College Success is a Success

This past fall, EvCC scaled up its college success course, now known as College 101. The course is designed to give students the skills they need to be effective college students. The long term goal is to increase student success, particularly student completions. A short term indicator of success is retention. Table 1 shows the retention rate for course takers and non-takers in the target population, which was all new degree-seeking students except for Running Start students.* The data show that course takers were 17% more likely to return in the winter than non-takers.

table 1

Table 2 looks at the same numbers but for different subgroups within the target population. Transfer-Specific students indicated a specific program of study (e.g., business, biology, history) for their associate’s degree. Transfer-General students indicated that they intend to transfer but did not choose a specific program. Undeclared students are completely undeclared with regard to both program and transfer/prof tech. In all four cases, the College 101 course is associated with higher retention, and the highest relative benefit is for undeclared students.

table 2

Because students self-selected into the class, there is the possibility that differences observed are the result of selection bias. This concern cannot be entirely eliminated, but the course-takers and non-takers have roughly similar levels of placement into college math which is a rough indication that they are more or less equally prepared for college. While there can be no definitive evaluations after so short a time, these data are certainly encouraging.

* Some programs have integrated the college success curriculum into their program curriculum. Students in these programs are excluded from this analysis.

2 responses to “College Success is a Success

  1. Earl Martin

    This data also tells us that students who do not have a clear educational/career goal established are less likely to continue …. independent if they took this College 101 or not.

    Both the class takers and the non-class takers data show that “Transfer – General” (AKA undecided) and Undeclared (AKA really undecided) were consistently the two lowest retention groups.

    This strikes me as more empirical support for the importance of career counseling services and other strategies to help students to identify their educational/career goal(s).

    Having a clear goal, purpose and pathway is critical to student success.

  2. Jason Pfau

    To the Institutional Research Department:

    I am not sure that those that register for College 101 are entirely “Self-Directed.” When meeting with new / prospective students I told many of them that they were required to take College 101, and my colleagues did the same. This being said, the student that chooses to enroll in College 101 because they believe in its value / use, might already possess the specific knowledge and skills that College 101 is meant to inculcate, and thus there probably is a selection bias.

    Thank you for conducting this research and posting it for all to read and discuss!