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  • *Dr. Wes HableyPrincipal AssociateEducational ServicesACT, Inc.What works in student retentionEnhancing thepersistence of developmental education studentsApril 16, 2010

  • *TOPICSDefinitionsCurrent retention and persistence to degree ratesWhat works in student retention studyCOMPASS and Student Readiness Inventory (SRI) as retention tools

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    Types of AttritionExpected and Justifiedrealized a goal other than a degree/certificateStopping Outnot on our timeframeUnnecessary and subject to institutional intervention

  • *RETENTIONThe process of holding or keeping in ones possession

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    The process or state of being gradually worn down.

    ATTRITIONMigrant Mother, Dorothea LangeLibrary of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division[ reproduction number LC-USF34-9058-C]

  • *PERSISTENCETo continue to exist or prevail

  • *Retention Trends1983-2009 Freshman-Sophomore Year

    Highest %Lowest %Current %Two-Year Public 53.7(08,09)51.3(04)53.7BA/BS Public70.0(04) 66.4(96,05)67.6MA/MS Public71.6(06)68.1(89)69.8PhD Public78.1(04)72.9(08)74.4Two-year Private72.6(92)55.5(08)55.5BA/BS Private74.0(89)69.6(08)69.9MA/MS Private78.0(85)72.3(08)72.0PhD Private85.0(85)80.4(08)80.6

  • *Completion Trends1983-2009Two-year Colleges Graduation in 3 years or lessMore than one third of developmental students earn an associates degree (McCabe 2000)

    Highest %Lowest %Current %Public38.8(89)27.1(07)28.3Private66.4(90)50.2(08)51.6ALL44.0(89)28.9(07)30.8

  • *Completion Trends1983-2009 Four-year Public Colleges Graduation in 5 years or less

    Highest %Lowest %Current %

    BA/BS Public52.8(86)39.6(06)43.0MA/MS Public46.7(86)37.0(00)38.4PhD Public50.6(89,90)45.0(01)48.7

    BA/BS Private57.5(06)53.3(01)55.9MA/MS Private58.4(88)53.5(01)54.8PhD Private68.8(86)63.1(05)65.1

  • *What Works..Survey DetailsOverall responsesMailing: 3360 institutionsUsable returns: 1104 (32.9%)Response rates:Technical Colleges: 70 (28.2%)Community Colleges: 305 (32.1%)Four-Year public: 258 (43.1%)Four-year private: 440 (33.3%)

  • *Survey DetailsSurvey sectionsBackground Retention and degree completion rates Factors affecting attrition Retention practices Highest impact programs

  • *What Works..Disclaimer The data reported in this survey are based on the perspectives of the individuals who responded to the survey. In some cases responses were informed by data collected at the respondents institution. It is inappropriate to suggest that there is an empirical relationship between any factor or intervention and student retention.

  • *Section III: Factors affecting attrition42 factors listedTo what degree does each factor affect attrition at your school5 = Major effect on attrition43 = Moderate effect on attrition21 = Little or no effect on attrition

  • *Highest Rated Factors in Attrition

    FactorTechC.C.4-pub4-privLevel of student preparation for college workAdequacy of personal financial resourcesLevel of student commitment to earning a degreeLevel of student motivation to succeedStudent study skills

  • *Highest Rated Factors in Attrition

    FactorTechC.C.4-pub4-privStudent low socio-economic statusAmount of financial aid available to studentsStudent institution fitLevel of job demands on studentsStudent family responsibilities

  • *Additional High Contributions to Attrition (Community College)student personal coping skills student educational aspirations and goals level of certainty about career goals level of emotional support from family, friends, and significant others student first-generation status level of job demands on students

  • *Comparing Attrition FactorsTop quartile first to second year community college retention rates (high performers) v. bottom quartile first to second year retention rates (low performers)High = 69 institutionsLow = 70 institutionsAll contributions to attrition rated 3.5 or higher by community collegesDifferential between high and low performers of .2 or greater

  • *High/Low Attrition DifferencesITEMlevel of student preparation for college-level worklevel of student commitment to earning a degreestudent personal coping skills


    4.1 4.4

    3.8 4.1

    3.4 3.6

  • *Why do we have a problem?We have.. a beautiful campus great facilities a rich set of co-curricular experiences excellent academic programs an outstanding faculty

  • *The problem must be that we have the. WRONG STUDENTS

  • *John Gardner comments. It is disturbing to note.that in spite of all we know about student retention that institutions are still inclined to hold students responsible for their retention/attrition while dramatically minimizing the institutional role in student retention.

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  • *Section IV Retention Interventions94 identified retention practices2 wild cardsTwo sub-sections:Is this intervention offered? (yes or no)If it is offered, rate the contribution to retentionFive-point Rating Scale5 = Major Contribution to Retention43 = Moderate Contribution to Retention21 = Little or no contribution to Retention

  • *Section IV Retention Intervention ClustersFirst-year transition programs (8 items)Academic advising (15)Assessment (9)Career Planning and Placement (6)Learning Assistance/Academic Support (19)Mentoring (4)Faculty Development (7)Financial Aid (3)Co-curricular Services/Programs for specific sub-populations (10)Other activities/programs (10)

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    Highest Rated Interventions

    InterventionTechC.C.4-pub4-privComprehensive learning assistance center/labReading center/labAdvising interventions with selected student populationsIncreased number of academic advisorsAcademic advising center

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    Highest Rated Interventions

    FactorTechC.C.4-pub4-privTutoringProgram for first generation studentsSummer bridge programWriting center/lab

  • *Additional Highly Rated Interventions (Community Colleges)mandated placement of students in courses based on test scoresremedial/developmental coursework (required) mathematics center/lab

  • *Combining Percentage of Use with Item Means Percentage of Institutions offering a specific intervention (INCIDENCE)

    Top one-thirdMiddle one-thirdLowest one-thirdHighest rateditemsLowest rateditems

  • * This is not rocket science!

  • *GOOD BETS: Community Collegescomprehensive learning assistance center/lab (4.1)tutoring (4.1)mandated placement of students in courses based on test scores (4.1)remedial/developmental coursework (required) (4.1)writing center/lab (4.0)mathematics center/lab (4.0)advising interventions with selected student populations (3.9)academic advising center (3.9)supplemental instruction (3.8)

  • *CONSIDER: Community Collegesreading center/lab (4.1)increased number of academic advisors (4.0)first-generation students (4.0)recommended placement of students in courses based on test scores (3.9)remedial/developmental coursework (recommended) (3.8)international students (3.7)diagnostic academic skills assessment (3.7)racial/ethnic minority students (3.7)freshman seminar/university 101 (credit) (3.7)

  • *SLEEPERS: Community Collegesintegration of advising with first-year transition programs (3.9)organized student study groups (3.8)extended freshman orientation (credit) (3.7)foreign language center/lab (3.7)peer mentoring (3.7)staff mentoring (3.6)

  • *BEST BETS: Technical Collegescomprehensive learning assistance center/labmathematics center/labsupplemental instructiondiagnostic academic skills assessmentinternshipscooperative educationtraining for faculty academic advisorstraining for non-faculty academic advisorstutoring specified student learning outcomes (syllabus) for advisingmandated placement of students in courses based on test scores

  • *CONSIDER: Technical Collegesreading center/labwriting center/labassessment of faculty academic advisorsincreased number of academic advisors performance contracts for students in academic difficultyfirst-generation students

  • *SLEEPERS: Technical Collegesfreshman seminar/university 101 (non-credit)summer bridge programforeign language center/labintegration of advising with first-year transition programs enhanced/modified faculty reward system

  • *DATA - !%!%*&&@!BORING!

  • * Top 3 InterventionsCommunity Collegesmandated placement of students in courses based on test scores - 36%tutoring - 22%remedial/developmental coursework (required) - 20%

  • *Retention and Pass Rates of Developmental Students

    Subject Developmental Course Pass Rate in First Area Retention Rate Pass Rate College Credit Course Reading 83% 76% 69%Writing 83% 73% 64% Math 80% 68% 58%

    Gerlaugh, Thompson, Boylan, and Davis (2005)

  • * Top 3 InterventionsCommunity Collegesmandated placement of students in courses based on test scores - 36%tutoring - 22%remedial/developmental coursework (required) - 20%comprehensive learning assistance center/lab 14%academic advising center - 12%

  • *Top 3 InterventionsCommunity Collegesearly warning system - 12%freshman seminar/university 101 (credit) 10%summer orientation - 10%training for faculty academic advisors - 10%

    40 interventions between 1% and 9%45 interventions not mentioned at all

  • *Top 3 InterventionsTechnical Collegesearly warning system 26%Internships 20%mandated placement of students in courses based on test scores 18%remedial/developmental coursework (required) 18%tutoring 16%individual career counseling - 14