This book describes policies, programs, and practices that a diverse set of institutions have used to enhance student achievement, showing the benefits to student learning and educational effectiveness when these conditions are present. The book provides concrete examples from twenty institutions that other colleges and universities can learn from and adapt to help create a success-oriented campus culture and learning environment. (Review text taken from BRAXTON, JOHN M. 2008. "Student Success in College: Creating Conditions that Matter." Journal Of Higher Education 79, no. 2: 237-240. Education Research Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed May 22, 2014).
Abstract accessed via ERIC on May 22. 2014.
The scope and patterning of student departure from higher education --
Roots of individual departure from institutions of higher education --
A theory of individual departure from institutions of higher education --
The dimensions of institutional action.
Defining Multiculturalism --
Institutional Characteristics and Profiles --
Research Methods and Procedures for Inquiry --
Reality of Campus Culture --
The Lack of Multiculturalism and How it Affects Students --
Coping: Involvement, Identity, and Educational Outcomes --
General Assurances --
Consent Form --
Organizations and Agencies Publishing Data
ORGANIZATIONS AND AGENCIES:
- National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education
The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) is the primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing data related to education.
- National Resource Center on the First-Year Experience and Students in Transition, University of South Carolina
The Pell Institute publishes research and analyses that address equal educational opportunity, particularly the outcomes for low-income, first-generation, and disabled students. Additional publications include occasional papers, policy briefs, and an electronic newsletter.
StudentRetention.org is a non-profit center for the study of student persistence in postsecondary education. A division of the Educational Policy Institute, an international think tank on educational opportunity, StudentRetention.org was launched in spring 2005 to support the needs of international educators, administrators, researchers, and policymakers looking for answers to the complex problems of student departure. It is our intent to create a one-stop shop for information and strategies related to student retention.
- U.S. Department of Education Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development, Evaluation Reports for Postsecondary Education
Note: There are several state-based reports on minorities and access to higher education listed in ERIC from 2000 to 2014. I have mostly omitted these reports from the bibliography and focused instead on national reports or academic studies. But I just wanted to make you aware that there are a number of state-specific reports available, particularly for Connecticut, Texas, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, Maryland, the District of Columbia, Missouri, Illinois, New Jersey, Ohio, New Mexico, Alabama, and Washington State.
NRC- NRC website, (National Resource Center on the First-Year Experience and Students in Transition, University of South Carolina)
NRCL - NRC (National Resource Center on the First-Year Experience and Students in Transition, University of South Carolina) Library,
Articles, Reports, and Links
Table of Contents:
- Demographics and Diversity
- First Generation Students
- Low Income
- Minority-Serving Institutions
- Retention/Student Success and Learning
Please also consult the Books section for books on some of these topics and sub-topics. Books are arranged alphabetically by author.
Demographics and Diversity
Demographics and Diversity
ACE Report: Minority College Enrollment Climbs, but Gaps Persist--The Number of Minority Full-Time Faculty Also Increases while Minority College Presidencies See Minimal Growth. (2005). Black Issues in Higher Education, 22(2), 10.
Students of color continue to make significant gains in college enrollment, but still lag behind their White counterparts in the rates at which they pursue a higher education, according to the "Minorities in Higher Education Twenty-First Annual Status Report (2003-2004)" released recently by the American Council on Education (ACE). The report finds that from 1991 to 2001, college enrollment of minorities rose by nearly 1.5 million students (52 percent) to more than 4.3 million. Even with this progress, African Americans and Hispanics were not enrolled at the same rate as their White peers. Forty percent of African Americans and 34 percent of Hispanics attended college, compared with 45 percent of Whites. Unlike minority groups, where the 18-to 24-year-old population increased during the 1990s, the number of Whites in this age group declined. As a result, there was a corresponding reduction in enrollment of Whites from 10.6 million in 1991 to 10. I million in 2001. The White enrollment decline, combined with significant gains by minorities, was not sufficient to eliminate the large and continuing gap in enrollment rates between Whites and minorities.
Filipp, L., & Maryland State Higher Education Commission, A. s. (2002). Minority Achievement Report, 2002. Maryland Community Colleges, University System of Maryland, Morgan State University, St. Mary's College of Maryland. Accessed May 21, 2014. ERIC. Full text available from MHEC website; subsequent year Minority Achievement Reports for 1996, 1999, 2002-2003, 2008, available via MHEC website.
This report describes the progress of minority students in the Maryland's system of higher education. Part 1 includes a statewide analysis, by staff from the Maryland Higher Education Commission, of 4-year trends in the performance measures related to minority achievement that are included in the most recent performance accountability report. Individual institutions making progress toward benchmarks, as well as those falling short of their goals, are cited. Part 2 includes analyses of the institutions' reported activities to improve the recruitment, retention, and graduation of minority students, especially African Americans, and the recruitment and retention of minority faculty and staff. The analysis is based on brief reports submitted by each institution, with emphasis on those efforts that have already demonstrated success. The individual reports from institutions, unedited, follow the analysis. An appendix contains nine data tables.) (SLD)
Hill, C., California Univ., L. n., National Center for Research on Evaluation, S. A., & College Entrance Examination Board, N. Y. (2001). Linguistic and Cultural Diversity: A Growing Challenge to American Higher Education. CSE Technical Report. Accessed May 21, 2014. ERIC.
This document originated in the Roundtable on Linguistic/Cultural Diversity and American Higher Education organized by the National Task Force on minority High Achievement held in San Juan, Puerto Rico, December 6-8, 1998. It represents one participant's view of important themes that emerged during the Roundtable. Three trends combine to present a growing challenge to U.S. higher education: (1) rapid growth in culturally diverse populations; (2) a substantial increase in the number of culturally diverse students seeking admission to higher education; and (3) a wide gap between these culturally diverse students and European American students in their performance on admission tests such as the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT[R]). To respond appropriately to this challenge, the College Board will need to consider a broad range of policy options, some of which are described in this report. The first section focuses on preparatory programs for higher education. This section reviews two preparatory programs that the College Board has established, the Pacesetter[R] and the Advanced Placement Program (AP[R]) and recommends new directions for them to pursue to improve recruitment and instruction of culturally diverse students. The second section focuses on developing appropriate testing and assessment for culturally diverse students. It presents recommendations for improving the SAT and developing new approaches, which would not include versions of the SAT in other languages. It would be appropriate, however, to develop a modified English version of the SAT. The third section outlines a research agenda that supplements the development of testing and assessment by improving databases of the College Board, conducting research on SAT performance for culturally diverse students, and focusing on research on culturally diverse students who perform at the highest levels on the SAT. This research should identify factors in the home and community, as well as in the school, that contribute to students' success. (Contains 3 figures, 9 tables, and 151 references.) (SLD)
Notes: Published in 2001 by the College Entrance Examination Board, here reproduced as No. 556 in the CSE Technical Report series. Sponsored by the National Task Force on Minority High Achievement, a 3-year initiative of the College Board.
Hrabowski, F., Suess, J., & Fritz, J. (2011). Assessment and Analytics in Institutional Transformation. EDUCAUSE Review, 46(5), 14-16. Accessed May 20, 2014. ERIC.
U.S. higher education has an extraordinary record of accomplishment in preparing students for leadership, in serving as a wellspring of research and creative endeavor, and in providing public service. Despite this success, colleges and universities are facing an unprecedented set of challenges. To maintain the country's global preeminence, those in higher education are being called on to expand the number of students they educate, increase the proportion of students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), and address the pervasive and long-standing underrepresentation of minorities who earn college degrees--all at a time when budgets are being reduced and questions about institutional efficiency and effectiveness are being raised. Those institutions most effective in retaining and graduating students have focused on supporting their students by creating a climate that encourages: "(1) asking good questions; (2) being honest about both strengths and challenges; and (3) developing innovative problem-solving strategies and initiatives that address particular issues." Indeed, to address societal imperatives, higher education must begin by transforming its own culture. The process of cultural change begins with a focus on inclusiveness, bringing all campus members into the discussions about problems and strategies and showing them the evidence that forms the basis of the approach. Shared governance and broad consultations harness the ingenuity and creativity of faculty, students, and staff. IT professionals play an important role through their understanding of technology and how to effectively innovate using technology. Learning analytics and assessment, supported by information technology, can thus change institutional culture and drive the transformation in student retention, graduation, and success. (Contains 9 notes.)
Kelly, P. (2005). As America Becomes More Diverse: The Impact of State Higher Education Inequality. Boulder, CO: National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS). Accessed through ERIC on May 22, 2014.
At a time when many states are becoming increasingly diverse, the need for more complete and useful measures of educational equality among ethnic and gender groups is critical. This study--funded by the Lumina Foundation for Education--examines disparities in educational attainment among race/ethnic and gender groups in the U.S. and within each state, addresses how well states are serving these populations in higher education, and presents projections of each state's likely future if interventions are not successful and current attainment levels are applied to projected population mixes. This research builds on work recently completed by Derek Price and Jill Wohlford entitled "Race, Ethnic and Gender Inequality in Educational Attainment: A Fifty State Analysis, 1960-2000," which will soon be published as a chapter of a book entitled "Higher Education and the Color Line". This analysis has three general components: (1) Descriptive measures of educational attainment and income equity (by race and gender) for each of the states. Educational attainment measures are benchmarked against the educational attainment of the top country, not just the best U.S. state performance. This emphasizes that nearly all states have work to do for all their citizens; (2) Diagnostic measures to identify where in the educational pipeline interventions designed to enhance educational attainment might best be focused; and (3) A future component consisting of projections of each state's likely future if interventions are not successful and current attainment levels are applied to projected population mixes. Methodology: U.S. and State-Level Measures and Indices for Higher Education Inequality is appended. (Contains 36 figures and 9 resources.)
Oregon Univ., E. e. (2001). OUS Diversity Report: National Trends, and Racial/Ethnic Diversity among OUS Students, Instructional Faculty, and Staff. Accessed May 21, 2014. ERIC.
This report contains reflections on national trends in student diversity, analyses of trends for Oregon, and data about the racial/ethnic representation of students, faculty, and staff within the Oregon University system (OUS). Between 1995 and 2015, undergraduate enrollments nationally are expected to expand by 2.6 million students, and 80% of these new students will be minorities. Enrollment trends for Oregon indicate that for all undergraduates, African American representation will increase from 2.3% in 1995 to 2.6% in 2015, and Asian Pacific American representation will increase from 5.7% in 1995 to 7.8% in 2015. Hispanic/Latino representation will increase from 4.6% in 1995 to 8.0% in 2015, and White representation will decrease from 86.6% in 1995 to 81.5% in 2015. Nationally, there is substantial under-representation of many minority groups in higher education faculty ranks. White males over-represented and other minority groups are severely under-represented among the age group that commonly begins to move into tenured slots or midlevel positions in academia. Results of a recent national survey indicate that, overall, faculty members value diversity, and many faculty members adjust their classes to take advantage of diversity to enhance the learning process. OUS institutions have made gains in the enrollment of students of color, with an increase of 10.7% in the 2-year period from fall 1998 to fall 2000. In fall 2000, students of color represented 12.7% (8,818 students) of total OUS enrollment. In fall 1999 (the most recent data available), people of color represented 483 (8.3%) of all OUS full-time and part-time staff. Recommendations are made to increase student diversity, especially by increasing state and federal support for diversity initiatives. Three appendixes contain tables of student and faculty diversity. (SLD)
Provasnik, S., Planty, M., & National Center for Education Statistics. (2008). Community Colleges: Special Supplement to The Condition of Education 2008. Statistical Analysis Report. NCES 2008-033. National Center For Education Statistics. Accessed May 20, 2014. ERIC.
"The Condition of Education" summarizes leading developments and trends in education using the latest available data. The report, which is required by law, is an indicator report intended for a general audience of readers who are interested in education. The indicators represent a consensus of professional judgment on the most significant national measures of the condition and progress of education for which reliable data are available. For the 2008 edition, a special analysis was prepared to take a closer look at community colleges. Drawing upon a range of data sources collected by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the 2008 special analysis provides a descriptive profile of community colleges in the United States, examines the characteristics of community college students who entered directly from high school, and looks at rates of postsecondary persistence and attainment among community college students in general. It also compares the characteristics of these institutions and of the students who enroll in them with those of public and private 4-year colleges and universities. Selected findings include: (1) In 2006-07, there were 1,045 community colleges in the United States, enrolling 6.2 million students (35 percent of all postsecondary students enrolled that year); (2) Average annual community college tuition and fees are less than half those at public 4-year colleges and universities and one-tenth those at private 4-year colleges and universities; (3) Community colleges enroll a diverse group of students, with various reasons for going to college, and have larger percentages of non-traditional, low-income, and minority students than 4-year colleges and universities; (4) High school seniors who enrolled immediately in community colleges in 2004 spanned a range of academic achievement, including students who were well-prepared for college in terms of their performance on standardized tests and coursework completed, and a greater percentage of well-prepared seniors than did the 1992 senior cohort; (5) About two-thirds of 2004 seniors who enrolled immediately in a community college seem to have done so with the intention of pursuing a bachelor's degree or higher: as high school seniors, 28 percent had planned to use a community college as a stepping stone to a bachelor's degree and 39 percent revised their original plans to attend a 4-year college and earn a bachelor's degree by starting their postsecondary education at a community college; (6) One-third of 2004 seniors who enrolled immediately in a community college did so with no intention of pursuing any education higher than an associate's degree; however, by 2006, almost 47 percent of this group had raised their educational expectations to start or complete a bachelor's degree; and (7) Percentage of students who had left school by 2006 without completing a degree or certificate program was higher among 2003-04 community college freshmen who intended to transfer to a 4-year college than among all 2003-04 freshmen at public 4-year and private not-for-profit 4-year institutions. Technical notes about the data sources, methodology, and standard errors are included. (Contain 51 notes, 18 figures, and 28 tables.) [For "The Condition of Education, 2008," see ED501487; for "The Condition of Education 2008 in Brief," see ED501488.]
Ross, T., Kena, G., Rathbun, A., KewalRamani, A., Zhang, J., Kristapovich, P., & ... National Center for Education Statistics. (2012). Higher Education: Gaps in Access and Persistence Study. Statistical Analysis Report. NCES 2012-046. National Center For Education Statistics. Accessed May 20, 2014. ERIC.
Numerous studies, including those of the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), have documented persistent gaps between the educational attainment of White males and that of Black, Hispanic, American Indian/Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander males. Further, there is evidence of growing gaps by sex within these racial/ethnic groups, as females participate and persist in education at higher rates than their male counterparts (Aud, Fox, and KewalRamani 2010; Aud et al. 2011). In the interest of formulating policies to address these gaps, Congress directed the U.S. Department of Education to produce a report documenting the gaps in access to and completion of higher education by minority males and to outline specific policies that can help address these gaps (Higher Education Opportunity Act, H.R. 4137, 110th Cong. Section 1109, 2008). NCES was directed to produce the "Higher Education: Gaps in Access and Persistence Study," a statistical report that documents the scope and nature of the gaps by sex and by race/ethnicity. The primary focus of the "Higher Education: Gaps in Access and Persistence Study" is to examine gaps in educational participation and attainment between male Blacks, Hispanics, Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders, and American Indians/Alaska Natives and their female counterparts and to examine gaps between males in these racial/ethnic groups and White males. The secondary focus of the report is to examine overall sex and racial/ethnic differences. In addition to these descriptive indicators, this report also includes descriptive multivariate analyses of variables that are associated with male and female postsecondary attendance and attainment. Postsecondary attendance rates are generally lower for youth from lower socioeconomic backgrounds and those from various racial/ethnic groups (e.g., Blacks and Hispanics) when compared to Whites and Asians (Aud et al. 2011). In 2010, as in every year since 1980, a lower percentage of male than female 18- to 24-year-olds were enrolled either in college or graduate school (39 vs. 47 percent). This pattern was also observed for Whites (43 vs. 51 percent), Blacks (31 vs. 43 percent), Hispanics (26 vs. 36 percent), American Indians (24 vs. 33 percent), and persons of two or more races (40 vs. 49 percent). In addition to college enrollment differences, there are gaps in postsecondary attainment for males and females. For instance, among first-time students seeking bachelor's degrees who started full time at a 4-year college in 2004, a higher percentage of females than males completed bachelor's degrees within 6 years (61 vs. 56 percent)--a pattern that held across all racial/ethnic groups. This report will document the scope and nature of a number of differences between sex and racial/ethnic groups in education preparation and achievement as well as differences in postsecondary access, persistence, and attainment between males and females within and across racial/ethnic groups. The report presents indicators that include the most recently available, nationally representative data from NCES, other federal agencies, and selected items from the ACT and the College Board. The report draws on multiple sources that represent different years and different populations. Individual chapters contain footnotes. (Contains 89 figures and 73 tables.) Appended are: (1) Technical Appendix--Logistic Regression Analysis and Imputation Procedures; and (2) Guide to Sources.
Wassmer, R., Moore, C., & Shulock, N. (2004). Effect of Racial/Ethnic Composition on Transfer Rates in Community Colleges: Implications for Policy and Practice. Research In Higher Education, 45(6), 651-672. Access via EBSCO Education Research Complete.
This study examines factors associated with community college transfer rates. Regression models are developed using community college data at the institution level. The analyses employ two different definitions of the transfer rate and two different time spans over which to observe transfer behavior. Holding constant other factors expected to influence differences in transfer rates, the results reveal disparities in transfer rates according to the racial/ethnic composition of the student body. Community colleges with higher percentages of either Latino or African American students have lower 6-year transfer rates. The findings also confirm the results of other studies: community colleges with higher transfer rates tend to have younger student populations, students with higher socioeconomic status and better academic preparation, and a greater focus on academic programs. The important policy implications of these findings for states where the percentages of students of color are increasing are discussed. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
Wawrzynski, M.R. & Sedlacek, W.E. (2003). Race and Gender Differences in the Transfer Student Experience. Journal of College Student Development 44(4), 489-501. Accessed via Project Muse.
The expectations, self-perceptions, past academic behaviors, and attitudes of transfer students were examined in this study. Participants were 2,492 incoming transfer students (53% female, 14% African American, 14% Asian American or Pacific Islander, 6% Hispanic/Latino/a, and 65% White, and had a mean age of 21.8) at a mid-Atlantic doctoral extensive public university. During their university orientation, students completed the Transfer Student Survey (Wawrzynski, Kish, Balón, & Sedlacek, 1999). Multivariate statistical analysis revealed differences by race and gender for expectations, academic behaviors, and learning outcomes. The use of noncognitive variables was discussed in the context of the various findings and implications.
Freeman, K. (1999). No services needed? The case for mentoring high-achieving African American students. Peabody Journal of Education, 74(2), 15-26. DOI: 10.1207/s15327930pje7402_3. Accessed via Taylor and Francis Online.
In this article, I report on high-achieving African American students' perceptions of the importance of a mentor, their definition of a good mentor, and ways in which mentoring aided them in reaching their academic potential.
First Generation Students
First Generation Students:
Bui, K.V.T. (2002). First-generation college students at a four-year university: Background characteristics, reasons for pursuing higher education, and first-year experiences. College Student Journal. Accessed May 22, 2014. EBSCO Education Research Complete.
This study examined the background characteristics of first-generation college students at a four-year university, their reasons for pursuing higher education, and their first-year experiences. In comparison to students whose parents had some college experience but no degrees (n = 75) and students whose parents had at least a bachelor's degree (n = 68), first-generation college students (n = 64) were more likely to come from a lower socioeconomic background, to report that they were pursuing higher education to help their family out financially after they complete college, and to worry about financial aid for college. It is recommended that campus support services for these students directly address their unique challenges and concerns. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
Chen, X. (2005). First-Generation Students in Postsecondary Education: A Look at their College Transcripts. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics. Accessed May 22, 2014. ERIC.
Recent research has generated a large body of knowledge about students who are the first members of their families to attend college (referred to as "first-generation students" in this report). What do first generation students study in college? How well do they do in their coursework? Is their coursework different from that of their peers whose parents went to college? This report explores these questions by using data from the Postsecondary Education Transcript Study (PETS) of the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 (NELS:88) to examine the majors and coursetaking patterns of first-generation students and to compare their postsecondary experiences and outcomes with those of students whose parents went to college. This analysis focuses on a subset of the NELS 1992 12th-graders who had enrolled in postsecondary education between 1992 and 2000 and who also have complete postsecondary transcripts available; in addition, the analysis also required that parents' education levels be reported. The findings of this study contribute to earlier research by distinguishing between first-generation students and their counterparts with respect to major fields of study chosen, the types of courses taken, amount of coursework completed, academic performance, and postsecondary outcomes.
Choy, S. (January 2002). Findings from the Condition of Education 2001: Students Whose Parents Did Not Go to College: Postsecondary Access, Persistence, and Attainment. Findings from the Condition of Education 16. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics.
This booklet contains a topical essay from the Condition of Education 2001. The essay summarizes statistical evidence on the postsecondary access, persistence, and attainment of students whose parents did not attend college.
Choy, S.; Horn, L. J.; Nunez, A.; Chen, X. (Fall 2001). Transition to College: What Helps At-Risk Students and Students Whose Parents Did Not Attend College. New Directions for Institutional Research, 27 (3), 45-63. ERIC. Accessed May 22, 2014.
Investigates factors that facilitate four-year college enrollment for subpopulations of high school students. Students that find themselves at risk and those with parents who have no college experience receive primary consideration. (Author/EV)
Engle, J.; Bermeo, A.; and O’Brien, C. (2006). Straight from the Source: What Works for First-Generation College Students. Washington, DC: Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education. Accessed May 22, 2014. Pell Institute Website.
With so much attention focused on this population, it is important to consider how first-generation students respond to the messages and services targeted to them. With funding from the Texas Guaranteed Student Loan Corporation, the Pell Institute conducted a research study about the transition from high school to college for first-generation students in Texas.
The purpose of the study was to ascertain from first-generation students themselves which messages and services have the most impact on whether or not they enroll in college. The findings from this study are intended to assist administrators and staff in outreach programs and post-secondary institutions in Texas and around the country by informing and improving the practices they use to help first-generation students get into and through college. The findings are also intended to raise awareness and generate dialogue among state and federal policymakers about the impact and benefits of pre-college programs and services for first-generation and other educationally at-risk student populations.
Horn, L., & Nunez, A. (2000). Mapping the Road to College: First-Generation Students' Math Track, Planning Strategies, and Context of Support. Education Statistics Quarterly, 2(1), 81-86. Accessed May 22, 2014. ERIC.
Compares first-generation students with those whose parents were college graduates, examining college planning, preparation, and support. Data from the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 (updated 1994) show that first-generation students trail their counterparts whose parents were college graduates in participating in activities leading to college enrollment. (Author/SLD). Notes: Originally published as the Executive Summary of the Statistical Analysis Report of the same name. For the entire issue, see TM 031 655.
Lee, J.J., Sax, L.J., Kim, K.A., & Hagedorn, L.S. (2004). Understanding students’ parental education beyond first-generation status. Community College Review, 32(1), 1-20. Accessed May 22, 2014 through ERIC.
The goal of this study is to explore and compare the experiences and views that community college students face across multiple levels of parental education. The findings demonstrate significant differences across five different parental education levels, arguing that future research ought to expand current notions of parental education beyond a binary comparison (having a college educated parent or not).
Lohfink, M.M. and Paulsen, M.B. (2005). Comparing the determinants of persistence for first-generation and continuing-generation students. Journal of College Student Development, 46(4), 409-428. Accessed through ERIC on May 22, 2014.
In this study we examined and compared the determinants of first-to-second-year persistence for 1,167 first-generation and 3,017 continuing-generation students at four-year institutions, using data from the Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Survey (Wine, et al., 2002). Because first-generation students are over represented in the most disadvantaged racial, income, and gender groups, we used a critical theorist perspective to frame the research problem, guide inquiry, and interpret results.
Olenchak, F.R. and Hebert, T.P. (2002). Endangered academic talent: Lessons learned from gifted first-generation college males. Journal of College Student Development, 43(2),195-212. Accessed through ERIC on May 22, 2014.
Two case studies of men from diverse cultures, African American and Vietnamese American, illustrate the potential for underachievement among first-generation gifted students at comprehensive universities. Amplifying previous studies, this research provides an examination of attrition and highlights influences on underachievement. Conclusions suggest methods for universities to curb the problem as it relates to diverse, high-ability students. (Author)
Pascarella, E.T., Pierson, C.T., Wolniak, G.C. & Terenzini, P.T. (2003). Experiences and outcomes of first-generation students in community colleges. Journal of College Student Development, 44(3), 420-429. Accessed via ERIC on May 22, 2014.
This study sought to estimate net differences between first-generation and other college students in their academic and nonacademic experience of college, and to estimate the net differences between first-generation students and their peers after two years of college in select cognitive, psychosocial, and status attainment outcomes. (Contains 16 references and 2 tables.) (GCP)
Pascarella, E.T., Pierson, C.T., Wolniak, G.C. & Terenzini, P.T. (2004). First-generation college students: Additional evidence on college experiences and outcomes. The Journal of Higher Education, 75(3), 249-284. Accessed via ERIC on May 22, 2014.
The growing demographic diversity of the under-graduate student body in American postsecondary education has been well documented over an extended period of time. One result of this increased diversity is the substantial number of "first-generation" college students from families where neither parent had more than a high-school education. For example, using results from the National Center for Education Statistics Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study, Choy (2001) points out that in 1995-96, 34% of students entering the nation's four-year institutions and 53% of students starting at two-year colleges were first-generation students. The present study sought to expand the understanding of how first-generation students experience college and benefit from it in a more comprehensive analysis of the National Study of Student Learning data that followed individuals through the second and third years of college. Specifically, the study had three purposes. First, it sought to estimate net differences between first-generation and other college students along various dimensions of their academic and nonacademic experience of college. Second, it estimated the net difference between first-generation college students and their peers in select cognitive, psychosocial, and status attainment outcomes. These included standardized measures of science reasoning and writing skills at the end of the second year, standardized measures of reading comprehension and critical thinking at the end of the third year, as well as measures of openness to diversity and challenge, learning for self-understanding, internal locus of control, preference for higher-order cognitive activities, and educational degree plans at the end of the second and third years of college. Third, the study sought to determine if the specific academic and nonacademic experiences influencing cognitive and psychosocial outcomes differed in magnitude for first-generation versus other college students. The study sample comprised students who participated in the National Study of Student Learning (NSSL), a federally funded, longitudinal study of college student experiences and outcomes. The NSSL followed samples of students from 18 four-year colleges for a period of three years. Its major purpose was to assess the factors influencing students' learning and cognitive development during college. The study was initiated in the Fall of 1992 and continued through the spring of 1995.
Penrose, A.M. (2002). Academic literacy perceptions and performance: Comparing first-generation and continuing generation college students. Research in the Teaching of English, 36(4), 437-461. Accessed via ERIC on May 22. 2014.
Examines first-generation students' perceptions of their academic literacy skills and their performance and persistence in college. Indicates that first generation students' self-perceptions represent critical factors in the college experience, underscoring the importance of helping students forge identities as members of academic communities. (SG)
Pike, G.R. and Kuh, G.D. (2005). First- and second-generation college students: A comparison of their engagement and intellectual development. The Journal of Higher Education, 76(3), 276-300. Accessed via ERIC on May 22, 2014.
Students today are different from their counterparts of three and four decades ago. Women have outnumbered men for more than 15 years, and the participation rates for members of historically underrepresented groups have made impressive gains. Many of these "new" students are the first in their families to attend college. It is important that these students succeed in college. The baccalaureate degree is an avenue of upward social mobility, representing the single most important rung in the educational-attainment ladder in terms of economic benefits. In addition, many of the 10 million jobs that will be created in the next decade will require skills and competencies beyond those acquired in high school. Unfortunately, a disproportionately low number of first-generation students succeed in college. According to Warburton, Bugarin, and Nunez (2001), there is a 15% gap between the 3-year persistence rates of first- and second-generation students (73% and 88%, respectively). The present research draws on a national survey database to address three questions: (1) Are the relationships among background characteristics, engagement, and learning and intellectual development the same for first- and second-generation students? (2) Do first- and second-generation college students differ in terms of their backgrounds, levels of engagement during college, and reported gains in learning and intellectual development? (3) Are differences between first- and second-generation students directly related to first-generation status, or are they an indirect result of associations between first-generation status and antecedent characteristics or experiences? In order to examine differences in the backgrounds, college experiences, and learning outcomes of first- and second-generation students, multigroup structural equation models with latent variables were used.
Smith, C.T., Miller, A., and Bermeo, C.A. (2009). Bridging the Gaps to Success: Promising Practices for Promoting Transfer Among Low-Income and First-Generation Students: an In-Depth Study of Six Exemplary Community Colleges in Texas. Washington, DC: The Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education. Accessed May 21, 2014. Pell Institute Website.
This study, funded by TG, examines successful transfer strategies implemented at six Texas community colleges that continue to help low-income and first-generation students obtain their baccalaureate degrees. The study highlights what is working to increase transfer rates for low-income and first-generation students at each institution while gleaning a set of promising practices common to each of the schools that can inform other community colleges on how to establish successful transfer cultures. The report identifies the following three common themes — each consisting of institutional programs and policies — that contribute to higher than expected transfer rates: (1.) A Structured Academic Pathway; (2.) A Student-Centered Culture; and (3.) A Culturally-Sensitive Leadership. The study makes specific recommendations for replicating the three common core practices to create a culture of transfer, including tactics such as collaborative campus programming, structuring administrative offices as support and service centers, making data-driven decisions, rewarding staff and faculty who value students, and developing a performance and accountability culture.
Somers, P., Woodhouse, S., and Cofer, J. (2004). Pushing the boulder uphill: The persistence of first-generation college students. NASPA Journal, 41(3), 418-435. Accessed May 22, 2014 via ERIC.
This study examined the impact of background, aspirations, achievement, college experiences, and price on the persistence of first-generation (F-gen) and continuing generation (C-gen) college students at 4-year institutions using the National Postsecondary Student Aid Study of 1995-96 (n = 24,262). The authors found differences between the two groups on the effect size for almost all of the significant variables. F-gen students were more sensitive to financial aid and averse to student loans than their peers. However, even variables such as high income, high test score, and high grade point average, which similar studies have found to be significant and positively associated with persistence, did not influence the persistence of F-gen students in this study. (Contains 1 table.)
Thayer, P. (May 2000). Retention of students from first-generation and low-income backgrounds. Opportunity Outlook. Washington, DC: Council for Opportunity in Education. Accessed via ERIC on May 22, 2014.
This paper, the third in a series of Research Informing Practice Short Papers commissioned by the National TRIO Clearinghouse, reviews some of the recent literature related to student retention in higher education, with particular emphasis on factors affecting students from low income and first generation backgrounds. According to the paper, this emphasis was chosen for two reasons. First, because students from first generation and low income backgrounds are among the least likely to be retained through degree completion, institutional retention efforts must take the needs of such students into account if more equitable educational attainment rates are desired. Second, strategies that work for first generation and low income students are likely to be successful for the general student population, as well. By contrast, strategies that are designed for general campus populations without taking into account the special circumstances and characteristics of first generation and low income students will not often be successful for the latter. After describing theoretical models of retention, special characteristics of these students, and retention efforts addressing them, the paper concludes by recommending promising strategies for implementation by Student Support Services programs, McNair programs, and other programs addressing the needs of these students. It suggests that structured first-year and learning community programs respond in practical ways to established retention theory and to the specific needs and characteristics of students from low income and first generation backgrounds. (Contains 38 references.) (EV)
Warburton, E.C., Bugarin, R., and Nunez, A. (2001). Bridging the Gap: Academic Preparation and Postsecondary Success of First-Generation Students. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics. Accessed via ERIC on May 22, 2014.
This report examines the high school preparation and postsecondary persistence of first-generation students, those whose parents had no education beyond high school, and compares them with students whose parents went to college. The purpose of the study was to examine whether first-generation students who were otherwise equally prepared academically were comparable to students whose parents went to college in terms of their grade point averages (GPAs), number of remedial courses in postsecondary education, and rates of academic persistence. The analysis focuses on a subset of 1995-1996 beginning students who started their postsecondary education at four-year institutions. Data are from the First Followup of the Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study for 1995-1996. Findings from the analysis indicate that students who were well prepared for postsecondary education were likely to persist in four-year institutions. Students who took rigorous coursework in high school accounted for more than 80% of those students who stayed on the persistence track to a bachelor's degree or were retained at their initial institution. Parents' levels of education were found to be associated with rates of students' retention and persistence in college, even when controlling for measures of academic preparedness such as rigor of secondary curriculum and college entrance examination scores. These findings hold true even when other related variables are held constant. Two appendixes contain a glossary and technical notes. (Contains 21 tables, 7 figures, and 13 references.) (SLD)
Alexander, B. C., Garcia, V., Gonzalez, L., Grimes, G., & O'Brien, D. (2007). Barriers in the Transfer Process for Hispanic and Hispanic Immigrant Students. Journal of Hispanic Higher Education 6(2), 174-184. Accessed via Sage Publications. doi:10.1177/1538192706297440 .
This article reports barriers to transfer from the community college to bachelor's degree—granting institutions encountered by Hispanic students in the Dallas County Community College District. These Hispanic students were enrolled in a cultural studies course preparing them to transfer. Ethnographic methods—principally participant observation of the students and their families, interviews, and case studies—were used to analyze the barriers, three of which were not reported in the literature.
Bensimon, E.M., & Dowd, A. (2009). Dimensions of the Transfer Choice Gap: Experiences of Latina and Latino Students Who Navigated Transfer Pathways. Harvard Educational Review, 79 (2), 632-659. Accessed via Meta Press.
This article draws on the voices of three Latina and two Latino students who navigated transfer pathways from a community college to four-year colleges. Although all but one of these students was eligible for admission to the selective University of California system, none of them exercised that choice. In fact, only one enrolled in a selective university. The transfer outcomes for the group interviewed illustrate the informational and cultural barriers that students must overcome in order to exercise choice in the selection of transfer institutions. The findings indicate that institutional "transfer agents" are needed to help qualified community college students overcome informational and cultural barriers to transfer into selective institutions. The students' transfer stories reveal the detrimental consequences of lack of access to transfer agents.
Crisp, G., & Nora, A. (2010). Hispanic Student Success: Factors Influencing the Persistence and Transfer Decisions of Latino Community College Students Enrolled in Developmental Education. Research In Higher Education, 51(2), 175-194. doi:10.1007/s11162-009-9151-x. EBSCO Education Research Complete.
This study examined the impact of a set of theoretically-derived predictor variables on the persistence and transfer of Hispanic community college students. Early models of student persistence have been validated primarily among 4-year college students. While the constructs have been well-established, the relationships of those relevant factors remain unexamined among community college transfer students, and specifically, among Hispanic students enrolled in developmental coursework and planning to transfer from a community college to a 4-year institution. Logistic regression analysis was used to test the hypothesized conceptual framework on an existing set of quantitative persistence data drawn from a national sample of Hispanic students. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
Garcia, M. (2010). When Hispanic Students Attempt to Succeed in College, But Do Not. Community College Journal Of Research & Practice, 34(10), 839-847. doi:10.1080/10668926.2010.485003. Accessed May 19, 2014. EBSCO Education Research Complete.
Retention of higher education students has been decreasing over the last decades of the last century (Swail, 2004). Retention decreases, however, are not equally impacting all students or all higher education institutions. Community college retention rates are lower than rates in four-year institutions (Wild & Ebbers, 2002), and minority student retention rates are lower than rates for White students (Fry, 2004; Swail, 2004). Since community colleges are often the first entry into higher education for low-income students, and since often these students are minority students, community colleges are experiencing low retention rates, especially among first-year students (Hernandez & Lopez, 2005). Although volumes of research have been conducted regarding minority retention, few studies have focused on the problem-specific level of community colleges. This article reports barriers that first-semester Hispanic students at one community college reported they have experienced, identifies the institutional initiatives placed to counter this Hispanic student attrition, and provides recommendations to increase the retention of Hispanic community college students. The study suggests that when first-semester Hispanic students attempt to succeed in college but do not, it is not necessarily always the students' fault. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
Hagedorn, L., Chi, W., Cepeda, R. M., & McLain, M. (2007). AN INVESTIGATION OF CRITICAL MASS: The Role of Latino Representation in the Success of Urban Community College Students. Research In Higher Education, 48(1), 73-91. doi:10.1007/s11162-006-9024-5. Accessed May 19, 2014. EBSCO Education Research Complete.
The community college has historically functioned as a primary access point to postsecondary education for Latino students. This study, an investigation conducted through an analysis of the Transfer and Retention of Urban Community College Students (TRUCCS) project, focuses on Latino students enrolled in urban “minority-majority” community colleges, where Latino students have a high representation. The specific interest of this research is the role and effect of the level of representation of Latino community college students on their academic outcomes. The relationship between the level of representation of Latinos, and the levels of academic success are analyzed in concert with other variables, such as, the level of representation of Latino faculty on campus, student age, attitude, academic integration, English ability and aspiration. Findings indicate a relationship between academic success of Latino community college students and the proportion of Latino students and faculty on campus. The findings thus suggest that a critical mass of Latinos may be a positive influence encouraging “minority” students to higher academic performance. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
Hagedorn, L.S., & Lester, J. (2006). Hispanic Community College Students and the Transfer Game: Strikes, Misses, and Grand Slam Experiences. Community College Journal of Research and Practice 30(10), 827-853. Accessed via Taylor and Francis Online.
Like baseball, community colleges are an American invention. This article employs a baseball metaphor to analyze and to explain success of Latino students in the Los Angeles Community College District. Specifically, a sample of 5,000 students were participants in the Transfer Game, where progress was measured by passing the courses specified by California's transfer readiness curriculum (IGETC). Transcript analysis was used to ascertain the proportion of Hispanic and non-Hispanic students passing IGETC modules. Among Hispanic students, differences in success patterns were found by ethnicity and gender but not by age or native language. After an average of over 6 semesters, a little less than 1/3 of all the Hispanic community college students had reached any of the transfer-ready bases, as defined by the passing of IGETC modules, and only 8.9% were transfer ready. Despite lower than optimal findings, this research celebrates those students who defied the odds and transferred to a 4-year university. The article is dedicated to these Grand Slammers.
Johnson, J., & Galy, E. (2013). The Use of E-Learning Tools for Improving Hispanic Students' Academic Performance. Journal Of Online Learning & Teaching, 9(3), 328-340. Accessed May 19, 2014. EBSCO Education Complete.
Most research in higher education related to Hispanic students has focused on institutional-level strategies to determine ways of improving graduation and retention rates. Reports published by the U.S. Census Bureau, Department of Education, and Department of Labor have identified the growth of the Hispanic population in the United States as a challenge for both higher education and the future of the U.S. workforce as university retention, graduation rates, and grade point averages remain low for Hispanics, trailing whites and all other minority groups. At the same time, technology has proliferated in classrooms, institutions have proffered both online courses and complete degree programs, and instructors have increased the use of e-learning tools in both online and campus-based classes. To build upon a limited research base focused on Hispanic student success, the study reported in this paper was conducted at the classroom level in a Hispanic-serving higher education institution. It involved students in a Bachelor of Business Administration program undertaking both online and campus-based courses that made use of various e-learning tools, and examined the impact that technology acceptance constructs had on students' academic performance. Results indicated that three constructs - computer self-efficacy, ability to work independently, and time management - were statistically significant predictors of course performance for Hispanic students. Perceived value and age were used as control variables. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
Lee, J. r., Contreras, F., McGuire, K. M., Flores-Ragade, A., Rawls, A., Edwards, K., & . College Board Advocacy & Policy, C. (2011). The College Completion Agenda: 2011 Progress Report. Latino Edition. College Board Advocacy & Policy Center. ERIC.
When the Commission on Access, Admissions and Success in Higher Education (subsequently referred to as the commission) convened in fall 2008, the educational landscape was facing a number of issues that the commission's members recognized as formidable challenges to those students who aspire to enroll and succeed in college. Summarizing the commission's 2008 report, "Coming to Our Senses: Education and the American Future," college and high school completion rates had dropped dramatically; the number of adults with postsecondary credentials was not keeping pace with other industrialized nations; and significant disparities existed for low-income and minority students. As such, the commission was faced with two key questions: What must be done to improve the nation's educational system, and how will individuals know if the changes that are made are successful? Echoing the findings of other key educational policymakers, the commission declared that it is critical--and thus should be a primary goal--that 55 percent of the nation's young adults attain an associate degree or higher. The commission further offered a 10-part action plan in the form of 10 recommendations. The commission noted that these recommendations are so important they must be measured on a regular basis to help individuals understand the state of the educational landscape in the nation and how it changes over time. The commission also noted the importance of erasing disparities to reaching the nation's college completion goal. Latinos are now the largest minority group in the United States and the fastest growing population in the country. However, only 19.2 percent of Latinos ages 25 to 34 years old have obtained an associate degree or higher. The nation cannot reach its college completion goal without increasing college completion for this important group. This report is designed to illustrate the degree to which Latinos are moving toward--or away from--taking the necessary steps for ensuring an educated Latino community. Data Book is appended. (Contains 101 figures and 127 footnotes.) [For related report, "The College Completion Agenda: State Policy Guide. Latino Edition," see ED524570.]
Ornelas, A., and Solórzano, D.G. (2004). Transfer conditions of Latina/o community college students: A single institution case study. Community College Journal of Research and Practice 28(3), 233-248. Accessed via Taylor and Francis Online.
This study reported in this article examined the transfer process for Latina/o students at Esperanza Community College. Esperanza is one of the 108 community colleges in California with one of the largest concentrations of Latina/o students. In California, 42 out of every 100 Latina/o public high school graduates pursue some form of higher education. For most, the community college is the entry point, Of these, 32 out of every 100 students begin their pursuit of higher education at a California community college. An average of three Latina/o students transfers to a university. Recommendations considered essential to create a prevailing community college transfer culture are offered.
Pérez, P. and Ceja, M. (2010). Building a Latina/o Student Transfer Culture: Best Practices and Outcomes in Transfer to Universities. Journal of Hispanic Higher Education, 9(1), 6-21. Accessed via Sage Journals.
Although most Latina/o transfer students declare intentions to transfer from a community college, few move on to 4-year colleges and universities. The authors provide an overview of the existing information related to transfer objectives and rates. Using the theoretical models of Latina/o critical race theory and validation theory the authors also highlight key practices that promote transfer. Finally, based on previous scholarship the authors outline a Latina/o transfer culture and provide recommendations for future research and policy.
Santiago, D.A. (2008). The Condition of Latinos in Education: 2008 Factbook. Washington, DC: Excelencia in Education. ERIC. Accessed May 30, 2014.
Too often, conversations about Latinos in education are based on ignorance. Put simply, ignorance is "not knowing." As often as not, people in these conversations assume they know more than they actually do--based on individual experiences or cliches shared by others--rather than on data. Excelencia in Education addressed this by providing timely information about the condition of the fast growing and young Latino population in education. For us, ignorance abatement is a first step towards taking action to accelerate student success. Data about the current condition of student educational achievement establishes a baseline from which to measure performance over time. Data also helps stakeholders determine educational priorities for action or select reform strategies to improve specific areas of educational achievement. However, data are only as good as they are used to compel and inform action. This factbook synthesizes national and public data in a series of one-page fact sheets that provide a snapshot of the educational progress, strengths, and areas of need of Latino students throughout the education pipeline as well as select educational issues. Recognizing education as the primary means to strengthen human capital, this factbook also includes a fact sheet on Latinos in the workforce and a spotlight on Hispanics in law enforcement. These snapshots are not intended to cover the breadth of issues related to each segment of the educational pipeline. It is our hope that these fact sheets can spark further conversation and a more critical examination of Latinos in the educational pipeline. While concise, these fact sheets provide reference tools for today's diverse stakeholders and can be used to inform data-driven discussions about their efforts to improve Latino educational achievement. (Contains 4 footnotes.)
Swail, W.S.; Cabrera, A.F.; Lee, Chui; and Williams, A. (2005) Latino Students and the Educational Pipeline, Parts I-III. Virginia Beach, VA: Education Policy Institute. Accessed May 19, 2014. Education Policy Institute website. Links to Part I, Part II, and Part III.
This report series documents the progress of Latino students from eighth grade to the workforce. Supported by a grant from Lumina Foundation for Education, EPI analyzed data from the U.S. Department of Education's National Educational Longitudinal Study (NELS), which first surveyed eighth-grade students in 1988 with followup surveys in 1990, 1992, 1994, and a final followup survey in 2000, eight years after scheduled high school graduation.
Part I of the study looks at the 1988 8th-grade class and what happened to them by 2000.
Part II compares BA recipients with high school graduates.
And Part III focuses on a multiple regression analysis of the major factors which impede the road to a bachelor's degree for Latino students.
Rosas, M. and Hamrick, F. (2002). Family influences on academic decision making among women college students of Mexican descent. Equity and Excellence in Education, 35(1), 59-69. Accessed via UMCP Research Port, Taylor and Francis Online, May 22, 2014. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/713845240.
Wolf-Wendel, L., Twombly, S., Morphew, C., & Sopcich, J. (2004). From the barrio to the bucolic: The student transfer experience from HSIs to Smith College. Community College Journal of Research and Practice, 28(3), 213-231. Taylor and Francis Online.
The study reported in this article examined two Hispanic-serving institutions, Miami-Dade Community College and Santa Monica College, and the innovative transfer agreements they have with Smith College, a highly selective private women's college. Factors that influence the successful transfer of women students to Smith from these HSIs are highlighted. The article concludes with recommendations for how Hispanic-serving institutions, and community colleges in general, can learn from the exemplars offered here how to develop their own unique transfer initiatives that benefit Latinas/os and other underrepresented students to transfer to and be successful at elite four-year colleges and universities.
Oropeza, M., Varghese, M. M., & Kanno, Y. (2010). Linguistic Minority Students in Higher Education: Using, Resisting, and Negotiating Multiple Labels. Equity & Excellence In Education, 43(2), 216-231. doi:10.1080/10665681003666304. Accessed May 19, 2014. EBSCO Education Complete.
Linguistic minority students have been both under-researched and underserved in the context of research on minority students' access to and retention in higher education. The labels ascribed to them have typically failed to capture the complexity of their identities. Additionally, much of the literature in higher education on minority students' access and retention has focused on structural barriers rather than on how students negotiate these barriers. By bringing linguistic minority students into the forefront of this conversation, we show how four linguistic minority female students draw on their community cultural wealth and different forms of capital (Yosso, 2005) to access and navigate college while experiencing differing advantages and disadvantages based on institutional labeling. By employing critical race theory and its conceptualization of capital, we illustrate how students use, resist, and negotiate labels in attempts to access resources and services at a four-year institution. We conclude by calling for more research on this population as well as additive university practices and policies that reflect the richness of linguistic minority student identities. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
Cabrera, A., La Nasa, S., & Burkum, K. (2001). Pathways to a Four-Year Degree: The higher Education Story of One Generation. University Park, PA: Center for the Study of Higher Education at The Pennsylvania State University. Accessed May 22, 2014. ERIC.
The High School Sophomore Cohort of 1980 followed nine different pathways to a 4-year college degree. These paths were formed by a combination of different levels of academic preparation secured in high school and the first type of postsecondary institution attended. The pathway most likely to lead to a 4-year degree is one defined by acquiring high academic resources in high school and entering at a 4-year institution on high school completion. Those who followed this path had a 78% chance of graduating within 11 years. Highest-socioeconomic status (SES) students followed this pathway, resulting in an 81% graduation rate. Not all paths are equally available to all SES groups. Lowest-SES students journeyed on a pathway defined by moderate academic resources and first enrollment in a 2-year institution. Only 3.3% of these students earned a 4-year degree. A 44% SES-based degree completion gap separating lowest-SES students from highest-SES students found using simple descriptive statistics is reduced to 24% when myriad factors are considered simultaneously. Degree completion is most affected by SES, high school-based academic resources, degree aspirations, enrollment patterns, taking college courses in mathematics and science, financial aid, and having children while attending college. (Contains 10 tables and 152 references.) (Author/SLD)
Notes:Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for the Study of Higher Education (Portland, OR, November 13-16, 2003).
Sponsoring Agency: Association for Institutional Research.
Choy, S. (2000). Low-Income Students: Who They Are and How They Pay for Their Education. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics. Accessed May 22, 2014. ERIC.
This report examines the characteristics of low-income undergraduates and how they pay for college. It begins with a profile of low-income students, comparing them with their not-low-income counterparts. Then, focusing on low-income students who attend full time, full year, it examines their financial need, describes the contribution of financial aid, and presents what is known about how they close the gap between what they pay and the amount of aid they receive. Finally, the report compares 3-year persistence among low-income and not-low-income undergraduates. The analysis relies primarily on the 1995-96 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study, with supplemental information from other national surveys. In 1995-96, 26% of all undergraduates were low income, and 17% of dependent undergraduates were classified as low income. Virtually all low-income undergraduates attending full time, full year had financial need, and most received some financial aid. Grants were received by 81%, and 51% had loans. A substantial part of the gap between student budget and financial aid came from student earnings. Many factors affect academic persistence, but low income students enrolled in 1995-1996 were less likely to have earned a degree or still be enrolled in 1998. Three appendixes contain supplemental tables, a glossary, and technical notes. (Contains 34 tables and 11 figures.) (SLD)
Engstrom, C.M. & Tinto, V. (2008). Learning better together: The impact of learning communities on the persistence of low-income students. In Engle, J. (Ed.), Opportunity Matters: A Journal of Research Informing Educational Opportunity Practice and Programs, 1(1).
Government Accountability Office, W. C. (2007). Higher Education: Tuition Continues to Rise, but Patterns Vary by Institution Type, Enrollment, and Educational Expenditures. Report to the Chairman, Committee on Education and Labor, House of Representatives. GOA-08-245. Government Accountability Office. Accessed May 21, 2014. ERIC.
Higher education has increasingly become critical to the nation's cultural, social, and economic well-being, with 90 percent of the fastest-growing jobs in the knowledge economy requiring some postsecondary education. While a college graduate can expect to earn, on average, approximately $1 million more over the course of his or her working life than those with a high school diploma, most students and their families can expect to pay more on average for college than they did just a year ago. Many are concerned that the increases in the cost of college may be discouraging large numbers of individuals, particularly minority and low-income individuals, from pursuing higher education. The topic of college affordability continues to be an issue of great concern. Various policymakers, national associations, and philanthropic foundations have documented the growth in college tuition and its potentially adverse effects on access to higher education and rates of degree completion. Recent years have witnessed the introduction of many federal-, state-, and institution-level initiatives aimed at curbing tuition increases, yet tuition continues to rise. Congress asked GAO to provide information on trends in higher education enrollments, tuition and fees, and institutional expenditures on education- related services that students receive by addressing the following questions: (1) What have been the patterns in college enrollment over the past decade and do these patterns differ by race?; (2) What have been the patterns in the types of schools students attend and do these patterns differ by race?; (3) How much have tuition and fees increased over the past decade across different types of higher education institutions?; and (4) To what extent have increases in tuition and fees been associated with increases in spending by institutions on education? This report presents the following findings: (1) More students are enrolling in college than ever before, and an increasingly larger percentage of all students are minorities; (2) While the types of schools in which students enroll have largely remained stable, the distribution of enrollment has shifted for some minority groups; (3) Although average tuition increased for all institution types, the smallest tuition increases occurred at the types of institutions that enroll the largest proportion of college students; and (4) Between the 2000-2001 and 2005-2006 school years, increases in average tuition were matched or exceeded by increases in average institutional spending on education at private institutions, but not at public institutions. This analysis looks at various trends, the majority of which span periods between the 1995-1996 and 2006-2007 school years. Reported trends in tuition and fees and institutional expenditures on education are weighted by undergraduate enrollment. (Contains 5 figures and 6 tables.)
Mortenson, T. (October 2003). Economic Segregation of Higher Education Opportunity, 1973 to 2001. Oskaloosa, IA: Postsecondary Education Opportunity 136. Accessed via ERIC on May 22, 2014.
The first report in this issue, "Economic Segregation of Higher Education Opportunity 1973 to 2001," describes the way higher education enrollments in U.S. colleges and universities are rapidly being sorted by family income and social class. Students born into different economic class backgrounds are increasingly concentrated in distinct segments of the higher education system, with students from low and lower middle income families concentrated in 2-year colleges, especially public 2-year colleges, and students from upper middle and higher income families concentrated in 4-year colleges. This analysis focuses on these changing enrollment patterns by looking at recipients of federal Pell Grants. The second report, "Admissions Selectivity of 4-Year Colleges and Universities 1986 to 2003," discusses a shift in from expanding higher education opportunity to redistributing it that is occurring in 4-year colleges and universities. Both public and private 4-year colleges and universities have grown more selective between 1986 and 2003, but they have done so in a growing market with increasing numbers of high school graduates to choose among. In the long run, the growing divergence between changing demographics and growing labor market needs for better trained workers will have consequences. Some are already evident: the rapid growth of proprietary education and the erosion of world leadership in college participation rates. More will appear in the future. (Contains 18 graphs.) (SLD)
Mortenson, T. (January 2006). Unmet financial need of undergraduate students by state, sector, status and income levels 2003-04. Postsecondary Education Opportunity, 163.
Mortenson, T. (2007). Bachelor’s Degree Attainment by Age 24 by Family Income Quartiles, 1970 to 2005.Oskaloosa, IA: Postsecondary Education Opportunity.
Muraskin, L., Lee, J., Wilner, A., and Swail, W.S. (December 2004). Raising the Graduation Rates of Low-Income Students. Washington, DC: The Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education. Accessed May 21, 2014. Pell Institute Website.
As a group, colleges that serve large percentages of low-income students have lower graduation rates than other colleges. However, among the colleges that serve low-income students there is also considerable variation in graduation rates, differences that suggest a strategy for studying and improving college outcomes.
This report presents the findings of a study designed by the Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education to identify the institutional characteristics, practices, and policies that might account for differences in retention and graduation rates among colleges and universities that serve high concentrations of low-income students. The Lumina Foundation for Education supported the study in an effort to learn and share effective practices for fostering student success.
O’Brien, C. and Engle, J. (2005). Indicators of Opportunity in Higher Education: 2005 Report. Washington, DC: The Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education. Accessed May 21, 2014. Pell Institute website.
In Fall 2004, the Pell Institute released the first Indicators of Opportunity in Higher Education. The inaugural report was well-received, including praise from the higher education community, press coverage, and policymaker discussions of the issues and data presented in the report. We present this second report with the goal of building on our knowledge base and continuing to inform a broad audience about the status of opportunity for higher education in the United States.
An important addition this year is the inclusion of an indicator that addresses a key financial issue — the percentage of family income that is needed to cover the cost of college. This indicator gives greater depth to understanding what college costs mean in the context of a family budget and therefore, how much college opportunity can vary by income. As noted when we released the first report, we intend to add to the indicators presented over time.
This report also features a closer look at the diverse group of students captured in the category of low-income students.
Oliverez, P.M. and Tierney, W.G. (2005). Show Us the Money: Low-Income Students, Families, and Financial Aid. Los Angeles: Center for Higher Education Policy Analysis. Accessed via ERIC on May 22, 2014.
For many urban low-income students, going to college may not seem feasible for various reasons. A primary reason for low participation is a lack of financial resources to pay for higher education, and a lack of information about the availability of financial aid. When students have families who view college as financially out of reach, access to accurate financial aid information is vital to convince them otherwise. An in-depth look at the ways in which financial aid information is disseminated in nine public and two private high schools in southern California reveals that there are various school- and community-based efforts being performed to provide students and their families with a range of financial aid-related information. Yet, frequently this information does not reach those most in need. The goal of these efforts is often to help urban low-income students and their families gain a better understanding of the different resources available to help fund a student?s college education. Without financial assistance in the form of loans, grants, scholarships, or work-study, few urban low-income families will be able to pay for college on their own. California is used as an example insofar as it offers some of the most extensive financial aid services in the United States.
Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education. (May 2011). Developing 20/20 Vision on the 2020 Degree Attainment Goal: The Threat of Income-Based Inequality in Higher Education. Washington, DC: Pell Institute. Accessed May 22, 2014. Pell Institute website.
Improving college degree attainment is essential as the United States seeks to remain economically competitive in a globalized marketplace. As the economy continues to evolve and become increasingly more complex, it is critical that our education system provides our youth with the skills, ingenuity, and critical thinking abilities that can stimulate and maintain the economy as we advance in the 21st century. Understanding this need, President Obama has identified education as a key component of his Administration’s agenda. In the President’s February 24, 2009 address to a Joint Session of Congress, he announced his goal for the United States to become once again the nation with the largest percentage of college-educated citizens in the world. This goal will require raising the percentage of Americans ages 25 to 64 with a college degree from 41.2% to nearly 60.0% (OECD, 2010). However, at the current pace, projections using the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey suggest that only 46.4% of Americans in the target age group will have earned a college degree by 2020, leaving the nation nearly 24 million degrees shy of the 60% target rate.
The Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education argues in this brief that income-based inequality in educational attainment is a central obstacle to achieving the 2020 goal and that decreasing income-based attainment gaps must become a central focus of federal education policy. Additionally, we offer four federal policy recommendations that address the challenge of income based disparities in degree attainment.
St. John, E. P., & Indiana Univ., B. r. (2002). The Access Challenge: Rethinking the Causes of the New Inequality. National Center for Education Statistics. Policy Issue Report. Accessed May 21, 2014. ERIC.
Since 1980, the gap in college participation rates between low-income and high-income students and between minorities and whites has widened substantially, creating new inequality in college access. During this period, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) conducted numerous studies of the impact of academic participation on access to higher education, but the NCES overlooked the impact of reductions in federal need-based grants on the widening gap in postsecondary opportunity. This paper reviews trends related to financial access, develops a conceptual model that incorporates both the academic and economic explanations for access, and uses the model to reexamine the NCES analyses of enrollment behavior by college-qualified students in the high school class of 1992. The reexamination reveals that finances exerted a much more substantial influence on creating the new inequality. NCES ignored the effects of finances when analyzing the cause of disparity in college access. More than one million college-qualified, low-income students were denied financial access in the 1990s. Restoring federal need-based grants to their 1980 level is a necessary first step toward equalizing the opportunity for college-qualified high school graduates. (Contains 4 tables, 8 figures, and 69 references.) (Author/SLD)
Terenzini, P.T., Cabrera, A.F., & Bernal, E.M. (2001). Swimming Against the Tide: The Poor in American Higher Education. New York: College Board.
Tinto, V. and Engle, J. (2008). Moving Beyond Access: College Success for Low-Income, First-Generation Students. The Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education. Washington D.C. Accessed May 23, 2014. Pell Institute website.
Dr. Jennifer Engle, Assistant Director for Higher Education, Ed Trust, and former Senior Research Analyst, Pell Institute in collaboration with Dr. Vincent Tinto, Pell Institute Senior Scholar and Distinguished University Professor, Higher Education Program, School of Education, Syracuse University, completed this new timely and informative Pell Institute report in which they examine the postsecondary characteristics, experiences, and outcomes of low-income, first-generation college students. The report highlights how the combined impact of being both low-income and first-generation correlates with a range of factors (i.e. demographic and enrollment characteristics) that lower the students? chances of successfully earning a college degree. Thus, they show how the combination of these two characteristics put students who are both low-income and the first in their families to go to college at the greatest risk of failure in postsecondary education.
The report utilized data from the U.S. Department of Education datasets to describe:
- The ways in which low-income and first-generation students participate in higher education, including persistence and degree attainment rates, and a comparison of their participation to other students, including those who are neither low-income nor first-generation.
- A comprehensive delineation of the barriers that low-income, first-generation students face to achieving success in college.
- A highlight of strategies that colleges and universities can pursue to address the barriers and improve low-income and first-generation students? chances of earning degrees.
- A practical set of recommendations for institutional and government actions that could go a long way towards closing the access and success gaps that exist today.
We extend our thanks to the 3M Foundation for providing support for this study.
Tinto, V., & Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of, T. (2008). When Access Is Not Enough. Carnegie Perspectives. Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Accessed via ERIC on May 22. 2014.
The author writes that for too many low-income students the open door to American higher education has become a revolving door. In examining what can be done, he recognizes the centrality of the classroom to student success.
Minority Serving Institutions
Ashby, C. M., & General Accounting Office, W. C. (2004). Low-Income and Minority Serving Institutions: Department of Education Could Improve Its Monitoring and Assistance. Report to the Secretary of Education. GAO-04-961. US Government Accountability Office. Accessed May 21, 2014. ERIC.
Congress has expanded the number of low-income and minority-serving institutions eligible for grants under Titles III and V of the Higher Education Act and significantly increased funding for the grants. This study investigated: how institutions used their Title III and Title V grants, and benefits they received from using the grant funds; objectives and strategies the Department of Education (Education) had developed for Title III and V programs; and the extent of Education's monitoring and provision of assistance to Title III and V institutions. Researchers developed a data collection instrument and reviewed grant files for a stratified sample of 104 of the 206 Title III and Title V grant recipients, including the grant application, grant performance report, and related correspondence. They visited nine postsecondary institutions, talked to Education officials, reviewed program and planning documents, and interviewed postsecondary education officials. Overall, grantees most commonly reported using Title III and V funds to strengthen academics, and they noted a wide range of benefits. Most grantees reported initiatives that focused on improving student services (e.g., tutoring) and outcomes for students (e.g., course pass rates). The most commonly reported benefits related to improvements in academic quality and student services and outcomes. Many grantees reported challenges that required extra time at the end of the grant. Education has developed objectives and strategies to strengthen Title III and V institutions by improving financial sustainability, technological capacity, academic quality, student services and outcomes, and institutional management. Education has also developed plans and tools to enhance its monitoring of and assistance to Title III and V grantees, but it has made limited progress in implementing these initiatives. Four appendixes include study objectives, scope, and methodology; characteristics of Title III and Title V grantees by program; institutions visited; comments from Education; and GAO contacts and staff acknowledgements.
Ashby, C. M., & Government Accountability Office, W. C. (2003). Distance Education: More Data Could Improve Education's Ability To Track Technology at Minority Serving Institutions. Report to Congressional Requesters. Accessed May 21, 2014. ERIC.
Distance education--offering courses by Internet, video, or other forms outside the classroom--is a fast growing part of postsecondary education. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) was asked to review the state of distance education at Minority Serving Institutions, which are schools that serve high percentages of minority students, including Blacks, Hispanics, and American Indians. Under Titles III and V of the Higher Education Act, these schools are eligible for grants that can be used for expanding their technology, including distance education. GAO's review focused on: (1) the use of distance education at Minority Serving Institutions; (2) key factors influencing these schools' decisions about whether or not to offer distance education; and (3) steps the Department of Education could take, if any, to improve monitoring efforts of technological progress under Titles III and V programs. There are some variations in the use of distance education at Minority Serving Institutions compared to other schools. For example, while Minority Serving Institutions tend to offer at least one distance education course at the same rate as other schools, they differ in how many courses are offered and which students take the courses. Also, like other schools, larger Minority Serving Institutions tend to offer more distance education than smaller schools, and public schools tend to offer more distance education than private schools. However, Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Tribal Colleges generally offer fewer courses than other schools, and a smaller percentage of minority students take such courses. Minority Serving Institutions consider two main factors in deciding whether to offer distance education. The first is distance education's compatibility with the school's preferred teaching method. Many schools that offered no distance education had a strong preference for a classroom-based approach. The second is resources--schools offering little or no distance education had limited technology and support personnel. Also, Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Hispanic Serving Institutions viewed distance education as a lower priority compared to expanding technology usage in the classroom. By contrast, Tribal Colleges gave distance education higher priority, reflecting the greater geographic dispersion of their students. Education could strengthen its monitoring efforts of the Title III and V programs by expanding its existing system. Currently, the monitoring efforts for tracking the progress of technological improvements are more complete for Hispanic Serving Institutions than for the other Minority Serving Institutions. Education also lacks good baseline information on technology capacity at Minority Serving Institutions. Expanding current efforts to include such data would provide a basis for measuring the progress being made by Minority Serving Institutions. (EV)
Fletcher, C., Webster, J., & Texas Guaranteed Student Loan, C. (2010). Profile of Minority-Serving Institutions in Texas: A Study of Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Hispanic-Serving Institutions. TG Research Report. TG (Texas Guaranteed Student Loan Corporation). Accessed May 21, 2014. ERIC.
Minority-Serving Institutions are colleges that enroll a high percentage of minority students. Because minority populations have experienced disproportionate barriers to higher education, the federal government provides them with financial support through various titles of the Higher Education Act. MSIs include Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs), as well as colleges and universities with high enrollments of Native Americans, Asian Americans and Native American Pacific Islanders, and Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians. This report covers HBCUs and HSIs in Texas. The authors use the term Minority-Serving Institution, or MSI, to refer generally to either an HBCU or HSI. Referring to the group MSI will be understood to include all HBCUs and HSIs. (Contains 19 footnotes.)
Li, X., Carroll, C., Institute of Education Sciences (ED), W. C., & MPR Associates, B. A. (2007). Characteristics of Minority-Serving Institutions and Minority Undergraduates Enrolled in These Institutions: Postsecondary Education Descriptive Analysis Report (NCES 2008-156). National Center For Education Statistics. Accessed May 20, 2014. ERIC.
This study provides a comprehensive profile of all types of "minority-serving institutions" (MSIs), in the United States and to examine the characteristics of minority students who attend these institutions. The report adds to earlier research focusing on single types of MSIs--primarily Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs), or Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs). In contrast to earlier research, this study examines all types of MSIs side by side and includes private for-profit institutions, which are typically excluded from studies on MSIs. This report consists of three sections, beginning with an overview of MSIs, discussing the major trends between 1984 and 2004 in the participation of minority students in U.S. higher education and the extent to which MSIs enroll minority students. This overview is followed by a description of how MSIs differed from other institutions in terms of their major institutional characteristics (e.g., sector, admissions selectivity, and population size of low-income students) in 2004. The report ends with an analysis of the demographic and enrollment characteristics of minority students attending MSIs and how they differ from those attending non-MSIs and across various types of MSIs. Findings from this report are descriptive in nature; they do not imply causality or identify reasons for the trends or differences observed. (44 tables and 12 figures. Appended are: (1) Glossary; (2) Technical Notes and Methodology; and (3) Lost of Degree-Granting Title IV Institutions Included in This Study That were Minority-Serving: Fall 2004.)
Redmond, C., Clinedinst, M., O'Brien, C., & Institute for Higher Education Policy, W. C. (2000). Educating the Emerging Majority: The Role of Minority-Serving Colleges & Universities in Confronting America's Teacher Crisis. A Report from the Alliance for Equity in Higher Education. Accessed May 21, 2014. ERIC.
This report examines the roles that minority serving institutions (MSIs) play and the challenges they face in educating students of color. The U.S. Census Bureau projects that students of color will become the majority in K-12 classrooms by the middle of the 21st century. Despite this shift, classroom teachers are not broadly representative of the students they teach; 9 of 10 U.S. teachers are white. Data from MSIs that make up the Alliance for Equity in Higher Education as well as profiles of teacher education programs at some MSIs show some of the ways that institutions are preparing qualified teachers of color. MSIs produce a large number of teacher education graduates in areas of high national need, such as mathematics and science. The diversity of teacher education graduates from Alliance member institutions is in stark contrast to that of non-Alliance institutions. The analyses in this report demonstrate the critical role of MSIs in preparing teachers of color. Some specific recommendations are made to support MSI, including increased federal resources, broader public investments, higher teacher salaries, and public awareness campaigns. The report also calls for partnerships among institutions that serve large numbers of students of color and increased study of minority teacher supply. (Contains 14 figures and 66 references.) (SLD).
Engle, J., Yeado, J., Brusi, R., Cruz, J. L., & Education, T. (2012). Replenishing Opportunity in America: The 2012 Midterm Report of Public Higher Education Systems in the Access to Success Initiative. Education Trust. National Association of System Heads (NASH). Accessed May 20, 2014. ERIC.
To preserve our nation's democratic ideals and compete in the global economy, we must improve postsecondary educational attainment. Indeed, the stakes are so high that prominent government and business leaders have set a goal for the United States to regain its status as the world's most educated country by 2020. Given demographic and socioeconomic trends, this shift will require closing the achievement gaps that separate students of color and low-income students from their peers. To address these issues, leaders from public higher education systems across the country launched the Access to Success Initiative in fall 2007, setting two ambitious goals: increase the number of college graduates in their states and ensure those graduates more broadly represent their states' high school graduates. Indeed, the A2S leaders pledged that by 2015 their systems would halve the gaps in college-going and completion that separate African-American, Latino, and American-Indian students from their white and Asian-American peers--and low-income students from more affluent ones. Today, the Access to Success Initiative counts 22 member systems and remains the only concerted effort to help public college and university systems boost attainment. Together, A2S systems represent 312 two-year and four-year campuses and serve more than 3.5 million students, educating about 1 in 5 students attending U.S. public institutions and nearly 2 in 5 students of color and low-income students attending public four-year institutions nationwide. Over the past four years, The Education Trust, National Association of System Heads (NASH), and the U.S. Education Delivery Institute have facilitated A2S cross-system work and monitored progress toward the initiative's 2015 goals. This report chronicles progress made and lessons learned by A2S systems since the December 2009 release of "Charting a Necessary Path: The Baseline Report of Public Higher Education Systems in the Access to Success Initiative." In addition, 29 detailed system progress reports, including associate's and bachelor's reports, document how individual A2S systems are advancing. Access to Success systems developed metrics to track not only overall enrollment and completion rates, but measures for many students who are missing from or invisible in national higher education data sets such as the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), including low-income, part-time, and transfer students. The initiative's focus on both access and success, and its inclusive metrics, sidestep the pitfalls of widening access without graduating more students, or simply excluding more applicants. Overall, the A2S systems have seen the following results: (1) Enrollments and degrees have increased across the A2S systems, with climbing numbers among underrepresented minority (URM) students (African-American, Latino, and American-Indian students) and low-income students driving the improvements; (2) Access for underrepresented minority and low-income students has risen; and (3) Success rates need the most attention in two-year colleges, where rates are still low and gaps persistent. (Contains 11 figures and 16 endnotes.)
Immerwahr, J., Johnson, J., Public, A., & National Center for Public Policy and Higher, E. (2007). Squeeze Play: How Parents and the Public Look at Higher Education Today. National Center Report #07-4. National Center For Public Policy And Higher Education. Accessed May 21, 2014. ERIC.
Traditionally, the United States higher education system has been the envy of the world for its high quality, accessibility to millions of Americans, ability to train generations of skilled workers, and its contribution to creating the vast American middle class. Today, however, higher education is experiencing new pressures. A new generation of students--including many minorities, children of recent immigrants, and middle-aged and older Americans--is seeking access to colleges and universities. This is happening precisely when public funding for higher education seems more strained than ever. At the same time, other countries are ramping up their own higher education systems to compete in the global economy. Recently, the Secretary of Education's Commission on the Future of Higher Education called for reforms such as greater accountability and productivity in higher education. This report from the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education and Public Agenda explores how the American public is thinking about higher education today. Are Americans pleased with the system as it exists, or are they looking for change? How is the system working from the public's point of view and from the point of view of parents whose children may soon be students? To explore this question, Public Agenda, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that conducts opinion research on public policy issues, designed and fielded a random sample survey of 1,001 Americans, including over-samples of African-American and Hispanic parents with children in high school. The project included five focus groups around the country and interviews with more than two dozen corporate, media, philanthropic, and legislative leaders. The study also examined a series of similar public surveys, going back to 1993, to see how the public's views have changed (or stayed the same) over time. Ten key findings emerged from the research. These are: (1) Higher education is a fundamental necessity; (2) High grades for higher education; (3) Rising costs cloud the picture; (4) More and more Americans fear that the opportunity to attend college is being threatened; (5) But the public's sense of urgency about higher education reform is diminished by "pressure valves" in the system; (6) Parents are worried about paying for college, but most think they will find a way; (7) All minority parents--even high-income ones--are disproportionately concerned about lack of opportunity for qualified students; (8) When it comes to public attitudes on higher education, "the bloom is off the rose"; (9) The public does not believe that colleges need to choose among maintaining quality, expanding access, and holding down costs; and (10) Americans prefer reforms that don't sacrifice quality or limit access. (Contains 4 footnotes.) [This paper was written with Paul Gasbarra, Amber Ott, and Jonathan Rochkind.]
Handwerk, P., Tognatta, N., Coley, R. J., Gitomer, D. H., & Educational Testing Service, P. (2008). Access to Success: Patterns of Advanced Placement Participation in U.S. High Schools. Policy Information Report. Educational Testing Service. Accessed May 21, 2014. ERIC.
Providing high school students access to advanced coursework has long been considered an important means of preparing students for success after high school. This study merges data from College Board's Advanced Placement (AP) program for the 2003-2004 school year with data from the U.S. Department of Education for all U.S. public high schools to determine availability of the AP program in the nation's high schools, participation patterns in AP, and AP grade information for public schools with different socioeconomic, racial/ethnic, and geographic characteristics. Study findings include: (1) School types vary in the degree to which they offer AP; (2) Once differences among schools in AP program intensity are taken into account, public high schools are similar with regard to AP exam participation and student performance; (3) Few students are participating in AP programs and scoring well enough on AP exams to potentially earn college credit and/or placement; (4) Low-income students are consistently lagging behind more-advantaged peers; (5) Although there has been some success in introducing the AP program into diverse schools, there continues to be a lack of underrepresented minorities among AP examinees; and (6) Gender differences are evident for each of the measures used in this study. Six recommendations for further research suggest focus on: (1) Identifying and providing the educational experiences that students need in order to be prepared for advanced coursework; (2) Policies for student placement into academic tracks or programs; (3) Ways to encourage students to prepare for and participate in advanced academic programs, particularly underrepresented students; (4) Identifying the issues keeping low-income students from AP participation even when opportunities and fee-reduction opportunities are present; (5) Providing the resources necessary to ensure that AP courses are available for all students who wish to take them; and (6) Identifying teacher quality issues and staff development needs to ensure that students have access to appropriate instruction. The report concludes that unless the opportunity for advanced coursework is made available to growing segments of underserved student populations, many students will be unable to avail themselves of opportunities for higher education and for successful participation in the workforce. Two appendixes are included: (1) Cluster Analysis Methodology; and (2) School Type Codes and Definitions. (Contains 9 tables, 13 figures, and 29 footnotes.)
Maloney, C., Caranikas-Walker, F., Sheehan, D., & Texas Center for Educational Research, (. (2007). Students Training for Academic Readiness (STAR): Year One Evaluation Report. Executive Summary. Texas Center For Educational Research. Accessed May 21, 2014. ERIC.
The federal Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs, or GEAR UP, strives to equalize low-income students' access to higher education by increasing their participation in rigorous coursework, providing expanded opportunities for low-income students and parents to learn about postsecondary educational opportunities and financing options, and forging strong partnerships between school districts, colleges, and community support groups. Students Training for Academic Readiness (STAR) is the Texas Education Agency's (TEA) second state-level GEAR UP grant. During the 2006-07 school year, STAR began providing services to six south Texas school districts: Alice ISD, Brooks County ISD, Corpus Christi ISD, Kingsville ISD, Mathis ISD, Odem-Elroy ISD. STAR districts exceed state averages in the proportion of low-income and minority students they serve and lag state averages in terms of their testing outcomes and graduation rates. Through a collaborative partnership that includes the TEA, P-16 Partnerships for Student Success at the College of Education at Texas A&M University--Corpus Christi (P[superscript 2]S[superscript 2]), the College Board, Fathers Active in Communities and Education (FACE), and the National Hispanic Institute (NHI), the STAR project seeks to increase (1) the information available to students and their families about postsecondary educational opportunities, (2) students' access to advanced academic programs, (3) training for teachers and counselors, and (4) parent and community support for a student's decision to go to college. The 2006-07 evaluation describes the process of first year implementation and presents baseline indicators of student enrollment, academic performance, and postsecondary participation that will act as benchmarks for measuring districts' progress over the course of the STAR project. This executive summary presents the major findings from the study. [For the full report, "Students Training for Academic Readiness (STAR): Year One Evaluation Report," see ED538133.]
Reindl, T. (June 2007). Hitting Home: Quality, Cost, and Access Challenges Confronting Higher Education Today. Boston, MA: Jobs for the Future, Lumina Foundation. Accessed via ERIC on May 22, 2014.
A recent study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that high-skill jobs that require advanced learning will make up almost half of all job growth in the United States by 2014. Present trends indicate that there will be a dearth of adequately educated workers to fill these new jobs: as a result of changing demographics, rising costs and prices, the erosion of quality, and structural forces preventing work on these problems, ground is being lost in helping to ensure that all Americans can attend college at a cost the nation and its families can afford. Ground is also being lost to other countries in the area of degree production, largely because of relatively low completion rates. A new report, "The Degree Gap," estimates that the United States will need to produce 15.6 million more Bachelor's and Associate's degrees beyond currently expected levels if the nation is to keep up with its best-performing peers. After describing these issues, the author discusses the need to establish goals and metrics to support strategic plans and public agendas for increased degree production, and presents several possible strategies for meeting these goals. (Contains 5 figures.) [This report was produced by Jobs for the Future on behalf of Making Opportunity Affordable, an initiative of the Lumina Foundation for Education.]
Shapley, K., Sturges, K., Sheehan, D., Weiher, G. R., Hughes, C., Howard, J., & Texas Center for Educational Research. (2006). Texans Getting Academically Prepared (TGAP): Year Six Evaluation Report, September 2004-August 2005. Texas Center For Educational Research. Accessed May 21, 2014. ERIC.
The Texas Education Agency's (TEA's) state GEAR UP project--Texans Getting Academically Prepared (TGAP)--has provided interconnected activities supporting early awareness of and preparation for higher education among low-income and minority students, their families, and schools in six South Texas school districts. Over its six years, the state grant was guided by three goals for (a) building educator and student capacity for successful participation in challenging college preparatory programs, (b) increasing student and family awareness of opportunities for college and financial aid assistance, and (c) providing meaningful incentives and support for high student achievement from the business community. The TGAP evaluation assessed progress toward the three overarching TGAP goals. Researchers explored (a) how TGAP influenced the capacity of districts, schools, educators, parents, and students to support students' participation in higher education; (b) the extent to which student and parent awareness of college opportunities, including financial aid and assistance, increased; and (c) the academic outcomes for schools and their students. The findings also offer insight into program implementation and sustainability. Researchers combined qualitative and quantitative data collection approaches with rich and varied sources of data. These included annual, on-site interviews (with teachers, students, counselors, and university faculty fellows), classroom observations in Advanced Placement (AP) and Pre-AP classrooms, document and product reviews, interviews with project partners, teacher and student surveys, and demographic and performance data. The methodological approach relied on triangulation to examine patterns in both project implementation and academic outcomes. Appended are: (1) TGAP Goals; (2) Site Visit Interview Protocols; (3) Classroom Observation Instrument; (4) Faculty Fellows Interview Instruments; (5) Student Survey; (6) Teacher Survey; (7) Parent/Guardian Surveys; (8) Data Detail; (9) Methodological Detail; and (10) TAKS Objective Scores. Individual sections contain footnotes. (Contains 163 tables and 36 figures.) [For "Texans Getting Academically Prepared (TGAP): Year Six Evaluation Report, September 2004-August 2005. Executive Summary," see ED539928.]
Shom, C. (2006). Minorities and the Egalitarian--Meritocratic Values Conflict in American Higher Education: New Answers for an Old Problem. Journal Of College Admission, 1908-13. Accessed May 20, 2014.
This article, from "Achieving Diversity: Strategies for the Recruitment and Retention of Traditionally Underrepresented Students," which in its entirety, won the 1993 Muir Award, discusses the difficult issues of: (a) enhancing higher educational access for populations which have been historically underserved ("egalitarianism"), and (b) insuring that graduates are academically and vocationally competent to serve as leaders in our nation's economic and societal arenas ("meritocratic": a term popularized by sociologist Michael Young (1958), inferring allocation of rewards based upon performance). These philosophical issues have particularly significant educational implications for the nation's minority groups. In fact, according to this author, the lack of this issue's resolution underlies most of the problems surrounding minority access to, and success in, higher education. [For the original indexing of this article, "Journal of College Admission" v19 n4 p182-90 Oct 1991, see EJ437173.]
Watson, J. (2011). For the Public Good?: Land-Grant Schools Straying from Public Missions, Education Trust Reports Say. Diverse: Issues In Higher Education, 28(14), 24-25. Accessed May 21, 2014. ERIC.
While many land-grant flagships strive to keep costs low for students, they have not been as successful in yielding high graduation rates, and, as a result, many students--including high numbers of Blacks and Latinos--fall through the cracks. Dr. Jose Cruz, the vice president for higher education, policy and practice at the Education Trust, a non-profit organization that pushes high academic achievement and seeks to narrow opportunity and achievement gaps--especially among minority students from pre-kindergarten to college--says that most of the nation's land-grant institutions have neglected their mission to educate diverse populations in favor of recruiting high-achieving students from relatively wealthy families who can help the schools climb in national rankings. According to Dr. Cruz, the main challenge is associated with how flagships make decisions about how to invest their financial aid dollars. He points out that from 2003 to 2007, public research universities increased the amount of aid to students whose parents make at least $115,000 a year by 28 percent. He adds that these schools routinely award as much in financial aid to students whose parents make more than $80,000 a year as to those whose parents make less than $54,000 a year.
Vargas, J.H. (2004). College Knowledge: Addressing Information Barriers to College. Boston, MA: The Education Resources Institute (TERI).
Foote, S.M.; Hinkle, S.M.; Kranzow, J.; Pistilli, M.D.; Rease Miles, L.; and Simmons, J.G. (2013). College Students in Transition: An Annotated Bibliography. Columbia, SC: National Resource Center for the First Year Experience and Students in Transition. NRC. Link to description.
The transition from high school to college is an important milestone, but it is only one of many steps in the journey through higher education. Interest in the many other transitions students make—through the sophomore year, from one institution to another, and out of college—has grown exponentially in the last decade. At the same time, educators recognize that each transition experience is unique, shaped by the individual student context. A new annotated bibliography helps researchers and practitioners navigate the emerging literature base on college student transitions beyond the first year, with special focus on adult learners, student veterans, and those studying in different cultures.
Retention/Student Success and Learning
Retention/Student Success and Learning:
Andrews, J. (January 01, 2013). What works? Student retention and success. Widening Participation and Lifelong Learning, 14, -1, 1-3. Accessed May 22, 2014. EBSCO Education Research Complete.
An introduction is presented in which the editor discusses various reports within the issue on topics including student experience in Great Britain, Foundation Year Programmes (FYPs) for higher education, and the value of social networking.
Arum, R., Roksa, J., & Social Science Research Council. (2008). Learning to Reason and Communicate in College: Initial Report of Findings from the CLA Longitudinal Study. Social Science Research Council. Accessed May 21, 2014.
This research emerged from the Social Science Research Council's collaborative partnership with the Pathways for College Network, with technical assistance in data collection provided by the Council for Aid to Education. The project has followed over 2,300 students at 24 institutions over time to examine what factors are associated with learning in higher education. Learning is assessed along the dimensions of critical thinking, analytical reasoning and written communication, as measured by the Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA). The authors consider factors related to individual development as well as patterns of inequality associated with disadvantaged groups of students (including students from racial/ethnic minority groups, less advantaged family backgrounds, non-English speaking homes, and high schools that are comprised primarily of non-white students). Students were initially tested at the beginning of their freshman year (Fall 2005) and then followed up at the end of their sophomore year (Spring 2007). In addition to the CLA measures of learning, supplementary data was collected from student surveys, college transcripts and secondary sources of institutional data to generate a Determinants of College Learning longitudinal dataset. The scale and scope of this project offers a unique opportunity to explore factors associated with learning in higher education. Overall, the reported findings have important implications for policy, practice and research. In terms of policy, the research suggests the need to focus future social policy not just on increasing access to college and reducing student attrition, but also on assuring success in terms of learning for students attending higher education institutions. This project also has important lessons for practitioners: institutions vary tremendously on the extent to which students attending them demonstrate growth on CLA performance. The longitudinal findings identified suggest the need for additional systematic future study of student learning in higher education. Appendices include: (1) CLA Instrument Example; (2) Data and Methods; and (3) Tables. (Contains 11 figures, 6 tables and 15 footnotes.) [This paper was written with Melissa Velez.]
Braxton, J.M. (June 2006). Faculty Professional Choices in Teaching That Foster Student Success. Washington, DC: National Postsecondary Education Cooperative. Accessed June 2, 2014, NCES website.
This paper delineates eight domains of postsecondary student success that provide substantial clarity to the meaning of college student success. These domains suggest that there are multiple ways for postsecondary students to demonstrate success. The paper also formulates a theory of faculty professional choices that explains how faculty elect to engage in particular aspects of teaching role performance that enhance student learning. The report concludes with recommendations for policy and practice for implementation by state policymakers, administrators of individual colleges and universities, and chairpersons of academic departments.
Braxton, J. M., Milem, J. F., & Sullivan, A. S. (2000). The influence of active learning on the college student departure process: Toward a revision of Tinto’s theory. Journal of Higher Education, 71, 569-590. Accessed May 22, 2014. EBSCO Education Research Complete.
Elaborates Tinto's Theory of College Student Departure (1993) by testing the influence of faculty active learning practices on student departure decisions. Problem of student departure in colleges; Influence of active learning on the student's social integration, subsequent institutional commitment and intent to return.
Ewell, P. and Wellman, J. (May 2007). Enhancing Student Success in Education: Summary Report of the NPEC Initiative and National Symposium on Postsecondary Student Success. Washington, DC: National Postsecondary Education Cooperative. Accessed June 2, 2014, NCES website.
This report synthesizes major themes and findings from the National Postsecondary Education Cooperative (NPEC) Symposium on Student Success. The Symposium was the culminating event of the 3-year initiative on student success designed to advance NPEC’s mission to promote the quality, comparability, and utility of data and information that support policy development at the federal, state, and institution levels. The work has focused on research on different dimensions of student success and the factors that are related to success for different types of students in diverse institutional settings. Its goal has been to synthesize what is currently known about student success; identify gaps in current knowledge to frame a research agenda for the future; and build connections between postsecondary researchers, practitioners, and policymakers interested in improving student success.
Hearn, J. (October 2006). Student Success: What Research Suggests for Policy and Practice. Washington, DC: National Postsecondary Education Cooperative (NPEC). Accessed June 2, 2014, NCES website.
Policymakers and educational leaders increasingly seek answers to a pressing question: how best to ensure that the nation’s colleges and universities are effectively addressing their most critical
responsibility, the education of undergraduate students. The attention to student success reflects more than a personal concern for students—it also reflects a growing sense that the nation itself is faced with fiscal, demographic, and competitive challenges demanding the best educational system possible. This essay addresses the findings and implications of five reports commissioned by the National Postsecondary Education Cooperative (NPEC) and scheduled for presentation and discussion at a national symposium in November 2006. The reports were each aimed toward reviewing and synthesizing the diverse research literature on student success, articulating a persuasive, inclusive theory-informed perspective on success and its correlates, identifying significant issues and problems in the literature, and incorporating multilevel perspectives on the research and its application.
Some themes are common to the authors’ conclusions in these five reports.
• Student success in postsecondary education has roots in students’ lives far earlier than the postsecondary years, through the influences of families, peers, teachers, counselors, cultural factors, and K–12 school curricula and extracurricula.
• Specific on-campus factors important for postsecondary success include high expectations (as manifested in curriculum, climate, and teaching practices); coherence in the curriculum (i.e., in required courses and sequencing of courses); integration of experiences, knowledge, and skills; opportunities for active learning; assessment and frequent feedback; collaborative learning opportunities; time on task; respect for diversity (race/ethnicity/cultures, talents and abilities, ways of knowing and learning); frequent contact with faculty; emphasis on the first-year experience; and the development of connections between classroom work and learning opportunities outside the classroom.
• Classrooms and teaching faculty provide the most direct organizational influences on postsecondary student success, with governmental and institutional policies and practices playing notable indirect roles.
• Policy integration and coordination across and within postsecondary programs, departments, institutions, and systems facilitates student success.
• Policy integration and coordination between the postsecondary and K–12 education levels facilitates student success.
• Programs, institutions, systems, and states should engage in significant, continuous information gathering, measurement, and assessment relating to student success.
• Policymakers and institutions should support research and theory development targeted at student success, including its multiple aspects, the various theoretical perspectives on it, ways to measure and assess it, the factors that shape it, differences among student backgrounds as precursors to it, and programmatic approaches to achieving it for all students.
Kuh, G.D.; Kinzie, G.; Buckley, J.; Bridges, B.; and Hayek, J. (July 2006). What Matters to Student Success: A Review of the Literature: Commissioned Report for the National Symposium on Postsecondary Student Success: Spearheading a Dialog on Student Success. Washington, DC: National Postsecondary Education Cooperative (NPEC). Accessed May 30, 2014 from the NCES website.
This report examines the array of social, economic, cultural, and educational factors related to student success in college, broadly defined. After summarizing the major theoretical perspectives on student success, the report synthesizes the research findings related to students’ background and pre-college experiences, students’ postsecondary activities emphasizing engagement in educationally purposeful activities, postsecondary institution conditions that foster student success, and the desired outcomes of college and post-college as indicators of success. It offers seven propositions about what matters to student success that lead to recommendations to promote student success, and areas where additional research is needed to increase the odds that more students “get ready,” “get in,” and “get through.”
Lee, J. r., Edwards, K., Menson, R., Rawls, A., & College Board Advocacy & Policy, C. (2011). The College Completion Agenda: 2011 Progress Report. College Board Advocacy & Policy Center. Accessed May 21, 2014. ERIC.
When the Commission on Access, Admissions and Success in Higher Education (subsequently referred to as the commission) convened in fall 2008, the educational landscape was facing a number of issues that the commission's members recognized as formidable challenges to those students who aspire to enroll and succeed in college. Summarizing the commission's 2008 report, "Coming to Our Senses: Education and the American Future," college and high school completion rates had dropped dramatically; the proportion of adults with postsecondary credentials was not keeping pace with other industrialized nations; and significant disparities existed for low-income and minority students. As such, the commission was faced with two key questions: What must be done to improve the nation's educational system, and how will individuals know if the changes that are made are successful? Echoing the findings of other key educational policymakers, the commission declared that it is critical--and thus should be a primary goal--that 55 percent of the nation's young adults attain an associate degree or higher. The commission further offered a 10-part action plan in the form of 10 recommendations. The commission noted that these recommendations are so important they must be measured on a regular basis to help us understand the state of the educational landscape in the nation and how it changes over time. This report is designed to illustrate the degree to which the nation is moving toward--or away from--taking the necessary steps for ensuring an educated and enlightened citizenry. Data Book is appended. (Contains 218 figures and 68 footnotes.) [For "The College Completion Agenda: 2010 Progress Report," see ED522548.]
Lee, J. r., Rawls, A., & College Board Advocacy & Policy, C. (2010). The College Completion Agenda: 2010 Progress Report. College Board Advocacy & Policy Center. Accessed May 21, 2014. ERIC.
When the Commission on Access, Admissions and Success in Higher Education (subsequently referred to as the commission) convened in the fall of 2008, the educational landscape included a number of issues that the commission's members recognized as formidable challenges to those students who aspire to enroll and succeed in college. The Commission's 2008 report, "Coming to Our Senses: Education and the American Future," painted a disheartening portrait of recent trends in education: college and high school completion ranking had dropped dramatically; the proportion of adults with postsecondary credentials was not keeping pace with growth in other industrialized nations; and significant disparities existed for low-income and minority students. As such, the commission faced two key questions: What must be done to improve the nation's education system, and how will individuals know if the changes that are made are successful? Echoing the findings of other key educational policymakers, the commission declared that it is critical--and thus should be a primary goal--that 55 percent of the nation's young adults attain an associate degree or higher. The commission offered a 10-part action plan in the form of 10 recommendations. The purpose of this document is to measure or demonstrate the need to establish an appropriate measure of the commission's goal and recommendations. The measures identified in this report are meant to give some indication of the current status and future changes that impact the goal and recommendations. Data book is appended. (Contains 128 figures and 59 footnotes.)
Lotkowski, V.A.; Robbins, S.B.; Noeth, R.J. (2004). The role of academic and non-academic factors in improving college retention : ACT policy report. Iowa City, IA: ACT (American College Testing). NRCL, ERIC. Accessed May 19, 2014. Full text available.
This report provides information from a major technical study about the influence of non-academic factors, alone and combined with academic factors, on student retention and performance at four-year colleges and universities. A meta-analysis technique was used to identify the non-academic factors that had the most salient relationship to postsecondary retention. The extent to which each factor predicted postsecondary retention was also identified. Nine broad categories of non-academic factors were constructed to both structure the analysis and report the findings. Findings indicate that the non-academic factors of academic-related skills, academic self-confidence, academic goals, institutional commitment, social support, certain contextual influences (institutional selectivity and financial support), and social involvement all had a positive relationship to retention. The academic factors of high school grade point average (HSGPA) and ACT Assessment scores, and socioeconomic status (SES) had a positive relationship to college retention, the strongest being HSGPA, followed by SES and ACT Assessment scores. The overall relationship to college retention was strongest when SES, HSGPA, and ACT Assessment scores were combined with institutional commitment, academic goals, social support, academic self-confidence, and social involvement. In terms of performance, the findings indicate that of the non-academic factors, academic self-confidence and achievement motivation had the strongest relationship to college GPA. Of the academic factors, both HSGPA and ACT Assessment scores had a stronger relationship to GPA than did SES, the strongest being HSGPA followed by ACT Assessment scores and SES. The overall relationship to college performance was strongest when ACT Assessment scores, HSGPA, and SES were combined with academic self-confidence and achievement motivation. Recommendations include the implementation of formal retention programs that consider the academic, social, and emotional needs of students.
Maher, M., & Macallister, H. (March 24, 2013). Retention and Attrition of Students in Higher Education: Challenges in Modern Times to What Works. Higher Education Studies, 3, (2), 52-61. DOI: 10.5539/hes.v3n2p62. Accessed through UMCP Research Port on May 22, 2014.
Retention and attrition rates in higher education have long been a focus of research. This paper presents findings of a single case study, undertaken in a School of Education, which identify important strategies that have led to attrition of five to eight per cent, compared with 18 per cent cross the education sector in Australia (Department of Education, Science and Training, 2004). Findings include: individual admissions interviews, funding of an Associate Dean Pastoral Care, course coordinators providing continuity of support, easy access for students to academic staff, well-supported, extended professional experience, senior staff lecturing undergraduates, congruence between co-curricular supports and the educational framework, and comprehensive mentoring of new students. Finally, sustainability of these strategies in modern times is discussed.
Perna, L. and Thomas, S. (July 2006). A Framework for Reducing the College Success Gap and Promoting Success for All: Commissioned Report for the National Symposium on Postsecondary Student Success: Spearheading a Dialog on Student Success. Washington, DC: National Postsecondary Education Cooperative (NPEC). Accessed May 20, 2014 from NCES website.
Through a review of research in four disciplines, this report develops a conceptual model to guide policymakers, practitioners, and researchers in their efforts to reduce gaps in student success across income, class, and racial/ethnic groups. The model suggests that: 1) student success is a longitudinal process with 4 major transition points from college readiness to completion and that it requires coordinated policies and programs; 2) multiple theoretical approaches inform our understanding of student success; 3) student success is shaped by multiple levels of context so no one policy or program will improve success for all students; 4) different disciplines contribute varied perspectives on student success and the forces that shape it ; 5) multiple methodological approaches contribute to knowledge of student success so research which provides various perspectives and uses multiple methods should be supported; and 6) student success processes vary across groups, so there are different routes that may lead to success.
Smart, J.; Ethington, C., and Feldman, K. (July 2006). Holland’s Theory and Patterns of College Student Success: Commissioned Report for the National Symposium on Postsecondary Student Success: Spearheading a Dialog on Student Success. Washington, DC: National Postsecondary Education Cooperative (NPEC). Accessed May 30, 2014 from NCES website.
Using Holland’s person-environment fit theory to examine longitudinal patterns of change and stability in college students’ self-reported learning on various college outcomes, we conclude that academic environments within postsecondary institutions are an essential component in understanding college student success. Academic environments are equally successful in promoting the learning of students whether their personalities are congruent or incongruent with these environments. We also found and analyzed two different patterns of academic success. A variety of research, policy, and practical implications are discussed in efforts to provide greater understanding and to promote higher levels of student success in postsecondary education.
Steele, G.E., Kennedy, G.J., & Gordon, V.N. (1993). The retention of major changers: A longitudinal study. Journal of College Student Development 34 (1), 58-62. UMCP McKeldin Library Periodical Stacks LB2343 .J61.
This study investigated the success of an Academic Alternatives program (ALT) developed for students considered at risk for dropping out due to indecision after a high number of credits and/or nonadmission to an intended and desired major within the university. While students were not referred to the ALT program based on class year, the referral criteria indicated that these students were likely sophomores and juniors. The program included group counseling workshops, career development resources and counseling, and a three-credit hour course designed to present academic alternatives and career-related information. There were 206 students in the ALT group and 206 in the control group. Multivariate analysis was conducted to determine the effect of the ALT program. Findings indicated those who participated in the program were more likely to feel confident about their major selection and persist until graduation. The results of this study suggested pratictioners dealing with students in transition from one major to another or from undecided to a major should recognize the opportunity to help these transitioning students through more intentional generalist advising and career exploration assistance. (Abstract from Foote et al., College Students in Transition: An Annotated Bibliography, 2013)
Talbert, P. Y. (2012). Strategies to Increase Enrollment, Retention, and Graduation Rates. Journal Of Developmental Education, 36(1), 22-36. Retrieved May 19, 2014 from EBSCO Education Complete.
Student retention in postsecondary institutions continues to be a vexing problem, as graduation rates have continued to decline over the last decade. To be a competitive force in the global economy, it is crucial to keep students in school. This research uses a conceptual data model to introduce academic leaders' (N = 104) perspectives to increase enrollment, retention, and graduation rates in higher education. The study is composed of two different facets. First, a review was conducted on a subsegment of the Minnesota Measures data regarding student enrollment and performance in two- and four- year degree programs in higher education in the state of Minnesota. Second, strategic methods are introduced from academic leaders involved in planning and developing programs to increase enrollment, retention, and graduation rates; findings provide special attention to reaching out to the minority population, first-generation students, and new attendees. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
Tinto, V. (2012). Completing College: Rethinking Institutional Action. University of Chicago Press. Available from ERIC. (Investigates factors surrounding student retention and success in higher education institutions). Accessed via ERIC on May 22, 2014.
Even as the number of students attending college has more than doubled in the past forty years, it is still the case that nearly half of all college students in the United States will not complete their degree within six years. It is clear that much remains to be done toward improving student success. For more than twenty years, Vincent Tinto's pathbreaking book "Leaving College" has been recognized as the definitive resource on student retention in higher education. Now, with "Completing College", Tinto offers administrators a coherent framework with which to develop and implement programs to promote completion. Deftly distilling an enormous amount of research, Tinto identifies the essential conditions enabling students to succeed and continue on within institutions. Especially during the early years, he shows that students thrive in settings that pair high expectations for success with structured academic, social, and financial support, provide frequent feedback and assessments of their performance, and promote their active involvement with other students and faculty. And while these conditions may be worked on and met at different institutional levels, Tinto points to the classroom as the center of student education and life, and therefore the primary target for institutional action. Improving retention rates continues to be among the most widely studied fields in higher education, and "Completing College" carefully synthesizes the latest research and, most importantly, translates it into practical steps that administrators can take to enhance student success. (Contains 11 tables.)
Tinto, V. (2007). Research and Practice of Student Retention: What Next?. Journal Of College Student Retention: Research, Theory & Practice, 8(1), 1-19. Accessed via ERIC on May 22, 2014.
After reviewing the state of student retention research and practice, past and present, the author looks to the future and identifies three areas of research and practice that call for further exploration. These concern issues of institutional action, program implementation, and the continuing challenge of promoting the success of low-income students. (Contains 10 footnotes.)
Tinto, V. and Pusser, B. (2006). “Moving From Theory to Action: Building a Model of Institutional Action for Student Success.” National Postsecondary Education Cooperative. Washington D.C: U.S. Department of Education. Accessed May 30, 2014, National Center for Education Statistics website.
Drawing upon the extensive body of research on student retention in postsecondary education, the report develops a model of institutional action that identifies types of policies and practices that institutions should adopt to increase the success of their students, in particular those of low-income backgrounds. Since institutions do not operate in a policy vacuum, the model was extended to include the impact of state policies on student success. By doing so, this report suggests not only what institutions can do to promote greater student success, but also suggests what states can do to assist institutions to achieve that goal.
Tinto, V. (2006). “Research and Practice of Student Retention: What Next?” College Student Retention: Research, Theory, and Practice. 8: 1-20.
Tinto, V. (2006). “Our Underachieving Colleges by Derek Bok”-A Review. Academe.92:114-118.
Tinto, V. (2005). Reflections on Student Retention and Persistence: Moving to a Theory of Institutional Action on Behalf of Student Success. Studies in Learning, Evaluation, Innovation and Development, 2 (December 2005).
Tinto, V. (2005). “Moving from Theory to Action” in College Student Retention: Formula for Student Success. (A. Seidman, ed.), Westport: Greenwood Publishing.
Tinto, V. (July 2004). Student Retention and Graduation: Facing the Truth, Living with the Consequences. Occasional Paper No. 1. Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education. Washington, D.C.. Accessed May 21, 2014. Pell Institute Website.
Since the National Defense Education Act of 1958, a primary objective of federal higher education policy has been to increase access to higher education for those who would not otherwise attend, especially those from low-income backgrounds. Increasing attention is now being paid to enhancing student retention and graduation, making sure that students not only get in the door of higher education but also are successful in staying there through the completion of a degree.
This paper, authored by Pell Institute Senior Scholar Vincent Tinto, provides a broad survey of what is known about why students leave college before completing a degree, and closely examines who goes to college and who graduates from college. It also presents specific action steps that the federal government can take to assure that low-income students not only get into college, but stay through the completion of their degree. The information and recommendations contained in this paper are aimed at informing the discussions surrounding the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.
Tinto, V. (2003). Student Success and the Building of Involving Educational Communities. Higher Education Monograph Series, Syracuse University, No. 2.
Tinto, V. (2003). “Establishing Conditions for Student Success.” In Improving Completion Rates Among Disadvantaged Students. (L. Thomas, M. Cooper, & J. Quinn, eds.) Stoke on Trent:Trentham Books.
Tinto, V. (2002). “Establishing Conditions for Student Success: Lessons Learned in the United States” in Under-Privileged but Not Under-Achieving (J. Astley, ed.), London: Trentham Books.
Tinto, V. (2001). “Student Retention” Higher Education in the United States: An Encyclopedia. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO Publishers.
Tinto, V. (2000). “Taking Retention Seriously: Rethinking the First Year of College” NACADA Journal, 19,2 (Fall). 5-10.
Tinto, V. (2000). “Reflections on the State of Research: What Next?” in Access Denied: Race, Ethnicity, and the Scientific Enterprise. London: Oxford University Press.
Tinto, V. (2000). "Linking Learning and Leaving: Exploring the Role of the College Classroom in Student Departure.” In J. Braxton (ed.), Reworking the Student Departure Puzzle (pp. 81-94). Nashville, Vanderbilt University Press.
Tucker, J. (1999/2000). Tinto’s Model and Successful College Transition. Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory, and Practice 1 (2), 163-175. Accessed through UMCP Research Port.
This article compares the themes of academic integration and social integration in Tinto's model (1987) with the themes of vision and sense of community as described in a recent ethnographic study (Tucker, 1998). Tinto's model has been used in a variety of college settings to develop Freshman Interest Groups as a method of improving student persistence (Upcraft & Gardiner, 1989). However, Tinto himself notes that while ". . . retention programs have helped some students complete their college education, their long-term impact on retention has been surprisingly limited" (1996). I argue that vision and sense of community contain more useful theoretical considerations to help us address the issue of student retention programs at colleges. Tinto (1987) has developed a theoretical model which may need to be reconsidered.
First Year Experience
Chaney, B. (2010). National Evaluation of Student Support Services: Examination of Student Outcomes After Six Years. Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development Policy and Program Studies Service. U.S. Department of Education. Accessed on US DOE website, May 22, 2014.
Compares the educational outcomes of Student Support Services (SSS) program participants and non-SSS program participants six years after enrolling in college as first-year students. SSS programs can offer a mix of academic and support services such as professional or peer tutoring, study labs, and instructional courses at institutions of higher education. This study was designed to estimate the impact of supplemental services on college retention, transfer, and completion using quasi-experimental methods.
Key findings include: Analytic models that account for differences in service levels generally showed positive and statistically significant effects. Participation in SSS projects as measured by the amount of services received during the freshman year is associated with moderate increases on the key measures of college retention and degree completion but neither increases nor decreases student transfers from two-year to four-year institutions and neither increases nor decreases the outcomes on some of the key measures in the HLM models. Although these models controlled for student demographics and, whenever possible, prior achievement, one limitation of this model is the potential selection bias of participants who received more services. Models that measure supplemental services regardless of whether they were offered by the SSS project are associated with positive and statistically significant effects on all outcome measures of retention, transfers, and degree completion. In addition, this report includes analyses that simply consider whether or not the student was classified as being in SSS as a college freshman. A major limitation of this analysis is that it does not account for the level of service received by SSS participants; nor does it account for the fact that comparison students may have received similar services that were not funded by the federal SSS program. This measure did not show any effect from participating in SSS as a college freshman.
Upcraft, M.L., Gardner, J.N. & Barefoot, B.O. (2004). Challenging and Supporting the First-Year Student. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Higher Education Series. Abstract accessed via ERIC on May 22, 2014.
An authoritative, comprehensive guide to the first year of college, this book includes the most current information about the policies, strategies, programs, and services designed to help first-year students make a successful transition to college and fulfill their educational and personal goals. Following the introduction, "The First Year of College Revisited," written by the editors, this book divides into six parts and 29 chapters. Part One, What We Know about Today's First-Year Students and Institutional Efforts to Help Them Succeed, contains: (1) Today's First-Year Students (Jennifer L. Crissman Ishler); (2) The Keys to First-Year Student Persistence (Jennifer L. Crissman Ishler and M. Lee Upcraft); and (3) Current Institutional Practice in the First College Year (Betsy O. Barefoot). Part Two, Recruiting and Challenging First-Year Students, contains: (4) The Enrollment Management Process (Don Hossler and Douglas K. Anderson); (5) Student Engagement in the First Year of College (George D. Kuh); and (6) Expectations and Performance (Karen Maitland Schilling and Karl L. Schilling). Part Three, Creating Campus Cultures for First-Year Student Success, contains: (7) Fostering First-Year Success of Underrepresented Minorities (Freeman A. Hrabowski, III); (8) The Realities of Diversity and the Campus Climate for First-Year Students (W. Terrell Jones); (9) Building the Foundation for First-Year Student Success in Public, Urban Universities: A Case Study (Diana S. Natalicio and Maggy Smith); (10) Inviting First-Year Student Success: A President's Perspective (Betty L. Siegel); (11) Advocating for First-Year Students (Jay Chaskes and Ralph G. Anttonen); (12) Collaborative Partnerships between Academic and Student Affairs (Charles C. Schroeder); and (13) Technology and Today's First-Year Students (Reynol Junco). Part Four, Challenging And Supporting First-Year Students In The Classroom, contains: (14) Inside the First-Year Classroom: Challenges and Constraints (Bette LaSere Erickson and Diane W. Strommer); (15) Faculty Development and the First Year (Scott E. Evenbeck and Barbara Jackson); (16) First-Year Seminars (Mary Stuart Hunter and Carrie W. Linder); (17) Developmental Education (Jeanne L. Higbee); (18) Supplemental Instruction (Deanna C. Martin and Maureen Hurley); (19) Academic Advising (Margaret C. King and Thomas J. Kerr); (20) The Place of the Library versus the Library as Place (Margit Misangyi Watts); (21) Service-Learning and the First-Year Student (Edward Zlotkowski); and (22) Learning Communities (Jodi Levine Laufgraben). Part Five, Challenging and Supporting First-Year Students outside the Classroom, contains: (23) Designing Orientation Programs (Richard H. Mullendore and Leslie A. Banahan); (24) First-Year Student Living Environments (William J. Zeller); (25) Student Support Services (John H. Schuh); and (26) The First-Year Experience and Alcohol Use (Philip W. Meilman and Cheryl A. Presley). Part Six, Assessing the First College Year, contains: (27) Assessing the First Year of College (M. Lee Upcraft); (28) A Beginner's Guide for Assessing the First College Year (M. Lee Upcraft, Jennifer L. Crissman Ishler, and Randy L. Swing); and (29) Choosing and Using Assessment Instruments (Randy L. Swing and M. Lee Upcraft). The book also contains a preface; list of references; name and subject indexes; and a conclusion: "Principles of Good Practice for the First College Year and Summary of Recommendations" (John N. Gardner, M. Lee Upcraft, and Betsy O. Barefoot).
U.S. Department of Education. (2005). A Profile of the Student Support Services Program 1998-1999 through 2001-2002.Washington, DC: Author.
Engstrom, C., & Tinto, V. (2008). Access without Support Is Not Opportunity. Change: The Magazine Of Higher Learning, 40(1), 46-50. Accessed via ERIC on May 22, 2014.
Unfortunately, too many low-income students enter college academically under-prepared, and too few find the support they need to succeed in college. As a result, their rates of completing four-year degrees continue to lag behind those of more-affluent students. The gap has not diminished in recent years--indeed it may have increased somewhat over the past decade. For too many low-income students, the open door of American higher education and the opportunity it provides has become a revolving door. Why is this the case? The answer to this important question is not simple; there are many complex forces shaping the success of low-income students. But perhaps none is as important as academic preparation. One particularly promising effort is the adaptation of learning communities to the needs of these students. With a grant from the Lumina Foundation for Education and additional support from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the authors carried out a systematic, multi-institutional, longitudinal four-year study of the impact of learning communities, and the collaborative pedagogy that underlies them, on the success of academically under-prepared, predominantly low-income students. The results show that academically under-prepared students in the learning communities were significantly more engaged in a variety of activities than similar students on their campuses, including in classroom work and in activities involving their faculty and classmates in and outside of class. The results also show that students in the learning-community programs were more apt to persist to the following academic year than their institutional peers. What might explain these results? In this article, the participants described a number of aspects of learning communities that they believed accounted for their success. (Contains 7 resources.)
Johnson, J. L. (2000/2001). Learning Communities and Special Efforts in the Retention of University Students: What Works, What Doesn't, and is the Return Worth the Investment?. Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory and Practice, 2, 3, 219-238. Accessed May 22, 2014, UMCP Research Port.
Retention has been a topic of concern and study for decades in American universities. Over the past five to ten years it has become an area in which more efforts have been focused. At a comprehensive four-year higher education institution in the northeastern United States, several special programs have been developed, implemented, and evaluated over a two-year period. The four programs are all unique in their configuration but alike in their underlying goal to increase retention. Results of this evaluative research study revealed that the two learning communities were more effective in retaining students than the two non-learning community programs.
Tinto, V. (2001). “Learning Communities in Higher Education” (with C.Engstrom, H. Hallock, & S. Riemer), Higher Education in the United States: An Encyclopedia. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO Publishers.
Psychological Interventions in Retaining Students
Psychological Interventions in Retaining Students:
Dennis, J.M., Calvillo, E., & Gonzalez, A. (2008). The role of psychosocial variables in understanding the achievement and retention of transfer students at an ethnically diverse urban university. Journal of College Student Development, 49(6), 535-550. DOI: 10.1353/csd.0.0037. Accessed via Project Muse.
A study of 1,130 transfer students (757 female, 373 male; 479 Latino/Hispanic, 267 Asian or Asian American, 125 European American, 73 African American, 58 Middle Eastern, and 66 "other") at a 4-year public university indicates that psychosocial variables are important in relation to the success of students who are diverse by many factors. Cluster analysis of academic self-efficacy, college commitment, support of peers, personal/career motivation for attending college combined with age and first-quarter GPA created 5 distinct student profile groups: a young achieving group, a mature achieving group, a low peer support group, a young low-achieving group, and a low confidence/commitment group. The groups differed significantly with regard to ethnic makeup and in subsequent trajectories of academic achievement and retention.
Taylor, V. J. & Walton, G. M. (2011). Stereotype threat undermines academic learning. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 37, 1055-1067. Gregory M. Walton’s Homepage, Stanford University.
Tough, P. (2014). Who Gets to Graduate? New York Times Magazine (May 15).
Walton, G. M. & Carr, P. B. (2012). Social belonging and the motivation and intellectual achievement of negatively stereotyped students. In M. Inzlicht & T. Schmader (Eds.) Stereotype Threat: Theory, Processes, and Application (pp. 89-106). New York: Oxford University Press. Accessed May 19, 2014. Gregory M. Walton’s Homepage, Stanford University.
Yeager, D.S., Walton, G., Brady, S.*, Akcinar, E.N.*, Paunesku, D., Keane, L., Kamentz, D., Ritter, G., … & Dweck, C.S.(in prep). [Brief pre-matriculation messages can reduce post-secondary inequality at institutional scale.], David Yaeger home page.
Yeager, D.S., Paunesku, D., Walton, G., & Dweck, C.S. (2013). How can we instill productive mindsets at scale? A review of the evidence and an initial R&D agenda. A White Paper prepared for the White House meeting on “Excellence in Education: The Importance of AcademicMindsets.” Accessed May 19, 2014. David Yeager Homepage, University of Texas, Austin.
Yeager, D.S., Walton, G., & Cohen, G.L. (2013). Addressing achievement gaps with psychological interventions. Phi Delta Kappan, 94(5), 62-65. Accessed May 19, 2014. David Yeager Homepage, University of Texas, Austin.
Yeager, D.S. & Dweck, C.S. (2012). Mindsets that promote resilience: When students believe that personal characteristics can be developed. Educational Psychologist, 47, 1-13. DOI:10.1080/00461520.2012.722805. Accessed May 19, 2014. Taylor and Francis Online.
Yeager, D.S., Bundick, M.J. & Johnson, B. (2012). The role of future work goal motives in adolescent identity development: A longitudinal mixed-methods investigation. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 37, 206-217. Accessed May 19, 2014. David Yeager Homepage, University of Texas, Austin.
Yeager, D.S. & Walton, G. (2011). Social-psychological interventions in education: They’re not magic. Review of Educational Research, 81, 267-301. Accessed May 19, 2014. David Yeager Homepage, University of Texas, Austin.
Retention and Diversity
Retention and Diversity:
ASHE (Association for the Study of Higher Education). The Status of Diversity. (2005). ASHE Higher Education Report, 31(1), 1-20. Accessed May 19, 2014. EBSCO Education Complete.
This article evaluates the response of higher education to diversity using patterns of enrollment, retention through completion of degree programs, and the institutional climate in the U.S. The number of African American students has more than doubled, and the representation of women, adult learners, and part-time students has increased considerably in universities. The overall retention of minorities, particularly African Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans, is lower than retention for white students and that overall retention is now about equal for men and women. Some campus environments are more "chilly" than welcoming, more "alienating" than involving, more hostile than encouraging.
ASHE/ERICa. Why Students Leave College. (2003). ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Report, 30(2), 43-73. Accessed May 19, 2014. EBSCO Education Complete.
Examines the factors related to retention of minority students in higher education in the U.S. Academic preparedness; Campus climate; Commitment to educational goals and the institution; Social and academic integration; Financial aid.
ASHE/ERICb. A Framework for Retention. (2003). ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Report, 30(2), 75-112. Accessed May 19, 2014. EBSCO Education Complete.
Describes the Geometric Model of Student Persistence and Achievement which provides a framework for the retention of minority students in higher education. User-friendliness of the method; Focus on the cognitive and social attributes that the student brings to campus; Institutional role in the student experience; Geometric model that allows the discussion of the dynamics between cognitive, social and institutional factors.
Cortes, K. E. (2010). Do bans on affirmative action hurt minority students? Evidence from the Texas Top 10% Plan. Economics Of Education Review, 29(6), 1110-1124. Accessed May 19, 2014. EBSCO Education Complete. doi:10.1016/j.econedurev.2010.06.004.
Abstract: In light of the recent bans on affirmative action in higher education, this paper provides new evidence on the effects of alternative admissions policies on the persistence and college completion of minority students. I find that the change from affirmative action to the Top 10% Plan in Texas decreased both retention and graduation rates of lower-ranked minority students. Results show that both fall-to-fall freshmen retention and six-year college graduation of second-decile minority students decreased, respectively, by 2.4 and 3.3 percentage points. The effect of the change in admissions policy was slightly larger for minority students in the third and lower deciles: fall-to-fall freshmen retention and six-year college graduation decreased, respectively, by 4.9 and 4.2 percentage points. Moreover, I find no evidence in support of the minority “mismatch” hypothesis. These results suggest that most of the increase in the graduation gap between minorities and non-minorities in Texas, a staggering 90%, was driven by the elimination of affirmative action in the 1990s. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
Engle, J. and O’Brien, C. [2007?]. Demography is Not Destiny: Increasing the Graduation Rates of Low-Income Students at Large Public Universities. Washington, DC: The Pell Institute for Opportunity in Higher Education. Accessed May 21, 2014. Pell Institute website.
What accounts for the differences in retention and graduation rates among large public colleges and universities that serve high numbers of low-income students? To answer this question, the Pell Institute conducted a study to examine the institutional characteristics, practices, and policies that might account for such differences. This study, funded by the Lumina Foundation for Education, continues previous research conducted by the Pell Institute that analyzed retention policies and practices at smaller public and private four-year institutions with high percentages of low-income students.
In this report, we describe differences in institutional policies and practices, as well as commonalities among the higher-performing institutions. We discuss differences between the findings from the previous study (Raising the Graduation Rates of Low-Income College Students) and this one. Finally, we consider if practices aimed at improving overall graduation rates also work for low-income students, and offer recommendations for institutions. It is our hope that the cumulative results of our two studies will be instructive for policymakers and practitioners who seek to improve the chances for success for low-income students in higher education.
Faye Carter, D. (2006). Key Issues in the Persistence of Underrepresented Minority Students. New Directions For Institutional Research, 2006(130), 33-46. doi:10.1002/ir.178. Accessed May 19, 2014. EBSCO Education Complete.
The article reports on the role of institutional research relating to the academic success, retention and persistence of minority students. It offers an overview of the gap between underrepresented minority students and other groups in the attainment of higher education degrees. It discusses the statewide study of college student retention issues and reviews research literatures relevant to understanding retention issues specifically for minority students. It suggests that changes must be made in institutional policy and practice to improve student retention.
Fincher, M., Katsinas, S., & Bush, V. (2009). Executive Management Team Demography and Minority Student Retention: Does Executive Team Diversity Influence the Retention of Minority Students?. Journal Of College Student Retention: Research, Theory & Practice, 11(4), 459-481. Accessed May 19, 2014. EBSCO Education Complete.
Many colleges and universities are expected to produce more graduates while responding to an increasing level of racial and ethnic diversity among students. While the importance of diversity within executive management leadership teams may be accepted among nonprofit higher education institutions, the connection between diversity among the leadership in higher education and the retention of minority students has not been empirically established. This study, focusing on Texas public colleges and universities, finds that: 1) a diverse executive management team makes a positive difference in minority student retention at community colleges and 4-year universities institutions; and 2) the impact of a diverse executive management team on retention is not limited to race and ethnicity, but instead includes other demographic aspects. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
Gaither, G. H. (2005). Editor's notes. New Directions For Institutional Research, 2005(125), 1-5. Accessed May 19, 2014. EBSCO Education Complete.
Looks at ways to improve the retention of minority students in higher education in the United States. Growth of higher education in the country; Increase in the number of minority students; Effect of minority student populations on higher education; Erosion of the purchasing power of non-college graduates; Retention programs at historically black colleges and universities; Role that minority institutions play in successfully graduating students of color.
Green, D. (2007). Using Qualitative Methods to Assess Academic Success and Retention Programs for Underrepresented Minority Students. New Directions For Institutional Research, (136), 41-53. Accessed May 20, 2014. ERIC.
Programs that serve underrepresented minority students have long faced many challenges. Prior to the late 1970s, higher education institutions reserved academic program slots for underrepresented minority students because these students had limited access to opportunities that afforded them credentials that their white counterparts could more easily attain. As a result of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in "Regents of the University of California v. Bakke" (1978), the use of quotas had to be discontinued; nevertheless, the need for academic success and retention programs for underrepresented minority students persisted. About twenty-five years later, the Court's decisions in "Gratz v. Bollinger" (2003) and "Grutter v. Bollinger" (2003), along with several state referenda that eliminated the use of race/ethnicity in admissions, hiring, and government contracts, placed even greater restrictions on programs that aim to serve underrepresented minority students. While programs that primarily serve minority students have had to adjust to the legal and political environment, the nature of program assessments has also changed. No longer should an assessment be purely quantitative, listing descriptive statistics that give broad and cursory synopses of the program's effectiveness. Qualitative assessments are critical for tapping into process issues that must be addressed to improve these programs. In this article, the author discusses the importance of qualitative assessment for programs created primarily to serve minority students in higher education, associated benefits and challenges, and procedures for conducting culturally competent program assessments.
Hess, S. L., Uerling, D. F., & Piland, W. E. (2012). Multicultural Graduation Requirements Among California's Community Colleges. Community College Journal Of Research & Practice, 36(12), 955-966. doi:10.1080/10668920903299478. Accessed May 19, 2014. . EBSCO Education Complete.
This examination of the current status of multicultural education among California community colleges emerged from a perspective that the inclusion of multicultural education has become a major goal of California's leaders within the past five years. The literature revealed minority students tend to have lower retention rates because they become alienated and disconnected from the campus community, and many students enter college classrooms with stereotypes and negative attitudes towards individuals outside of their racial and ethnic groups. Multicultural education is important because it helps address this issue. The study revealed that of the 109 California community colleges, only 50 colleges had a multicultural graduation requirement, which means that less than half of California's community colleges had a multicultural graduation requirement. The type of multicultural requirement in far too many cases did not include higher order thinking skills concerning multicultural education. Additionally, statistical analysis showed no relationship between the diversity of a college with regard to its students and employees and a multicultural graduation requirement. The findings suggest the state may be falling behind in its goal for multicultural education. The results of this study have implications for community colleges in California and across the country. Multicultural education should become a vital part of all community college students' educational experiences. The curriculum needs to reflect the realities of a diverse student body. [ABSTRACT FROM PUBLISHER]
Hunt, P.F., Boyd, V.S., Gast, L.K., & Mitchell, A. (2012). Why Some Students Leave College During Their Senior Year. Journal of College Student Development, 53(5), 737-742. Accessed via Project Muse.
Although many studies have examined college student attrition, no extant literature examines the phenomenon of undergraduates who discontinue their enrollment in college during a semester of their senior year. This study used both institutional and self-reported survey data to examine the rationale behind seniors' decision to leave college during a semester and before degree completion. Further, because there is a significant gap in graduation rates between first-generation and non-first-generation students, we examined statistically significant differences between first generation and non-first-generation college seniors on this issue.
Lang, M. (2002). Student Retention in Higher Education: Some Conceptual and Programmatic Perspectives. Journal Of College Student Retention, 3(3), 217-29. Accessed May 20, 2014.
Provides a review of conceptual perspectives on the salient issues affecting student retention in higher education generally, and minority student retention in particular, over the past few decades. Also summarizes programmatic strategies implemented at institutions as examples of student retention initiatives that have had significant impacts. (EV)
Liu, A. (2007). UCLA Community College Bibliography. Community College Journal Of Research And Practice, 31(8), 681-687. Accessed May 20, 2014. ERIC.
The references provided here give an overview of recent scholarship concerning students, faculty, and curriculum at urban community colleges. Organizational and institutional studies of urban community colleges are also included in this bibliography. The research in this article addresses important issues of student retention, faculty turnover, academic success, and minority populations. Urban community colleges provide higher education opportunities for significant numbers of students and, therefore, it is important to better understand their mission as well as to assess the effectiveness of programs offered. The citations in this article provide an ideal starting point for further personalized research on urban community colleges.
Opp, R. D. (2002). ENHANCING PROGRAM COMPLETION RATES AMONG TWO-YEAR COLLEGE STUDENTS OF COLOR. Community College Journal Of Research & Practice, 26(2), 147-163. doi:10.1080/106689202753385483. Accessed May 20, 2014. EBSCO Education Research Complete.
The growing proportion of students of color enrolled in postsecondary education makes the ongoing issue of their retention and program completion an increasingly important concern in higher education. Survey data from a national study of chief student affairs officers (CSAOs) on retention barriers and strategies were merged with 1995 Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System Completions Survey Data. A regression analysis was conducted to identify the significant predictors of program completion rates for students of color at 573 two-year colleges. An institution's program completion rate for students of color was used as a proxy measure for its success in retaining students of color. Demographic and institutional characteristics that entered as predictors included having a CSAO of color and being a two-year college in a large city. Retention strategies that entered as predictors included having individuals of color serve on the board of trustees and having minority peer tutoring programs. The percentages of faculty and administrators of color, and the amount of contact that CSAOs have with students of color, entered as the strongest predictors. Two-year colleges reap the benefit of faculty-student and peer interactions in the form of greater institutional success in increasing their program completion rates for students of color. Two-year college policy makers, administrators, and faculty can use the results of this study to promote equity and maximize talent development by designing and implementing retention policies and practices that enhance program completion rates for students of color. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
Swail, W., ASHE (Association for the Study of Higher Education), ERIC Clearinghouse on Higher Education, W. C., & George Washington Univ., W. t. (2003). Retaining Minority Students in Higher Education: A Framework for Success. ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Report. Jossey-Bass Higher and Adult Education Series. Accessed May 21, 2014. ERIC.
In the last decade, the rates of enrollment and retention of many students of color have declined. Access and completion rates for African American, Hispanic, and Native American students have always lagged behind white and Asian students, as have those for low-income students and students with disabilities. Because students of color often make up a much smaller percentage of students in studies, their experiences and needs are often lost and go undetected. As the authors note, the United States will become significantly less white over the next 50 years, so these issues are becoming more urgent. We must have institution-wide programs to improve the graduation rates of minority students. Pre-college preparation, admission policies, affirmative action, and financial aid are important factors, but campus-wide support, from the chancellor's office to the classroom, is critical to success. This ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Report is intended as a reference for key stakeholders regarding the realities of and strategies for student retention. It is our hope that it will serve as a compass for those with the complex task of improving retention. (Author)
McCabe, R. H., & American Association of Community Colleges, W. C. (2000). No One To Waste: A Report to Public Decision-Makers and Community College Leaders. Accessed May 21, 2014. Accessed May 14, 2014. ERIC.
Twenty-five community colleges participated in a study that tracked 71 percent of 592 students who successfully enrolled in a remedial program in 1990. Follow-up interviews of program completers gathered information about further education, employment, family, and facts about post-remedial life. A criminal justice search was also conducted on the entire study cohort. These data were the basis for this first comprehensive national study on community college remedial education students. The study found that most successfully remediated students perform well in standard college work, gravitate to occupational programs or direct employment, and become productively employed. While a majority of the remedial students were white non-Hispanic, ethnic minorities were overrepresented in the cohort and even more so in a seriously deficient student sub-cohort, confirming that remedial education is a significant issue for ethnic minorities. While community college remedial programs are cost effective, most colleges fail to use the substantial research concerning successful remedial education, and do not fund programs at a level necessary for successful results. Recommendations include: (1) giving remedial education higher priority and greater institutional and legislative support; (2) requiring assessment and placement of all entering students; and (3) developing a national guide to assist colleges in developing effective remedial education programs. (Contains 15 figures and tables, 45 references and 63 pages.) (PGS)
Bryk, A. S., & Treisman, U. (2010). Make Math a Gateway, Not a Gatekeeper. Chronicle Of Higher Education, 56(32), B19-B20. Accessed May 19, 2014. EBSCO Education Research Complete.
The article presents the authors' opinions on college students' barrier to graduation because of remedial math. The authors note that to earn a degree, certificate, or license, community-college students must complete a college-level math course. They suggest that students' don't understand the relationship between remedial math requirements and the competencies needed for future success. The statistics pathway that is being developed by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching that will offer an alternative to the developmental-mathematics sequence is discussed.
Chang, M. J., Cerna, O., Han, J., & Saenz, V. (2008). The Contradictory Roles of Institutional Status in Retaining Underrepresented Minorities in Biomedical and Behavioral Science Majors. Review Of Higher Education, 31(4), 433-464. Accessed May 20, 2014. ERIC.
This study examines factors that contribute to the chances of retaining underrepresented minority (URM) students in an undergraduate biomedical or behavioral science major. Of particular interest is the extent to which institutional status, as related to undergraduate selectivity, student perceptions, and other institutional characteristics, affects those chances of retention, given that this issue is relevant to current policy debates regarding access to quality higher education. Policies such as race-conscious admissions practices, for example, attempt to increase the proportion of URM students attending the most selective colleges and universities. The authors employ two differing theoretical viewpoints about the impact of such policies on college students' chances of academic success to inform and frame this study. According to anticipatory socialization theory, attending "higher status" institutions should improve one's chances of persisting. Conversely, the "mismatch hypothesis" claims that URM students lower their odds of achieving their initial educational goals when they attend highly selective institutions where the White and Asian students are academically better prepared. By extension, applying race-conscious admissions in higher education mismatches URM students and dampens their academic or career aspirations. This study empirically examines this running debate in the context of concerns raised about the nation's capacity to fulfill science-related interests, especially as they relate to the growing presence of the racial/ethnic minority populations in U.S. society. Findings indicate that all students, irrespective of their race, academic preparation, or motivation, are at greater risk of failing among high achievers at highly selective institutions where the undergraduate student body is mostly White and Asian. (Contains 3 tables and 1 figure.)
Drane, D., Smith, H. H., Light, G., Pinto, L., & Swarat, S. (2005). The Gateway Science Workshop Program: Enhancing Student Performance and Retention in the Sciences Through Peer-Facilitated Discussion. Journal Of Science Education & Technology, 14(3), 337-352. doi:10.1007/s10956-005-7199-8. Accessed May 19, 2014. EBSCO Education Gateway.
Minority student attrition and underachievement is a long-standing and widespread concern in higher education. It is especially acute in introductory science courses which are prerequisites for students planning to pursue science-related careers. Poor performance in these courses often results in attrition of minorities from the science fields. This is a particular concern at selective universities where minority students enter with excellent academic credentials but receive lower average grades and have lower retention rates than majority students with similar credentials. This paper reports the first year results of a large scale peer-facilitated workshop program designed to increase performance and retention in Biology, Chemistry, and Physics at a selective research university. After adjusting for grade point average or SAT-Math score, workshop participants earned higher final grades than nonparticipants in Biology and Chemistry, but not in Physics. Similar effects on retention were found. While, positive effects of the program were observed in both majority and minority students, effect sizes were generally largest for minority students. Because of practical constraints in Physics, implementation of the program was not optimal, possibly accounting for the differential success of the program across disciplines. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
Gafney, L. (2010). State University of New York Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation: Report on Best Practices. Online Submission. Accessed May 21, 2014. ERIC.
This report is the based on a 10-year study of the activities developed under a National Science Foundation (NSF) Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) grant to a collaborative of institutions from the State University of New York. The goals of LSAMP are to recruit and retain under-represented minority students in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) disciplines and encourage these students, as appropriate, to apply to and enter graduate programs in the sciences. The study used a logic model, considering resources, activities, and outcomes. The report provides details of major strategies adopted by the alliance and in each area summarizes what the evaluation and research found were best practices leading to success. The areas identified were: local organizational arrangements to administer the grant; undergraduate research; academic support; process skills needed in college; social support and community building; interest in graduate school; and success in graduate school. In each area, the conclusions are based on data and analysis obtained from surveys, site visits, interviews, focus groups, and observations of meetings. The study also reviews relevant literature, providing additional documentation for conclusions and recommendations. Student voices are heard in numerous quotes and a comprehensive survey (N = 82) asking about adjustment to and progress in college. The report will be useful to anyone involved with programs that support students in higher education. The best practices contain guidelines for implementation and show the connections between program activities and student success. (Contains 5 tables.)
Hurtado, S., Newman, C. B., Tran, M. C., & Chang, M. J. (2010). Improving the Rate of Success for Underrepresented Racial Minorities in STEM Fields: Insights from a National Project. New Directions For Institutional Research, (148), 5-15. Accessed May 20, 2014. ERIC.
In this article, the authors report on research that aims to understand diversity in STEM and the principles of good practice in undergraduate science education that will improve rates of degree attainment and advancement into graduate studies in related fields among underrepresented racial minorities (URMs). Although students' precollege characteristics are important determinants of degree completion, Seymour (1992) suggests that many talented students do not pursue scientific research careers. To better understand what factors influence URM students' success, the UCLA Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) selected a targeted sample of college students who are majoring in biomedical and behavioral sciences and other STEM fields. We use data obtained through the Cooperative Institutional Research Program's (CIRP) 2004 Freshman Survey (TFS) and the 2005 Your First College Year (YFCY) survey, which were administered during fall orientation and at the end of the freshman year. Using this national data set with the 2004 cohort as a baseline, the authors have sought to identify the conditions and practices within colleges and universities that increase retention in STEM and prepare students for graduate study and STEM-related careers. The authors summarize findings and offer implications from the first phase of this national longitudinal study.
Subotnik, R. F., Tai, R. H., Rickoff, R., & Almarode, J. (2010). Specialized Public High Schools of Science, Mathematics, and Technology and the STEM Pipeline: What Do We Know Now and What Will We Know in 5 Years?. Roeper Review, 32(1), 7-16. doi:10.1080/02783190903386553. Accessed May 19, 2014. EBSCO Education Complete.
Specialized public high schools of science, mathematics, and technology are commonly viewed as the “crown jewel” of their respective school districts and, many times, of their respective states. These schools are intended to coalesce the most academically talented, science-focused students in each district or state and typically draw excellent teachers as well. As the nation considers policies to address Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education issues, options for additional functions are likely to arise. Currently no existing studies provide a comprehensive analysis of the contribution these schools make over and above regular high schools to the STEM pipeline. This article presents the extant literature on variables that have been shown to predict participation in STEM careers on the part of adolescents in and out of specialized high schools. The literature review is followed by a description of a recently embarked 3-year National Science Foundation (NSF)-sponsored study designed to answer the following questions: Are specialized STEM high-school graduates more likely to remain in the STEM pipeline than students with similar achievement and interests who attended regular public high schools? Which educational/instructional practices used by specialized STEM high schools are associated with higher STEM pipeline retention rates in college and higher rates of entrance into STEM-related professions? [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]