How Colleges Can Help Students Complete Bachelors Degrees

A new report , Advancing By Degrees has been published by The Institute For Higher Education Leadership And Policy (www.CSUS.EDU/IHELP ). They use data from California and Florida including community college transfers, and students who enroll from high school in 4 year degrees.   Here is a crucial excerpt:

“Interestingly, a higher percentage of students who did not complete a degree took a success course than those who did complete.  One likely explanation of this finding is that students are either directed towards success courses or choose to enroll in success courses if they are at higher risk for not completing, so the findings reflect enrollment in the course more than the impact of the course.  We also found that completion of gateway courses–college-level math and English–did not appear to explain why these students did not earn a bachelor’s degree.  A large majority of students who did not earn a bachelor’s degree did complete these courses.  Consequently, this analysis suggests that the appropriate institutional response would be to help students complete a higher percentage of courses and enroll continuously.  Interventions might include integrating supplemental instruction into courses with high failure rates, institution “early alert” systems to identify students having trouble in particular courses, limiting the number of course withdrawals, and examining the adequacy of financial aid policies.”

More on the details of an early alert system in next blog.

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