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Access vs. Success: Preliminary Policy Insights from a Study Funded by Lumina Foundation for Education The University of Texas at El Paso Center for Institutional.

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Presentation on theme: "Access vs. Success: Preliminary Policy Insights from a Study Funded by Lumina Foundation for Education The University of Texas at El Paso Center for Institutional."— Presentation transcript:

1 Access vs. Success: Preliminary Policy Insights from a Study Funded by Lumina Foundation for Education The University of Texas at El Paso Center for Institutional Evaluation, Research and Planning

2 Presentation Outline The Policy Tension Associated with Balancing Access and Success –National context –UTEP’s context UTEP’s Efforts to Ensure Access and Success –Efforts over last 20 years and their impact –Challenges and current efforts (UTEP Student Success Project funded by Lumina Foundation) Findings from Student Success Project Policy Implications and Next Steps

3 Policy Tension: Balancing Access and Excellence Ensuring access to “non- traditional” students (i.e., low income, 1 st generation) is increasingly difficult for four year institutions. Negative perceptions about “low” admissions standards Use of selectivity metrics in rankings and other efforts Focus on graduation rates as the benchmark of excellence Focus on opportunity costs associated with educating “at risk” students

4 Access: The Foundation of the Original Mission of State & Land Grant Universities accessible to working class citizens, provide opportunities to pursue studies in fields that would improve the quality of their lives serve the people of their region Colleges would be established in each state on land set aside for this purpose. The institution should be open to all classes of students above a fixed age, and for any length of time, whether three months or seven years, and each taught in those particular branches of art which he wishes to pursue, and to any extent, more or less. And all should pay their tuition and board bills in whole or in part, either in money or necessary work on the premises—regard being had to the ability of each. Jonathan Baldwin Turner, 1851 speech delivered to Illinois Farmers

5 “Because it is a responsibility of the states to provide education, state policy-makers must assess the extent to which current higher education systems provide access for their residents. And because equal opportunity for all is a national goal, federal policy-makers must assess the college opportunities available to all citizens. “Reducing and potentially ending unequal access to higher education in the United States is important for the future health and prosperity of our democracy... unequal higher education opportunity limits the extent to which people are prepared to participate in a civil and open society.” Kipp, S.M., Price, D.V., & Wohlford, J.K. (2002). Unequal Opportunity Disparities in College Access Among the 50 States. Lumina Foundation, 4(3). Importance of Ensuring Access

6 Who is Affected by Limited Access? Low income, first generation students, older students, students with dependents Students with low ACT/ SAT scores Students who attended low- performing high schools

7 UTEP’s Context El Paso, Texas El Paso County-3rd poorest large county in the US 1 Population: 724,000 81% Hispanic Border community, very dynamic flow of residents and students across the border Limited educational opportunities American Community Survey of the US Census

8 UTEP Demographics Total Enrollment by Residence N % El Paso County % New Mexico2441.3% Mexico % Other Int’l4302.2% Enrollment by Race/Ethnicity White Non-Hispanic % Black Non-Hispanic % Hispanic % Asian/Pacific Islander % Am. Indian or Alaskan46 0.2% International* % *includes Mexican Nat’l. students Percent of financial aid awardees with family income of $20,000 or less:43% Percent of UTEP students with reported family income of $20,000 or less:33% Nationally: % of students with family income of less than $20,000 at large public research (doctoral) universities: 10% 1 % of students with family income of less than $20,000 at small &mid-sized private colleges and universities: 12% 1 % of students with family income less than $20,000 at community colleges: 29% 2 1 Council of Independent Colleges: 2 Lumina Foundation Focus, Fall 2005, p.5

9 UTEP’s Issues Related to Access Old Issues that were addressed: Debates to become more selective: “Harvard on the Border” Pressure to focus exclusively on the best prepared students Newest Tensions: Negative external perceptions about open access: if everyone can get in, it must not be very good Concerns about opportunity cost – students dropping out, extended times to degree, taking too many courses, enrollment in developmental courses Graduation rates

10 UTEP’s Efforts President rededicated mission to ensure the widest possible access to all students from the region, and to focus on serving the El Paso area Made efforts to ensure success at all levels of the pipeline, with impressive results oK-12 oAdmissibility/ Affordability oStudent engagement

11 El Paso Collaborative for Academic Excellence Founded in 1991; partners include the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education and The Pew Charitable Trusts, in addition to businesses and organizations in the community and throughout Texas Goals of the Collaborative Ensure academic success for all students, K-16 Ensure that all students graduate from high school prepared to succeed in a four- year college or university Close achievement gaps among different groups of students

12 How the El Paso Collaborative Works Works with Teachers: providing professional development opportunities that encompass all areas of teaching and learning Works with Schools and Administrators: helping schools set high standards, and grow toward high-level, standards-based teaching and learning, and involving principals and administrators in understanding, supporting and participating in the school improvement process Works with Parents: deepening parents’ understanding of how to support high student achievement, preparation for college, and acting to involve more parents with their children’s school Works with the University: supporting innovative, field-based teacher preparation programs, linking university and K-12 faculty to ensure alignment of education along the full K-16 continuum Works with Key Business and Civic Leaders: involving business and community leaders in improving the quality of education at all levels, and helping them to identify strategies that will support high levels of student achievement and increases in college attendance and graduation Source: EPCAE website, http//epcae.org

13 Completion of Recommended High School Program or Higher, El Paso Districts & Statewide Class of 2004 Source: Texas Education Agency,

14 UT System Full-time Undergraduate Students with Need-Based Grant Aid, AY UT System Institution Average In-State Total Academic Cost, Fall Spring 2006 combined w/ fees % Students Receiving Need- Based Grant Aid Average % Discount Arlington$ %71.6% Austin$ %80.8% Brownsville$ %65.1% Dallas$ %61.5% El Paso$ %100.00% Pan American$ %100.00% Permian Basin$ %54.3% San Antonio$ %64.3% Tyler$ %89.1% Average$ %76.9% Affordability Source: UT System Fast Facts, 2007

15 The National Survey of Student Engagement and the American Association for Higher Education identified UTEP as one of 20 colleges and universities that was “unusually effective in promoting student success”. 1 UTEP is identified as only one of six Model Institutions for Excellence in the nation by the National Science Foundation for its success in creating educational opportunities for non-traditional students. UTEP’s College of Engineering was identified as the top engineering school for Hispanics by Hispanic Business Magazine. The magazine says UTEP “is changing the face of engineering and producing highly trained graduates heavily recruited by the industry’s leading companies”. 2 UTEP’s Institutional Successes 1 NSSE Institute for Effective Educational Practice, Project DEEP Final Report, p. 4 2 Hispanic Business, September UTEP Alumnus Danny Olivas, NASA astronaut to be flying on the shuttle Atlantis in June 2007

16 Despite All the Success, UTEP has More Work to Do

17 The UTEP Student Success Project Funded by Lumina Foundation Identify factors that affect students’ success—timely progress toward a degree Identify & implement strategies to improve the success of students at UTEP At this preliminary stage, there were two study questions and quantitative approaches.

18 Research Questions 1. Predictors of Success What factors explain graduation within 6 Years at the University of Texas at El Paso? 2. Predictors of Risk What factors explain why students leave UTEP?

19 Data and Sample Data provided clean, reliable set to examine the 6 yr. graduation rate  Undergraduates only  1 st time (non-transfer) students  Full-time students only Cohort Entering Students from Fall 1999 and Fall 2000 (Sample size = 2,065)

20 23 Variables Included as Predictors of Graduation: Age (standardized) Educational level of parents Hrs. per week spent working (anticipated for 1 st term, self-report) 1 Number of dependents (children & other family members) 1 ACT Scores (standardized) Math Placement Level (BANM) Reading Placement Level (BANR) Writing Placement Level (BANW) English Placement Level (BANE) High School Percentile Rank 1 st Term GPA standardized (GPA for which we have all students’ data; “past behavior is a predictor of future behavior”) Number of classes failed in 1 st term Personal perception that one will drop out before graduation 1 Personal perception that one will need to study harder at UTEP than in high school to get good grades 1 Personal perception that it is important to prepare for class 1 Personal perception that one will change majors at least once 1 Personal perception that it is important to prepare for class 1 Average number of credit hours attempted (standardized) Need (based on Household Income) Grant- Amount Paid Scholarship- Amount Paid Student Loan- Amount Paid Work-Study- Amount Paid 1 New Student Survey administered to all new students annually by UTEP-CIERP

21 Descriptive Stats: College Graduation within 6 Years by H.S. Rank Percentile Graduation IndicationTotal High school class rankNot GraduatedGraduated top 25% Count % within HS_rank 50.9% 49.1% 100.0% % within Graduation Indication 34.9%72.9%46.9% % of Total 23.9%23.0%46.9% 50% to 75% Count % within HS_rank 79.2% 20.8% 100.0% % within Graduation Indication 35.9%20.4%31.0% % of Total 24.6%6.4%31.0% less than 50% Count % within HS_rank 90.3% 9.7% 100.0% % within Graduation Indication 29.1%6.7%22.0% % of Total 19.9%2.1%22.0% Total Count % within HS_rank 68.4% 31.6% 100.0% % within Graduation Indication 100.0% % of Total 68.4%31.6%100.0%

22 Distribution of GPA

23 Household Income Group GraduationTotal 01 20k or less Count % within income 70.1% 29.9% 100.0% % within Graduation 41.6%35.6%39.6% 20k to 35k Count % within income 65.5% 34.5% 100.0% % within Graduation 29.7%31.4%30.3% 35k to 50k Count % within income 64.6% 35.4% 100.0% % within Graduation 15.4%16.9%15.9% 50k to 65k Count % within income 62.6% 37.4% 100.0% % within Graduation 7.5%9.0%8.0% 65k or more Count % within income 61.8% 38.2% 100.0% % within Graduation 5.8%7.2%6.2% Total Count % within income 66.7%33.3%100.0% % within Graduation 100.0% Descriptive Stats: College Graduation within 6 Years by Income

24 Descriptive Stats: College Graduation within 6 Years by Classes Failed-1 st Semester

25 Distribution of ACT ACT 18

26 Distribution of ACT for different Income groups ACT 18

27 Descriptive Statistics of ACT Scores by Income Group Income groupNMeanMedian Std. Deviation Less than 20k k to 35k k to 50k k to 65k k or more Total1,

28 Research Approach : Development of a Model to Predict Graduation in 6 Years  Logistic Regression  Conducted with the binary prediction of Graduation-Yes (1) or Graduation-No (0)* within six years  Conducted in five steps  Variables entered sequentially according to the student encounter them (from demographics to college academic performance) *Includes “not yet” graduated

29 Step 1: Demographics In this step only demographic variables are considered:  Gender  Income  Educational level of parents  Having a dependent  Age

30 Step 2: High School Preparation Variables considered in this step are:  High school class rank  Math Placement score  ACT /SAT score  Writing Placement score  Reading Placement score  English Placement score

31 Step 3: Student Perception Variables considered in this step are personal perception that:  One will drop out before graduation  One will need to study harder at UTEP than in high school to get good grades  It is important to prepare for class  One will change majors at least once  One will need more than four years to graduate  Confident one will graduate

32 Step 4: First-term Performance Variables considered in this step are:  GPA  Credits attempted  Hours worked per week  Number of classes failed

33 Significant Predictors (in Bold)  Gender  Income  Educational level of parents  Having a dependent  Age  High school class rank  Math Placement score  ACT /SAT score  Writing Placement score  Reading Placement score  English Placement score  Will drop out before graduation  Will need to study harder at UTEP than in high school to get good grades  It is important to prepare for class  Will change majors at least once  Do not need more than four years to graduate  Confident that one will graduate  GPA  Credits attempted  Hours worked per week  Number of classes failed

34 Step 4: Logistic Regression Statistically Significant PredictorsOdds Ratio P < GPA Math Placement Score*  Level  Level  Level Gender (Female) Do not need more than 4 years to graduate Credits attempted Disagree it is important to prepare for class0.698(1.43).05 High school percentile**  Between 50 and (1.56).05  Less than (2.64).001 Hours worked per week***  Working hours per week.448(2.23).05 Number of classes failed****  Failing one class.530(1.89).001  Failing two or more classes.105(9.52).001 ______________________________________________________________________________ * Reference group is level 1. ** Reference group is top 25. *** Reference group is not working. **** Reference group is not failing a class. Note: Nagelkerke R Square is.40. Percentage correctly classified is 76.6.

35 Identifying At-Risk Students 1.1 st Semester Leavers: Students who left UTEP in the first semester and never returned. These individuals are arguably a very high-risk group. 2.1 st Year Leavers: Students who left UTEP in the first year and never returned; arguably also a high-risk group. 3.2 nd Year Leavers: Students who left at some point in the second year and never returned to UTEP. 4.3 rd Year Leavers: Students who left at some point in the third year and never returned to UTEP. 5.Sporadic Leavers: Students who left at some point in their college career and returned, yet did not graduate. 6.Persisters: Students who were continually enrolled at UTEP between the Fall of 1999 and the Fall of 2005, yet did not graduate.

36 Modeling Factors that Explain At-Risk Group Membership  Multinomial Logistic Regression is ideal for examining factors that help predict membership in a defined category when the outcome is more than binary (i.e. graduating or not). 7 Categories versus 2 Categories considered in the model.  The model produced offers information about institutional interventions for particular groups.  Objective: Resources can be more effectively targeted toward these at-risk groups.

37 Summary of the Multinomial Model Variable First Term First Yr. Second Yr. Third Yr.SporadicPersisters GPA SCH Failing class Working Math Need No dependent Disagree it is important to prepare for class High School rank Not needing more than four years Loan Paid 1.39 Grant Paid

38 Implications from the UTEP Student Success Project All Students can be successful Family/ household Income is not a predictor of student success Ethnicity is not a predictor of success ACT (SAT) score is not a Predictor of success Student’s choices are important in ensuring success Challenge is to create institutional structures to shape student choices that will ensure success

39 Next Phase of Study Refine “at risk” model  Predictions are based on first term data Explore major issues from closely (advising, role of faculty, working, financial aid) Disseminate results Begin to explore interventions

40 Major Points / Summary There is a social cost when we limit access We can ensure access and success, but it is not easy. Need to address:  Preparedness and aspirations (K-12)  Admissibility  Affordability  Student centered and supportive environment  Institutional structures to encourage prudent student choices

41 Contact Information Roy Mathew, Ph.D. Director Center for Institutional Evaluation, Research and Planning The University of Texas at El Paso Administration Building, Room 318 (915) Denise Carrejo, Ph.D. Assistant Director Center for Institutional Evaluation, Research and Planning The University of Texas at El Paso Administration Building, Room 318 (915)


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