2004
Data. http//www.oecd.org/edu/eag2006
29
But U.S. Slips to 10th Out of 34 in the
Percentage of Younger Workers with Associates
Degree or Higher
Source 2006 OECD Education at a Glance, 2004
Data. http//www.oecd.org/edu/eag2006
30
. . . And U.S. Is One of Only Two Nations Where
Older Workers Are More Likelyto Have a College
Degree
Source 2006 OECD Education at a Glance, 2004
Data. http//www.oecd.org/edu/eag2006
31
So what can we do?
32
Better Preparation Hugely Important
33
But, while were working on that, its important
to remember that what colleges do matters too!
34
Its about accepting responsibility
  • We realized we were creating obstacles. We
    needed to change, too.
  • Aaron Podolefsky
  • Provost, Northern Iowa University

35
That starts by taking an honest look at what we
know.
36
Current College Completion Rates4-Year Colleges
  • Approximately 4 in 10 entering freshmen obtain a
    Bachelors degree within 4 years
  • Within six years of entry, that proportion rises
    to about 6 in 10.
  • If you go further, to look at graduation from ANY
    institution, numbers grow to about two-thirds.

37
But graduation rates vary widely across the
nations postsecondary institutions
38
Some of these differences are clearly
attributable to differences in student
preparation and/or institutional mission.But not
all
39
Increased Competitiveness of Institutions Results
in Increased Graduation Rates for All, but
African-American and Latino Students Still Lag
Behind
Source Ed Trust analysis of NCES IPEDS data 2005
40
Indeed, with enough data on both institutions and
students, we can find a way to explain about
70 of the variance among institutions.
41
Butwhen you dig underneath the averages, one
thing is very clearSome colleges are far more
successful than their students stats would
suggest.
42
Warning Im going to focus on graduation rates
for first-time, full-time freshmen here.
  • No, not perfect measure. For many institutions,
    the IPEDS cohort represents only small part of
    their graduates. Some institutions do other
    things wellbut not often.

43
College Results Online
44
(No Transcript)
45
So, what do you learn?Some institutions that
have same mission, same focus and serve
essentially same studentsget far better results.
46
Research InstitutionsSimilar Students, Different
Results
47
Research Universities More Poor and Minority
StudentsSimilar Students, Different Results
48
Masters Institutions LargeSimilar Students,
Different Results
49
Historically Black CollegesSimilar Students,
Different Results
50
Research Universities, PrivateSimilar Students,
Different Results
51
In recent years, many studies
  • George Kuh, Vince Tinto
  • Pell Institute Demography is Not Destiny
  • AASCU Student Success in State Colleges and
    Universities and Hispanic Student Success
  • Institute for Higher Education Policy
    Increasing Student Success at Minority-Serving
    Institutions

52
  • Policy Analysis for California Education Beyond
    Access How the First Semester Matters for
    Community College Students
  • MDRC Community College Success
  • Excelencia
  • Education Sector Graduation Rate Watch Making
    Minority Student Success a Priority
  • Education Trust One Step from the Finish Line
    and Choosing to Improve

53
Some Important Lessons
54
1. They look at their dataand act.
55
Masters Institutions LargeSimilar Students,
Different Results
56
  • Student complaint
  • Critical Path Analysis
  • Course availability major problem. Too few
    sections of courses required for the major were
    creating choke pointswhich, in turn, created
    other choke points.
  • Answer added more sections. Often, only one
    was enough to make the difference.

57
  • Also created two new tools for students
  • Degree audit tool allows students to map out
    careers, majors, see what happens when change
    major
  • New online Course Template. Students see how
    changes affect graduation. Shows what happens if
    veer from critical path course.

58
  • The moral of this story is that when you get a
    complaint, dont assume it is the students
    fault. Investigate, if you find it is a real
    problem, try to solve it for that student and you
    will probably solve it for a lot of students.
  • Aaron
    Podolefsky,
  • Provost,
    Northern Iowa

59
Another Example of Looking at the dataand
actingTwo states in our P-16 networkKY and
NVhave done analyses of student progression,
focused specifically on students with
developmental needs.
  • Conclusion Student who take those courses
    immediately on entry are much more likely to
    succeed.

60
Both now have new policies.
61
2. They pay attention to the details, especially
leading indicators.
62
Successful institutions dont just aim at the
final goalgraduationthey concentrate on each
step along the way, especially the early ones.
63
Historically Black CollegesSimilar Students,
Different Results
64
Elizabeth City State
  • Attendance mandatory. Faculty members monitor
    call when absent.
  • Faculty advisors track absences, mid-term grades.
    Expected to meet with students in trouble.
  • Deans, Provost monitor the dataand ACT when
    involves one faculty member.
  • Everybody on campus assumes responsibility for
    acting on warning signs.

65
Technology can play a role.
  • University of Alabama
  • Tide Early Alert System flags students with
    excessive absences, Ds, Fs or withdrawals at
    six week point.

66
3. They take on Introductory Classes
67
NASH CEO Session
  • Looking at Ds, Fs, Ws in Math

68
NASH/EdTrust Math Success Initiative
  • 9 Systems Analyzing Data on Student Success in
    Math Courses

69
Participating Systems
  • State Univ System of Florida
  • University System of Georgia
  • University of Hawaii System
  • Purdue University
  • State University of New York
  • Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Ed
  • University of Louisiana System
  • Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning
  • Nevada System of Higher Education

70
Some Initial Findings
  • Large numbers of remedial students not
    successfuleither withdraw or fail.
  • Large D, F, W rates in first several
    credit-bearing courses
  • Preparation matters. Students who have higher
    ACT math subscores, for example, more likely to
    be successful. BUT prep levels only explain a
    small part of success (ACT around one-third SAT
    even less).
  • Math coursework taken during senior year
    important. Many students taking courses below
    Algebra 1.
  • In many cases, students who test as non-ready
    have success rates in non-remedial courses equal
    to those in the remedial courses designed for
    them. (California Community Colleges, too.)
  • Wide differences in these rates even among
    comparable institutions.

71
Drop-Failure-Withdrawal RatesMathematics 2000
  • Georgia State U 45
  • Louisiana State U 36
  • Rio CC 41
  • U of Alabama 60
  • U of Missouri-SL 50
  • UNC-Greensboro 77
  • UNC-Chapel Hill 19
  • Wayne State U 61

Source National Center for Academic
Transformation
72
Drop-Failure-Withdrawal RatesOther Disciplines
2000
  • Calhoun CC Statistics 35
  • Chattanooga State Psychology 37
  • Drexel U Computing 51
  • IUPUI Sociology 39
  • SW MN State U Biology 37
  • Tallahassee CC English Comp 46
  • U of Iowa Chemistry 25
  • U of New Mexico Psychology 39
  • U of S Maine Psychology 28
  • UNC-Greensboro Statistics 70

Source National Center for Academic
Transformation
73
Of course, some of this may be about preparation.
But clearly not all
  • Course Redesign

74
Doctoral/Research UniversitiesSimilar Students,
Different Results
75
College Algebra Course RedesignUNIVERSITY OF
ALABAMASUCCESS RATES
  • Fall 1998
  • Fall 1999
  • Fall 2000
  • Fall 2001
  • Fall 2002
  • Fall 2003
  • Fall 2004
  • 47.1
  • 40.6
  • 50.2
  • 60.5
  • 63.0
  • 78.9
  • 76.2

76
Also, totally eliminated black/white gap in
course outcomes.
  • Same students.
  • Same preparation.
  • Different results.

77
And didnt just close gaps in course outcomes.
  • In 2001, black freshmen at Alabama graduated at a
    rate 9 points below white freshmen. By the class
    of 2006, black students were graduating at a rate
    2 points HIGHER than white students.

78
4. They dont hesitate to demand, require.
79
Alabama faculty in redesigned courses reluctant
to make weekly lab time mandatory. But every
time they backed off, results dropped.
80
Same pattern with idea of monitoring attendance,
mandatory participation in study sessions.
  • The successful institutions, though, tend to do
    exactly that. They dont leave things to chance.

81
San Diego State University andUniversity of
Houston
  • Similar Institutions
  • Similar enrollment percentages of Latinos
  • Similar SAT

82
Different Results Over Time
83
What do the folks at SDSU think made the
difference?1. Making services, supports more
coherent.2. Making what was optional, mandatory.
84
What do we think made the difference?Listening
to CHARLIE.Actually, even they say his
STUDENTS COME FIRST mantra is making a
difference.
85
5. They assign clear responsibility for student
success.
86
Black/White Graduation Rate GapsSimilar
Institutions
87
Florida State CARE Initiative
  • Many black students come from local school
    districts
  • Care program works with them in high school
  • Admission standards relaxed, but summer
    transition program required
  • ONGOING SUPPORT, MONITORING ON CAMPUS
  • Example special sections of freshman math
    courses, smaller and meet every day.

88
CARE reports to VPs for Student Affairs AND
Undergraduate Education
89
Results?
  • CARE students entering SAT 940(average success
    nationally 56)
  • Non-CARE students entering SAT 1204 (average
    success nationally 73)
  • But at Florida State, CARE students persist to
    second year at higher rate than non CARE
    students and,
  • CARE students graduate at exactly same rate.

90
6. Their leaders make sure student success is a
priority.
91
AASCU Study At Successful Institutions,
Presidents
  • Articulate a clear visionand use numbers
  • Create vehicle for taking stock
  • Act strategicallyrarely programmatically
  • Monitor and report on progress
  • Constantly walk the talk.
  • Pell Institute Report Emphasizes importance of
    acting. Faculty committees get discouraged when
    recommendations arent acted on.

92
Delivery is the important part, though.
93
7. They bring back the ones they lose.
94
University of New Mexico
  • Median SAT 1010
  • Pell 31.4
  • White 49.8
  • African American 2.8
  • Latino 33.6
  • American Indian 6.6
  • Overall 6 year grad rate 41.6

95
The Graduation Project
  • Founder David Stuart, Assoc Provost
  • Insight A lot of the students who leave without
    a degree leave pretty closeand in good standing.
  • Core idea of project Track them down and invite
    them back.
  • Criteria 2.0 gpa or better, at least 98 credits
  • Universe 3000

96
  • Used credit company to track them down
  • Offer
  • shortened (and free) application for
    re-admission,
  • degree summary showing exactly which courses
    short,
  • priority enrollment in those courses, and
  • help with problems along the way.
  • Result Of those 3000, 1800 now have degrees and
    59 have graduate degrees.

97
The Education Trust
  • Download this Presentation
  • And Subscribe to Equity Express
  • www.edtrust.org
  • Washington, DC 202-293-1217
  • Oakland, CA 510-465-6444
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