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Success in the first year of college: Achievement, Development and Retention.

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Presentation on theme: "Success in the first year of college: Achievement, Development and Retention."— Presentation transcript:

1 Success in the first year of college: Achievement, Development and Retention

2 Members of the College Board Academic Assembly Council Moderator: Carol Jago, Past President, National Council of Teachers of English, IL Dan Davidson, President, American Councils for International Education, DC Arthur Eisenkraft, Distinguished Professor of Science Education, University of Massachusetts, MA Roxy Peck, Professor Emerita of Statistics, California Polytechnic State University, CA Karen Waples, Social Studies Teacher, Cherry Creek High School, CO

3 In this session we will: Provide data regarding college graduation rates Discuss the programmatic, institutional and individual factors that influence academic success and persistence among incoming college students Develop a set of recommendations to support students more effectively as they transition from high school and during their college experience

4 The US Department of Education has compiled statistics about institutional retention and graduation rates for undergraduate students. The following charts show the percentage of students seeking a bachelors degree at 4- year degree-granting institutions who completed a bachelors degree within 6 years, starting cohort year 2005:

5 All Institutions

6 Public Institutions

7 Private nonprofit

8 Private for-profit

9 Retention Strategies and Results at One Institution Dan Davidson, Chair of WLAAC American Councils and Bryn Mawr College

10 Current Retention Rates at Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges: Faculty Perspective Year 2005 returned in spring graduated % All students92.1%81.6 (4yrs); 87.3 (6) Pell Grant Recipients Only 82.9 (4yrs); 86.9 (6) No federal loans or grants 76.5% (4yrs); 81.1(6) African-American 93.3% 84.0% (4yrs); 87.7 (6) Latina 91.1% 72.6% (4yrs); 76.4 (6) International 92.6% 83.7% (4yrs); 89.3%

11 On-going interventions Q-Center (quantitative readiness) Writing Center, Writing-intensive courses all fields Health support. Psychological support (15%) Peer-to-peer mentoring Tutoring Center, college sponsored Dorm advising system Academic support, advising (faculty and deans) Multi-cultural Office Digital tools for college use: digital archiving, data mining, computational modeling, cool tools

12 Skill challenges Time management (16 contact hours/week) Self-management (executive function, reflection, intellectual risk-taking, self- assessment; pushing the envelope ) Dealing with distraction (24/7 connectivity) Identity competence (constructing the self in a new environment)

13 Predicting success of entering freshmen AP courses, especially when they represent longer 9 – 12 sequences, strong indication of proficiency/competence, academic ambition. Diversity of course work. Persistence. Excellence. Evidence of strong emphasis on fundamental thinking skills, open-mindedness < Grade on. Caution about spreading self too thinly: lots of AP but few good AP grades.

14 Success in the First Year of College Roxy Peck Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo

15 Institutional Initiatives and Practices Cal Poly25 – 35 Program New Mathematics PathwaysThe Plastic Brain

16 Cal Poly Program The Issue addressed: Most students dont study very much. It may work in high school, but not in college.

17 High school students dont study very much but they are really busy with school and activities. Informal group surveys of Cal Poly freshmen suggest most studied only 3-5 hours per week in high school. Brookings Institute paper in 1997 reports high school students average 19 minutes a night of study National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) reports 55% of high school students study three or less hours per week and only 8% study 10 hours per week. However, Cal Poly freshmen say they averaged at least 15 hours/week in other activities in high school such as sports, music, publications, or employment. Considering these students were in class 30 hours a week (5 days, six periods) as high school students, they were quite busy managing a 50 hour work week.

18 College students increase their study relative to high school but still fall far short of what is needed National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) studies show that around 45% of college students spend 10 hours a week or less studying and only 11% study 25 hours per week or more.

19 Most new freshmen have no idea what the study expectations are in college. They may triple or quadruple their high school efforts and feel good because they had never studied so much. But this is not nearly enough in college. Class and lab time runs hours per week. Anecdotally, many students may proudly triple or quadruple the hours they studied in high school upon entering college. Even though this may total only hours a week, they feel good about what they are doing as they have never independently studied this much before. But total time in class and studying adds to only around 30 hours per week - not even a full time job, not even as many academic hours as in high school.

20 The Advice to Students Study 25 hours a week if you are taking three courses, 35 if you are taking four. This is about 2 hours/unit/week. Time in class and studying is equivalent to a hour work week; quite reasonable. Make sure you are learning. You know something if you can talk about it and teach it to someone else. If you cant, you dont. Test yourself before exams; dont let the instructor be the first to test your knowledge.

21 Spreading the Word: Obsession on Saturation Open House in April: Briefly mention in all college/department meetings for prospective students. Display banners. Summer Advising: Display signs and banners. Introduce program to new students and accompanying parents. Communication to New Students in August: Includes yellow poster, letter from the dean, four page pamphlet on studying and learning, list of offices/phones for student services and advising; memo on alcohol abuse; study log. Mailing to Parents of New Freshmen in August: Includes yellow refrigerator magnet, letter to parents asking them to put the magnet on the refrigerator for the rest of the summer; copy of letter to students.

22 Spreading the Word: Obsession on Saturation Moving into the Residence Halls: Lobbies of each residence hall display a 2x3 feet banner and lots of the yellow 8.5x11 inches posters. A poster and refrigerator magnet are placed on each student bed before they arrived. Week-of-Welcome: WOW counselors talk about program throughout week is part of the academic day message at college and department levels. Yellow banners and posters are displayed in meeting sites. Fall Quarter, First Week of Classes: Display yellow banners around campus. Yellow posters placed on bulletin boards outside faculty and department offices, in labs and lecture rooms. Faculty members implement their roles in the program (see next section). Fall Quarter, Third Week of Classes: Letter or to all new freshmen encouraging them to evaluate their efforts, check actual study hours against advice, and focus on preparation for their first set of exams. Winter Quarter, First Day of Classes: Letter to new freshmen describing how their class did the first quarter. Reminder of advice. Focus on continuity in studying and learning. Encouragement to further find that new maturity that leads to intellectual achievement and student success.

23 The Role of Faculty First Class Meeting: Hold up a sign. Talk about the privilege and responsibilities of attending college. Explain your academic expectations and give guidance on how to meet them successfully. Describe how to use 8-10 hours a week studying for your course. Course Syllabus: Clear, complete, informative course syllabus. Make sure there is a section on academic expectations and how to accomplish. Early and Frequent Grading Experiences: These allow students to analyze study strategies and make adjustments during the term without losing the opportunity to earn a decent grade. Dont let your exams be a mystery. If students know what they are responsible for and are not surprised by their first exam, they are more likely to have confidence that studying and learning equates with success. Encouragement and Guidance throughout the Quarter: Take time frequently to ask students how things are going and let them know that you care. Continually provide guidance for studying and learning.

24 New Mathematics Pathways Texas Community Colleges in collaboration with the Dana Center at University of Texas. For students who place into developmental mathematics. Designed to accelerate progressremediation and transfer-level mathematics course in 1 year (two semesters).

25 Intentional Consideration of Student Success Issues Integrated into course work Focus on – student confidence and direction – Persistence – Commitment – Belonging

26 Two Key Components Changing belief system – Students believe that A students study less, but data support a strong correlation between effort and grades. – Students believe that they are either good at math (or ???) or not, and that there is nothing they can do about that.

27 The Plastic Brain Students read article from Health and Science News: You Can Grow Your Brain: New Research Shows the Brain Can be Developed Like a Muscle. Weightlifter analogy – Difficult at first, but strength developed through exercise and persistence. – Watching a weightlifter is not helpful! Productive struggle

28 Success in the First Year of College Arthur Eisenkraft UMass Boston

29 Success in the First Year of College Motivation Accessing printed material Patterns Metacognition Eliciting prior understandings Transfer of learning Knowledge vs information

30 Motivation and Relevance Motivated students have higher achievement Relevance to their lives now. Why are we learning this? – This is chapter 14. – One day this will be useful Not about now and therefore not about me Not even true!


32 Why should I care? Education is not a preparation for life; education is life itself. John Dewey

33 Why should I care? If we want students to learn about science content, we have to respect them and their age appropriate perspective. We have to find ways to help them understand how the content is relevant to them and the society they live in. – Physics of sports, – Chemistry of cooking, – Earth science of global warming – Biological implications of prescription and non-prescription drug use. – Science content into a larger context by adopting project-based learning.

34 Accessing Curriculum Accessing curriculum and instruction Accessing printed material Learning information Remembering information Completing assignments Working with others



37 Other Symbolic Structures (graphic organizers) Graphs Charts Flow diagrams Venn diagrams Equations Schematics

38 How People Learn ( Students come to class with preconceptions about how the world works. Competence in science includes a foundation of factual knowledge, a conceptual framework, and a means to organize scientific knowledge. Students can learn to take control of their own learning by defining goals and monitoring their progress in achieving them.

39 Recognizing Patterns Experts vs novices – Chess studies – Boats – Brain tumors – Teaching Competence in science includes a foundation of factual knowledge, a conceptual framework, and a means to organize scientific knowledge.

40 Metacognition Students can learn to take control of their own learning by defining goals and monitoring their progress in achieving them. – How People Learn (

41 Eliciting Prior Understandings Students come to class with preconceptions about how the world works. Prior knowledge impedes subsequent learning.

42 Transfer of Learning Thorndike – Near transfer and distant transfer Pendulum/optics experiments How People Learn – NRC ( – One set of subjects to another – One school subject to another – One year of school to another – School to non-school activities

43 y = 3 x + 6 xy

44 Near Transfer y = 4x y = 4x xy

45 Fitness Club Distant Transfer Do I join the fitness club? Membership = $15 per month BUT each visit costs $2. No membership = $4 per visit Solve with: – Data chart – Graph with slope and y-intercept – Algebraically

46 Fitness Club Distant transfer Number of visitsCost at $4Cost at $15 + $

47 Transfer of Learning Thorndike – Near transfer and distant transfer Pendulum/optics experiments How People Learn – NRC ( – One set of subjects to another – One school subject to another – One year of school to another – School to non-school activities

48 Where is the knowledge we have lost in information…

49 Where is the knowledge we have lost in information… Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? T.S. Eliot

50 Some Steps High Schools Might Take Karen Waples Social Studies Teacher Cherry Creek High School Greenwood Village, CO

51 Some Steps High Schools Might Take Focus on skillsagree as a department (or as a school) which skills will be developed at each grade level Early, targeted, personal intervention intervene immediately with students who are struggling academically Rigordevelop a common understanding of what it means to deliver a rigorous and challenging course

52 Skills by Grade Level/Common Understanding of Rigor Ninth grade: Cornell note taking, small DBQ, small term paperTenth grade: AP-style DBQ, 10-page analytical term paperUpper classmen: research paper each semester AP Classes: research paper or project, hour long group presentation each semester

53 Early, Targeted Intervention Do not treat all struggling students the same way Freshmen who are failing only Social Studies Mandatory support two days per week (during lunch) Focus on study techniques, providing resources, organization, time management, interpersonal skills (how to talk to your teacher) Positive, cheerful, inviting atmospherevery personal Students move in and out over three week intervals Immediate feedback to deans, parents and teachers

54 Additional Recommendations High schools tend to focus on the percentage of students who attend college following graduation High schools should develop systems to track student success throughout college

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