How can we help more students succeed?

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University Hour Presentation Co-sponsored by Academic Affairs and the Faculty Senate 3:05 p.m., March 1, 2011. How can we help more students succeed?. Retention Rates for FTFT Students by fall of entry. Four-Year Graduation Rates for FTFT Students by fall of entry. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


How can we help students succeed?

How can we help more students succeed?University Hour PresentationCo-sponsored by Academic Affairs and the Faculty Senate3:05 p.m., March 1, 2011Retention Rates for FTFT Students by fall of entry200320042005200620072008 2009Retained to second year (all students)78%80%76%79%79%79%81%Retained to second year (Hispanic)82%74%73%77%77%73%77%Retained to second year (African American)88%83%71%81%8482%84%Sources: IPEDS dataFour-Year Graduation Rates for FTFT Students by fall of entry200020012002200320042005 2006All Students11%13%






Hispanic Students3%







African American Students8%







Student Athletes (receiving athletically-based aid)11%17%21%34%34%

Sources: IPEDS data and OIRA reportSix-year Graduation Rates for FTFT Students by fall of entry200020012002200320042005 2006All Students40%44%46%49%48%Hispanic Students32%33%




African American Students26%31%




Student Athletes (receiving athleticallybased aid)40%36%58%66%66%Sources: IPEDS data and OIRA reportStudents Dismissed at end of spring 2010 (n=243)% of Students Dismissed% of Total PopulationWhite, non-Hispanic: 54.3% 74.5%Black, non-Hispanic: 23.46% 9.1% Hispanic6.17% 8.1%

How our rates compare to those of our peer institutions

CCSUComparison Group Average*Four-year graduation rate (2001 Cohort)13%21%Six-year graduation rate (2001 Cohort)44%47%Eight-year graduation rate (2001 Cohort)47%51%Source: IPEDS Data Feedback Report 2010Comparison GroupBridgewater State Univ.CUNY Brooklyn Coll.East Stroudsburg Univ.Montclair State Univ.SIU, EdwardsvilleUniv. of Central MissouriUniv. of Massachusetts, DartmouthUniv. of Southern MaineValdosta State Univ.William Paterson Univ.Institutions with largest increases in six-year graduation rates (2003-08)

Albany State Univ. 33% to 50%SUNY, New Paltz54% to 71%SUNY, Cortland50% to 63%Cal State, Long Beach42% to 55%SUNY, Brockport49% to 62%Univ. of Nebraska, Kearney47% to 59%McNeese SU26% to 37%UT, Pan American26% to 35%Towson U57% to 66%Univ. of Montevallo42% to 52%Chronicle of Higher Education8What they did to improve their ratesRachel Louise Ensign, Fast Gainers: 4 Ways That Colleges Have Raised Graduation Rates, Chronicle of Higher Education

9Focus on Likely DropoutsIdentify students who need help (some institutions tried to identify characteristics that were possible predictors of non-completion)

Build up Advising ServicesSome institutions gave students a list of specific coursesFind out from students what obstacles they face to graduation (e.g., too few sections of courses required for majors were creating choke points; adding more sections solved problem)

Involve Diverse VoicesInvolve colleagues throughout the campus in these discussions

Make Logistical ChangesSome institutions created new rules for scheduling courses to prevent overlaps and conflictsT-shirts with anticipated graduation date for all incoming freshman at U MD, College ParkMake certain behaviors mandatory: attendance, mid-term grades, participation in study sessions, etc.Redesign courses with high drop-failure-withdrawal ratesInstitute programs to retrieve students who never graduated (e.g., Univ. of New Mexico; Graduate!CT)

Focusing on Graduation Rates is not SufficientNeed to Establish Milestones, measurable intermediate outcomes, such asReturn for subsequent termComplete needed remediationBegin college-level coursework in English and mathEarn one year of college-level creditsComplete general education courseworkComplete a degree

Leading Indicators of Student Success

Tracking student attainment of Milestones requires a focus on Leading Indicators of Student Success

Leading indicators statistically improve predicted probabilities of completion beyond student background characteristics.The Education Trust

Leading indicators are the key to maintaining academic momentum.

Using Milestones and Leading Indicators to Increase SuccessCollect data on student progress along the milestones to degree completionNote at what milestone points student progress is stallingAnalyze indicators to understand what successful patterns are not being followed, leaving students off track for a degreeIntervene through changes in policy or practice that address the problem and increase student successMonitor the impact of these changes on milestones and indicators

Indicator: Course ParticipationBegin remediation in first semesterComplete remediation in first yearComplete college-level math/English within first two yearsComplete a college success course

Indicator: Course Performance

High rate of course completion (80%) Limit withdrawalsComplete 20-30 credits in first yearMaintain adequate academic performance (GPA)Indicator: Student Enrollment PatternsCertain patterns lead to faster credit accumulation and provide momentumEarn summer creditsEnroll full timeEnroll continuously, without stop-outsOn-time registration for coursesThe Strategy for ImprovementIdentify variables that seemed to be early predictors of success or failure Change practices to affect those variables.

Case Study: Georgia State University

19,000 undergrads, 1/3 minority, mostly African-American;

Identified potholes on pathway to bachelors degree:Low credit accumulation in first yearHigh introductory course failure ratesDrop off in retention during transition to majors

Developed and monitored department retention plans

Evaluated effectiveness of intervention strategies

Minority students now graduate at higher rates than peers; enrollment has grown more diverse* Plans can be developed and implemented at the departmental level. This can be especially useful in meeting the goals of Access2Success, because initiatives undertaken by departments with a high proportion of Underrepresented Minorities can have a dramatic impact on the overall success of this population of students.21

What we can do to improve our ratesIf we continue to do things as we always have, we will continue to get the results we do now. We have improved our retention and graduation rates, but our rates are objectively low and low in comparison to those of our peers. If we are serious about improving these rates, we need to change some of our policies and practices.

22Plans for the A2S initiative in the coming year

Registering for a full credit load of relevant coursesInstitute more intrusive advising for students to insure that they are

selecting courses that move them toward graduationregistering for a full credit load during preregistrationmaking use of relevant support services (faculty office hours, Learning Center, Counseling Center, CACE, School Advising Center, ethnic centers, mentor, etc.), establishing feedback loops to mentors that alert advisors/mentors to timely course registration, registration changes, course drops, early warning system alerts, and course grades.

Registering for a full credit load of relevant coursesInsure that courses needed for academic progress are readily available by working with department chairs and Associate Deans to reduce course scheduling issues implementing Ad Astra Platinum and Banner feedback loops to insure that department chairs and Associate Deans receive detailed and timely feedback about course sections needed. Moving toward a schedule planning process informed by students academic needs and not by history and faculty preference and convenience.

Propose a policy to prevent first semester students from dropping a course without advisor approval.

Another area that students express concern about is registering for the courses they need they have concerns about course being available and scheduling conflicts. (SSI)25

Reduce # of students with D, F, or W in gateway or gen ed coursesPromote success in gen ed and gateway courses by making faculty and students more aware of the critical role of class attendance in academic success and encouraging faculty to take attendance in each class

Class attendance appears to be a better predictor of college grades than any known predictor of college gradesincluding SAT scores, HSGPA, studying skills and the amount of time spent studying. Indeed the relationship is so strong as to suggest that dramatic improvements in average grades (and failure rates) could be achieved by efforts to increase class attendance among college students

Public universities, whose funding may be linked to graduation rates or time-to-completion statistics, are also likely to benefit from lower class failure ratesas will the taxpayers who fund such institutions.

class attendance is likely to be beneficial for learning, irrespective of the specific learning mode or modes used by the instructor mandatory policies are not necessary . . . simply stressing the importance of attendance . . . [resulted in higher average grades and lower failure rates] when compared with courses in which attendance was not stressed that attendance disproportionately benefits lower ability students would suggest that the reduction in failure rates may be even larger

Cred, Marcus, Sylvia G. Roth, and Urszula M. Kieszczynka, Class Attendance in College: A Meta-Analytic Review of the Relationship of Class Attendance with Grades and Student Characteristics, Review of Educational Research (2010) 80:272: 26Reduce # of students with D, F, or W in gateway or gen ed coursesencouraging faculty to provide students with early feedback on their academic performanceexpanding faculty use of the early warning system as a way to link students to needed support servicesputting early warning system data into Bannerpromoting faculty adoption of mid-term grades

*One area in which students often rate CCSU below our peers is the area of prompt faculty feedback on their academic performance. ( NSSE and SSI) T

*he problem with midterms as a model: bombard students with stress in most courses at the same time after a protracted period of low stress, which is especially difficult on freshmen who are unfamiliar with this pattern, and occur so late in the semester that some students may already be perilously behind or struggling27Reduce # of students with D, F, or W in gateway or gen ed coursespromoting adoption of limits on late withdrawals examining the possibility of assessing incoming students reading skills and offering structured supports for students with reading problemsidentifying gateway and gen ed courses with high rates of D, F, and W grades and supporting faculty redesign of those courses.

Reduce credits spent on remedial or developmental courseworkDecrease credits spent in pre-college level work byincreasing the percentage of eligible students who participate in Bridges Institutes in Math and Englishincreasing the efficacy of the Bridges Institute in Englishredesigning remedial courses to increase the number of students who complete them satisfactorily the first time, and implementing curricular revisions to restructure Math 101 (developmental math)

Propose a policy to prevent students from dropping a required remedial course without instructor and advisor approval

What every faculty member can doAnalyze aggregated data on rates of DFW in courses to identify choke points that may need some faculty attention. Commit to using the early warning system and provide prompt feedback especially to freshmen so those students can make use of campus support services. Consider that other CSU schools use mid-term grades (at least for freshmen) and that those help insure that struggling students are targeted for assistance. Take class attendance. Some research suggests that the failure rate can be reduced by as much as 70% by simply stressing the importance of attendance! Attendance appears to be a better predictor of academic success than HSGPA or SAT scores and simply requiring attendance or at least stressing its importance really affects student performance!(freeeasy!!)30What we shouldnt doDont lower standardsDont excuse low graduation rates for some groups

*Analysis of how students taking prerequisites performed in subsequent courses indicates that students did better if they had taken their prerequisites with instructors who graded relatively stringently. In particular, students did better in their subsequent courses if they described the writing assignments in their prerequisite courses as difficult.* Concern about findings published in Academically Adrift, which review results from CLA and NSSE to conclude that fewer than half of students attending college show any appreciable increase in learning from their freshman to senior years.31According to the Education Trust, the core difference between institutions that increased student success and those that didnt is that the former are driven by what students need, not solely by employee preferences.

32Special thanks to Dr. Nancy Hoffman for her invaluable assistance in compiling data and for her thoughtful contributions to this presentation.ReferencesCred, Marcus, Sylvia G. Roth, and Urszula M. Kieszczynka, Class Attendance in College: A Meta-Analytic Review of the Relationship of Class Attendance with Grades and Student Characteristics, Review of Educational Research (2010) 80(2):272-295. Glenn, David, One Measure of a Professor: Students Grades in Later Courses, The Chronicle of Higher Education (January 14, 2011: A8-9).Ensign, Rachel Louise, Fast Gainers: 4 Ways That Colleges Have Raised Graduation Rates, Chronicle of Higher EducationOffenstein, Jeremy, Colleen Moore, and Nancy Shulock, Advancing by Degrees: A Framework for Increasing College Completion, The Education Trust (April 2010): 1-20).Theokas, Christina and Ellyn Artis, Access to Success:The Critical Role of Indicators , Leading Indicators Webinar (December 2010), The Education Trust (


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