Student Outcomes 1Running head: COMMUNITY COLLEGE STUDENT OUTCOMES Factors Influencing Community College Student Outcomes Robin Garza Texas State University-San Marcos
Student Outcomes 2 Factors Influencing Community College Student Outcomes Community college student outcomes are a measurement of the success rate of thecommunity college in the students achieving their goals. Community college student outcomesmay be measured in several ways. Many vocational fields require the graduate to hold a license.Determining the passing rate of a credentialing exam is one way to measure outcomes.Calculating the rate of employment in the field of education is another. Students who areplanning on earning an associate’s degree and transferring to a university, the rate at which eitheror both of these happen are another (Cohen and Brawer, 2008, p407). Institutional factors havebeen identified, as well as some student factors. Determining what factors are influencing theoutcomes at each institution will enable the institution to improve the student outcomes bymaking changes in either the governance of the institution, teaching methods employed, or in theprograms that assist the students. Definitions of Terms The community college student was defined as successful if they obtained any degree, ortransferred to a four year institution (Bailey and Calcagno, 2005). Cohen (1993) defined transferrate as all students entering community college in a given year with no prior college experienceand completed at least 12 college credit hours divided by the number of that group who take oneor more classes at a university within four years. Contingent faculty is defined by Jaeger (2008)as full time tenure ineligible faculty, graduate students, post doctoral researchers, full timeadministrators and part time faculty. Calcagno, Crosta, Bailey and Jenkins (2007) defined theolder student as those that enter college for the first time and are 25 years old or older. Thestudent-right-to-know (SRK) method of calculating graduation rates is based on first time full
Student Outcomes 3time students entering at one time and finishing within 150 percent of the time they would beexpected to graduate. Nontraditional students are defined as students who hold full time jobs,have family responsibilities, and typically do not have external financial support for their studies(Philibert, Allen, and Elleven (2008). Stopped out is defined as students temporarily leavingcollege (Calcagno, Crosta, Bailey and Jenkins, 2007). Measurements of Outcomes Community colleges are very different than four year colleges in that many communitycollege students already have university degrees. The mission of the community college is verydifferent than the four year university. The community college mission is broader andencompasses career and occupational programs, developmental education, and transfer coursesfor science or liberal arts (Seybert, 2002).General Education Outcomes These can be assessed by standardized tests, follow up surveys, student portfolios, finalprojects, and capstone experiences and courses.Transfer Outcomes Most outcomes from transfer students from two year to four year colleges are assessedthrough surveys and academic performance data. One model evaluated how community collegestudents did in a particular course compared to those who took the prerequisite course at auniversity. The results were very similar (Quanty, Dixon, and Ridley 1998). This was called acourse based model of transfer success. A comparison of all transfer students from community colleges in Kansas to all four yearcolleges in Kansas found that there was little difference between the community college studentsand the all four year university students except for a temporary drop in grade point average
Student Outcomes 4(GPA). The all four year college students graduated at a higher rate than the transfer students(Seybert, 2002). The lateral transfer of students from one community college to another may adverselyaffect the outcomes of the college from which the student transferred. The student may bereflected as a drop out rather than transferring out and give the college a higher attrition rate(Bahr, 2009) (Bailey et al 2006).Career and Occupational Outcomes Measurement of career and occupational outcomes may be done by survey of employersand graduates. Placement in the work force and salary information determines outcome. Passingof credentialing exams is another good way to assess outcome. Career and occupationaloutcomes have had greater success in that there are more concrete ways to evaluate the studentoutcomes (Seybert, 2002). Institutional Factors The institutional characteristics are size, number of contingent faculty, balance betweencertificate and degrees awarded, student services offered, and the governance of the communitycollege.Tutoring A study conducted by Hendrikson, Yang, Love, and Hall (2005) demonstrated thatacademic support services such as, one on one tutoring, study groups, computer aided instructionand helping students develop learning strategies improved student outcomes. They compared thetutored student to the nontutored students and found that tutored students had a higher gradepoint average and retention rate. This study did not address the fact that students going totutoring may be more motivated to succeed than nontutored students.
Student Outcomes 5Size Bailey and Calcagno (2005) and Bailey et al (2006) found that graduation rates go downas the school size increases.Number of contingent faculty There are lower graduation rates in colleges with more part time faculty (Bailey andCalcagno, 2005). A study conducted by Jaeger (2008) found that a student that had between76-100 percent of their first year credits taught by contingent faculty were significantly lesslikely to persist than those students with less than 25 percent contingent faculty taughtcoursework. Student exposure to contingent faculty of gatekeeper coursework had a negativeeffect on student persistence. In this study, for every 10 percent of exposure to a contingentfaculty member there was a one percent drop in students’ likelihood to earn a bachelor’s degree.The average community college student spends 50 percent of their time with contingent faculty;therefore this indicates a five percent decrease in their chances of completing an associatedegree. The effect of contingent faculty on students’ likeliness to transfer to four year degreeuniversity doubled their chances of not transferring. Two possible reasons were identified in thisstudy. One is students who have access to their instructors do better, and contingent faculty arenot as available as full time faculty. Another is lack of institutional support for part time facultyas in office space, computers, and technological support.Financial Examining SRK data, it was determined that a greater instructional expenditure per fulltime equivalents is related to higher graduation rates (Bailey, Calcagno, Jenkins, Leinbach, andKienzl, 2006)Corporatization
Student Outcomes 6 A greater emphasis on occupational training or workforce development lowers graduationrates (Bailey and Calcagno, 2005). Corporatization of community colleges results in the over use of contingent faculty. Fulltime faculty salaries are kept low because there is a large pool of adjunct faculty to teach thecourses. This overloads the full time faculty with administrative duties. This situation isdetrimental to faculty, students and the quality of education (Jones, 2008). Student FactorsAge In a study conducted by Calcagno, Crosta, Bailey and Jenkins (2007a), it was found thatolder students were more likely to complete a degree after accounting for and controlling forcognitive mathematics ability. Prior research suggested that older students were less likely tocomplete a degree. This study removed factors that sometimes contribute to not completingcommunity college, like part time students, students with children, and stopping out. This studyconfirms that older students graduate less but not because they are older, but because they needto refresh their math skills. This study did not include socioeconomic information. Instead theyused an indicator as in those students receiving a Pell Grant. A second paper published by Calgagno, Crosta, Bailey, and Jenkins (2007b), used asample of 29,421 traditional age students of 17-20 year olds and a sample of 5,652 older studentsof 25-65 year olds. On entrance exams the traditional age students scored higher in math and theolder students scored higher in English. On five separate measures or milestone, youngerstudents completed a higher percentage of programs than the older students. Enrolling inremedial education had more of a negative impact on younger students than it did on olderstudents. This study found that after controlling for ability, older students were more likely to
Student Outcomes 7graduate. Traditional age students who reached the milestones of 10 or 20 credits were morelikely to achieve a degree than traditional age students who did not reach these milestones early.Minorities Colleges with greater numbers of minority students have lower graduation rates (Baileyand Calcagno, 2005) (Bailey et al., 2006). A study conducted by Jenkins (2007) found thatminority students have more success at colleges that have programs targeted to makingminorities feel welcome, such as, a minority inclusive campus environment and specializedretention services for minorities. Some respondents of the survey in this study felt that allcommunity college students face obstacles and special treatment should not be given to minoritystudents. Others interviewed felt that as long as there is a gap in the success rate betweenminority and white students, special efforts are needed.Nontraditional Students In a study conducted by Philibert, Allen and Elleven (2008) it was found that thenontraditional student made up 73 percent of undergraduate students. Sixty-four percent of thesenontraditional students attended community college. Only 11 of the total 311 respondents in thissurvey were strictly traditional students. Age was not used as a factor in classifying thenontraditional student for this study. The findings suggest that the number of young studentswith the burdens and baggage previously associated with older students is more than expected.Student populations differ in how they approach the requirements of the classroom. This researchsuggested that institutions that tailor their requirements to the traditional student, shouldreevaluate and consider the needs of the nontraditional student.Socioeconomics
Student Outcomes 8 A study conducted by Bailey and Calcagno (2005) found that the financial resources of acommunity college did not influence outcomes. Individual characteristics play a greater role inoutcomes than institutional factors. Well prepared students with economic resources are likely todo well. Students with personal and financial responsibility challenges have a greater degree ofdifficulty even in a strong college.Remediation According to a study by Bettinger and Long (2005), 55 percent of first year students oftraditional age in community college take remedial courses. Sixty percent of these studentsenrolled in remedial math and 40 percent enrolled in remedial English. A larger percentage of thestudents in remedial classes are minorities. Full time students who were in remediation complete5.4 fewer college credits than students not in remediation. Students who were in remediationwere 15 percent more likely to have stopped out of college and not receive a two year degree.Remedial math students were also less likely to transfer to a university and four percent lesslikely to complete a four year degree. Similar findings were discovered for students that hadtaken remedial English. Comparing students in remediation to students with similar precollegetest score who did not take remedial classes demonstrated a 15 percent increase in studentstransferring to a university. English remediation did not show any conclusive results one way oranother. Conclusion Measuring outcomes of community colleges is very different than measuring outcomes ofsecondary or university programs. Community colleges have a very different mission and caterto a unique set of students. Students making lateral transfers can also make determiningoutcomes difficult. A student may leave one institution and complete a program or degree at
Student Outcomes 9another institution. This will result in a successful outcome only for the second institution.Vocational programs have very measurable outcomes because the students, in most cases, needto pass a credentialing exam. It can be a little more difficult to follow every student as they enterthe workforce. Determining the reasons for good or poor outcomes is important so thatinstitutions and faculty can make adjustments to improve the success rate of the students. This literature review focused on the institutional factors and student factors thatinfluenced outcomes. Tutoring is an institutional factor that has a very direct impact on students.Tutoring has shown to raise the GPA and also increase the retention rate. Many communitycolleges offer free tutoring to its students or prospective students. Student that do attend tutoringare often more motivated learners. This may influence the results of research on tutoring andoutcomes. The size of the community college seems to influence the graduation rate in thatgraduation rates go down as the community college size goes up. The research reviewed did notoffer an explanation for this. There needs to be further research in this area to identify the causeof this apparent phenomenon. The greater the number of part time faculty in an institutionadversely effects the quality of education. It is well documented in current research that thestudent persistence rate and the likelihood of a student obtaining a degree decreased with anincreased number of contingent faculty. Many community colleges use a large number of parttime faculty. There needs to be more research in this area to help affect change in the governanceof community colleges, by hiring more full time faculty. Examining SRK data it was determinedthat greater expenditure per full time equivalent, the higher the graduation rates. There should bemore research in this area. More financial support for community college is proposed to beavailable by the federal government. Before more money is added to the community collegecoffers, it is important to know what type of institutional factors will improve community college
Student Outcomes 10student outcomes. Many community colleges are training workers for the community. Many ofthese programs use part time faculty. This may be because the faculty are still working in thelocal companies. They are paid less than full time faculty and they dont receive benefits.Community colleges that have a greater emphasis on workforce education are shown to havelower graduation rates. This may be because of the greater number of part time faculty. Moreresearch in this area should be conducted to determine the reason for the lower graduation ratesof these community colleges. Research suggest that older students were less likely to complete a degree, however,research that eliminated factors that contribute to not completing a degree found that olderstudents are more likely to complete a degree. Factors that contribute to a student not completinga degree are financial responsibilities, family responsibilities, and working and going to school.These are all things more commonly affecting the older student, but Philibert, Allen, and Elleven(2008) found that more and more younger students are affected by these issues also. Researchalso shows that older students returning to school have weak math skills. This is speculated to bebecause of the student being rusty in math because they have not used math as much as they useEnglish skills in their day to day life. A possible result of this research is for community collegesto offer math refresher courses or workshops instead of a whole semester of remedial education.Research shows that traditional aged students who require remedial English have less of a chanceof completing a degree. It was suggested that high schools should do a better job in preparingthese students for college. It is not clear whether the students who need remedial education areless likely to complete a degree because of time constraints or because of lack of ability. Moreresearch should be done in this area. More focused and of shorter duration type of remedialclasses may be more helpful. Community colleges with greater numbers of minority students
Student Outcomes 11have a lower graduation rate. It is not entirely clear as to the cause of this. One communitycollege had targeted programs to make the minority feel more welcome. They also hadspecialized retention services geared toward minority students. This improved the graduationrates at these community colleges for minority students. More research should be conducted inthis area to determine the cause of the difficulties that minority students have in communitycollege. In the mean time, more community colleges should make efforts to have programs thatare more inclusive of minority students. While institutional factors are important, the greater role in outcomes comes from theindividual students. The well prepared students with economic resources and have parents thatalso attended college are most likely to complete their goals.
Student Outcomes 12 ReferencesBahr, P. R. (2009). College hopping: Exploring the occurrence, frequency, and consequences of lateral transfer. The Community College Review, 36(4),271-298.Bailey, T. Calcagno, J. C., Jenkins, D., Kienzel, G. & Leinbach, T. (2005, October). Community college student success: What institutional characteristics make a difference? Community College Research Center Working Paper No. 3, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY.Bailey, T. Calcagno, J. C., Jenkins, D., Leinbach, T., & Kienzl, G. (2006). Is student right to know all you should know? An analysis of community college graduation rates. Research in Higher Education, 47(5), 491-519.Bettinger, E. P., & Long, B. T. (2005, Spring). Remediation at the community college: Student participation and outcomes. New Directions for Community Colleges, 129.Calcagno, J. C., Crosta, P., Bailey, T., & Jenkins, D. (2007a). Does age of entrance affect community college completion probabilities? Evidence from a discrete time hazard model. Education Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 29(3), 218-236.Calcagno, J. C., Crosta, P., Bailey, T., & Jenkins, D. (2007b). Stepping stones to a degree: The impact of enrollment pathways and milestones on community college student outcomes. Research in Higher Education, 48(7), 775-801.Cohen, A. M. (1993, April). Analyzing community college student transfer rates. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Atlanta, GA.
Student Outcomes 13Hendrikson, S. I., Yang, L., Love, B., & Hall, M. C. (2005). Assessing academic support: The effects of tutoring on student learning outcomes. Journal of College Reading and Learning, 35(2), 56-65.Jaeger, A. J. (2008). Contingent faculty and student outcomes. Academe, 94(6), 42-43.Jenkins, D. (2007). Institutional effectiveness and student success: A study of high and low impact community colleges. Community College Journal of Research and Practice, 31, 945-962.Jones, J. A. (2008). Foundations of corporatization: Lessons from the community college. The History Teacher, 41(2), 213-217.McPhee, S. (2006). En route to the baccalaureate: Community college student outcomes. American Association of Colleges, RB-06, 1-12.Philibert, N., Allen, J., & Elleven, R. (2008). Nontraditional students in community colleges and the model of college outcomes for adults. Community College Journal of Research and Practice, 32, 582-596.Quanty, M., Dixon, R., & Ridley, D. (1998). A new paradigm for evaluating transfer success. Assessment Update, 10(2), 12-13.Seybert, J. A. (2002, Spring). Assessing student learning outcomes. New Directions for Community Colleges. 117.Syed, S., & Mojock, C. R. (2008). Assessing community college student learning outcomes: Where are we? Whats next? Community College Journal of Research and Practice, 32, 843-856.