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Evaluation of Arizonas Transfer Articulation System May 16, 2007 Richard Hezel, Ph.D. Josh Mitchell Craig Nicholls, Ph.D.

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Presentation on theme: "Evaluation of Arizonas Transfer Articulation System May 16, 2007 Richard Hezel, Ph.D. Josh Mitchell Craig Nicholls, Ph.D."— Presentation transcript:

1 Evaluation of Arizonas Transfer Articulation System May 16, 2007 Richard Hezel, Ph.D. Josh Mitchell Craig Nicholls, Ph.D.

2 Outline Methods Survey Findings Arizona Transfer Website (CAS) Focus Group Findings ASSIST Student Data Analysis Conclusions and Recommendations

3 Methods 5 Surveys 11 Focus Groups Analysis of student data in ASSIST database Review of transfer website

4 Survey and Focus Group Findings

5 Survey Response Advisors: 483 ATF Members: 279 Admissions & Registrars: 57 University Students: 713 CC Students: 427

6 University Student Survey Respondents 79% attending a university; 10% dual enrolled and 9% graduated 74% of currently enrolled students at ASU 59% transferred from Maricopa; 28% rural CCs and 13% Pima 69% white 58% female

7 University Student Survey Respondents 85% felt prepared for university studies How prepared did you feel for university studies after transferring from your community college? (n = 711)

8 CC Student Survey Respondents 48% are enrolled at a Maricopa CC, 23% at Pima and 29% at a rural CC 86% at least somewhat likely to transfer to an AZ public university 35% expect to transfer to ASU, 27% to UA, 17% to NAU and 12% unsure 63% white 69% female

9 Student Transfer Planning Activities Slight majorities of both groups meet/met with an academic advisor at CC at least once per semester 7% of university students and 11% CC students never meet/met with an academic advisor Rural CC students met most frequently Minority students met more frequently than white students ~75% of students reported engaging in additional planning activities Most common was meeting with a faculty advisor

10 Overall Satisfaction is High Level of satisfaction with the Arizona transfer system/experience as a whole, by group surveyed.

11 Differences in Overall Satisfaction Advisors: rural CCs had highest satisfaction; Maricopa the lowest University students: Students who felt most prepared had highest satisfaction Maricopa transfers were most likely to be dissatisfied CC students: rural students were least likely to be dissatisfied; Maricopa the most likely

12 Available Information Moderate majorities (63%-75%) of advisors and students felt that sufficient information is available regarding the transfer process Students had similar agreement regarding AGEC, transfer pathways and common courses University students had lower agreement regarding the AGEC Maricopa transfers were more than twice as likely to feel that sufficient information was not available as other students

13 More Regarding Available Information University students: ASU students disagreed most often, UA students least often that sufficient information was available CC students: Pima students were more likely to agree than those at Maricopa or rural colleges CC advisors from rural colleges were more likely to disagree than those at Maricopa and Pima ~2/3 of advisors and students agreed that during pre-enrollment visits and/or orientation sessions, students have adequate opportunities to discuss issues related to transfer

14 Advisor Awareness 2/3 of advisors reported feeling sufficiently aware of all components of the transfer system Nearly half (47%) did not feel that they know of changes in a timely manner after they are made University advisors were more likely to feel unaware of changes CC advisors at the rural colleges were far more likely to feel unaware of all components and of changes

15 Problems and Difficulties Most commonly given problems and difficulties facing students during the transfer process: Issues with the transferability of courses and credits Issues with advising Confusing and/or misinformation Problems and delays in admissions and with transcripts

16 A Matter of Perspective… Students most frequently mentioned the same three things as both the easiest and hardest parts of the transfer process: Transferring credits and grades Paperwork and administrative details Meeting and working with academic advisors

17 Systems Greatest Strengths Ease of transfer and the fact that courses are guaranteed to transfer Available information resources, such as the course equivalency guide and the CAS website Communication and collaboration between the community colleges and universities Consistency and ease of use

18 Systems Greatest Weaknesses Lack of consistency and communication Too many changes being made resulting in out of date information System is too complicated and difficult to use Lack of awareness among and use by students

19 Recommendations for Improvement Bring greater standardization to the process Better advising for students and more training for advisors Improve and increase communication between the community colleges and universities Simplify the process and make it more user- friendly Publicize the transfer system to students more

20 AGEC Awareness Extent to which respondents are familiar with the AGEC, by group surveyed.

21 Differences in AGEC Awareness Advisors: 91% of CC advisors were very familiar 51% of university advisors were very familiar Students: Those attending or who transferred from Pima were most familiar Those attending or who transferred from Maricopa were least familiar

22 Satisfaction with AGEC Generally high satisfaction among all groups: Between 87% and 94% were somewhat satisfied or very satisfied CC advisors were more satisfied than university advisors ATF members from Maricopa were most likely to be dissatisfied (20%) University students who never visited with an academic advisor were more than twice as likely to be dissatisfied as others (37% dissatisfied) Maricopa and ASU students had lowest satisfaction

23 AGECs Goals Extent to which respondents agree that the AGEC has reduced barriers for students to transfer, and has facilitated student progress toward meeting baccalaureate degree requirements, by group surveyed.

24 AGEC and Admissions 69% of university A&R respondents said a student who otherwise would not be admitted but who completed an AGEC would be at least somewhat likely to be admitted nonetheless 62% said a student with an associates degree would be at least somewhat likely to be admitted

25 AGEC Processing Issues Variability between institutions regarding: How students apply for an AGEC When students can apply for an AGEC How AGEC in progress is recorded How a students AGEC status is communicated to their academic department at the university One consistency: Universities use standard admissions procedure for students with AGEC in progress

26 Clarity of AGEC Requirements ~3/4 of students who were familiar with the AGEC felt the requirements for successful completion of the AGEC are clear Past and present Maricopa students were most likely to be unclear University students who met with an academic advisor at least once per semester before transferring were more familiar than those who met less frequently or not at all 48% of university students and 45% of CC students were either unfamiliar or unclear about the AGEC

27 AGEC Completion 44% of university students completed an AGEC 61% of CC students plan to complete an AGEC 41% of these were unsure which AGEC they will complete AGEC-A was most popular UA students were most likely to have completed an AGEC, ASU students least likely

28 Reasons for Completing or Not Completing an AGEC Most common reasons for completing an AGEC: Ease of/guarantee of transfer Take care of general education requirements Convenience, efficiency, and cost Most common reasons for not completing an AGEC: University students: Not aware of it Planned to transfer early Perception that classes are unnecessary or a waste of time CC students: plan to complete an associates degree instead

29 AGECs Greatest Strengths/Benefits Transfers as a block/makes transferring easier Satisfies general education requirements Consistency and standardization Collaboration between universities and CCs Students: Useful as a framework Variety of courses/well-rounded Preparation for university studies

30 AGECs Least Beneficial Aspects Given by students: Too time consuming/too many extraneous classes Too complicated and/or confusing Lack of and/or bad information/ advising Problems with transfer Classes too easy or too confining

31 AGECs Greatest Weaknesses School-specific requirements not always met; extra courses needed Lack of consistency and coordination between universities and CCs Confusing/complex Lack of standardization Lack of flexibility/applicability/customization Infrequency of updates when changes are made Lack of familiarity/information among students and advisors

32 AGEC Recommendations Increase consistency between CCs and universities Increase quality of advising given to students and improve advisor training More standardization/consistency of administrative processes More communication between CCs and universities

33 Transfer Pathway Degrees Awareness Extent to which respondents are familiar with the transfer pathway degrees, by group surveyed.

34 Differences in Transfer Pathway Degrees Awareness CC Advisors were much more familiar than university advisors CC ATF members only slightly more familiar than university members Past and current Pima students were most familiar Greater frequency of visits with an academic advisor among university students while at the CC was associated with a higher level of familiarity

35 Transfer Pathway Degree Completion 50% of university students completed a pathway degree 70% of CC students plan to complete a pathway degree AA was most popular Students who transferred from Pima were most likely to complete all 3 pathway degrees CC students who plan to transfer to NAU were most likely to plan to complete a pathway degree

36 Reasons for Completing or Not Completing a Transfer Pathway Degree Most common reason for completing a transfer pathway degree was that students plan(ned) to stay at the CC for as many credits as possible Most common reasons for not completing a transfer pathway degree: Student knew the university and degree they wanted and followed the transfer guide Student planned to transfer before completing

37 Transfer Pathway Degrees and Preparation for University Studies Extent to which respondents agree that compared to students who do not complete transfer pathway degrees (AA, AS, ABus), students who complete transfer pathway degrees (AA, AS, ABus) prior to transfer are better prepared for university studies, by group surveyed.

38 Transfer Pathway Degrees Clarity and Stability ~25% of students, ATF members and advisors who were familiar with transfer pathway degrees indicated some uncertainty about the requirements for successful completion Past and present rural CC students had lowest levels of disagreement that they are clear Students who met with an academic advisor most frequently were most likely to be clear 54% of advisors and 58% of ATF members agreed that the requirements have remained stable over time Maricopa ATF members were most likely to disagree that requirements are clear and stable

39 Transfer Pathway Degrees and Curricular Planning Extent to which respondent agrees with the following statement: The transfer pathway degrees (AA, AS, ABus) have a positive impact on curricular planning and delivery at my institution (Question 15), by Community College (Question 1, CCs only).

40 Transfer Pathway Degrees Greatest Strengths/Benefits Ease of transferability Preparation for admission to and study at the university Students: Taking care of general education courses Cheaper cost Having a certificate Advisors, ATF members and A&R: Clear direction and specific path for students Clarity and uniformity of the system

41 Transfer Pathway Degrees Least Beneficial Aspects Among students: Transferability problems Too time consuming/too many extraneous classes Lack of or unclear information and advising Lack of prestige Most common response by CC students was that nothing is not beneficial

42 Transfer Pathway Degrees Greatest Weaknesses Program-specific requirements at the university not always met Inconsistency/lack of standardization Confusing/unclear and/or poor information and advising Inclusion of unnecessary courses Perception that students are not adequately prepared for university studies Lack of flexibility

43 Transfer Pathway Degrees Recommendations Provide better advising to students Make better information and guides available to students and advisors Increase quality and volume of communication between CCs and universities ATF members also recommended expansion to cover more courses and degrees

44 Common Course Matrices Awareness Extent to which respondents are familiar with the common courses/common course matrices, by group surveyed.

45 Differences in Common Course Matrices Awareness CC Advisors were more familiar than university advisors University ATF members were more familiar than CC members Past and current Pima students were most familiar, as were students who transferred or intend to transfer to UA University students were more likely to have a higher level of familiarity with common courses the more often they met with an academic advisor while at their CC

46 Completion of Common Courses 64% of both groups of students who were familiar with common courses took them or plan to take them Only 6% of CC students and 4% of university students said they did not/do not plan to take common courses; remainder were not sure CC students who plan to transfer to ASU or UA were most likely to plan to take common courses

47 Reasons for Taking/Planning to Take Common Courses Primary reasons respondents took/are currently taking/plan to take courses identified as common courses, by group surveyed.

48 Common Course Matrices as Transfer Tools ~3/4 of advisors and ATF members agreed that the common course matrices have been effective in helping students plan for transferring CC advisors agreed more often than university advisors Pima advisors most likely to agree; Maricopa advisors most likely to disagree

49 Common Course Matrices and Curricular Planning Extent to which ATF Survey respondents agree that the common course matrices have been stable enough to permit adequate curriculum planning at their institution, and flexible enough to allow adequate room for curriculum change and growth, by Community College or University.

50 Common Course Matrices Greatest Strengths/Benefits Students: Ease of transferability Cost and/or time effective Advisors: Help advising by making it clear to students if and how courses will transfer to the university Clear and easy to use Aid in transfer process and prepare students for university studies ATF members: Help academic planning and advising Provides uniformity in curriculum Clear transferability

51 Common Courses Least Beneficial Aspects University students: Inconsistency between CCs and universities in terms of academic rigor, grading and/or course titles Issues with transferability Courses may be a waste of time in some programs CC students: Sometimes boring or in inapplicable disciplines Issues with transferability

52 Common Course Matrices Greatest Weaknesses Confusing and difficult to use; lack of clarity Students dont know about or use them enough Inconsistencies and poor communication between CCs and universities

53 Common Course Matrices Recommendations Better information and training for students and advisors Increasing and improving communication between CCs and universities Increasing consistency, flexibility and uniformity Expansion to include more courses and majors

54 Transfer Website Usage About how often respondents utilize the Arizona transfer website (az.transfer.org/cas), by group surveyed.

55 Differences in Transfer Website Usage CC advisors use the site much more frequently than university advisors 58% of CC advisors visit daily 28% of university advisors visit daily University ATF members use the site more often than CC members Rural CC students most likely to have never visited the site Pima students most likely to have visited University students at UA were most likely to have visited

56 Rating the Transfer Website Percent of respondents that rated the Arizona transfer website (az.transfer.org/cas) good or very good on each of the following, by group surveyed.

57 Student Usage of Transfer Website Purposes for which students use(d) the Arizona transfer website, by group surveyed.

58 Admin Usage of Transfer Website All groups most commonly use the Course Equivalency Guide and to check transferability of courses Advisors and ATF members use the site for advising purposes ATF members use it when preparing for ATF meetings

59 Transfer Website Recommendations Improve navigation and make the site more user-friendly Ensure that information is current Provide more detailed information Advisors recommended making transfer guides easier to use and interpret

60 Transfer Website Content and Usability Analysis Web analytics: The average web visitor sees 8 pages per session 66% of the sessions last less than 30 seconds More people enter the website through bin/WebObjects/Admin_CEG than the actual home page at bin/WebObjects/Admin_CEG 14% exit rate from home page

61 Transfer Website Content and Usability Analysis Good features to maintain: The site encourages feedback from users (Tell us! We want to hear your feedback) Site Search feature Great Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) content Vast amount of valuable information

62 Transfer Website Content and Usability Analysis Good features to replicate: Provide an access hotline for additional questions (Ohio) Data portal to store and allow search of historical information (Kentucky) News link for changes and up to date information Site just for parents

63 Transfer Website Content and Usability Analysis Areas in need of improvement: Make the site easier to navigate and make it easier to locate information Make the site more aesthetically pleasing Modernize the design and layout

64 Focus Group Participants 2 advisor groups 2 ATF groups 1 A&R group 6 student groups 5 admin groups and 2 student groups were in-person Remaining student groups were via teleconference Some student groups were supplemented with personal interviews 6 student focus groups included 36 total students

65 Administrative Focus Groups General Findings Vast majority of advisors, ATF and A&R participants viewed the system as effective Excepting one group, participants thought the system needs tweaking Much discussion regarding problems and areas for improvement

66 Administrative Focus Groups Positive Factors The AGEC is a good concept and works well for what it is intended to do, i.e., transfer a block of courses to meet general education requirements at a university The pathway degree programs, while seemingly under- used, are quite effective for students who know what they want to do The common course matrices are useful tools for advising Participants at all levels within the CCs and universities appreciate the opportunity to work together on issues related to the transfer system

67 Administrative Focus Groups Issues to Address Better communication between CCs and universities Improve quality and timeliness of information related to transfer issues Increase collaborative decision-making Those from the CCs feel decisions are made by universities and passed down to them Growing number of offerings, options and exceptions is problematic

68 Student Focus Groups General Findings Students were generally positive about their transfer experiences and the transfer system Most students do not start planning their transfer until the semester preceding it Students do not view the transfer process from a systematic perspective – they focus on what will transfer from the CC to the university CCs are viewed as more welcoming or friendly than universities Many students have limited contact with advisors and move through the process on their own

69 Student Focus Groups Component-Specific Findings Many, if not most, students are not very well informed about the AGEC Many simply know that it is a way to take care of general education requirements, but lack an understanding of its various options and exceptions. Most students are not familiar with the pathway degree programs, nor do they use them Most students are not familiar with the common course matrices Many students know about the course equivalency guide and find it useful

70 Student Focus Groups Issues to Address Better communication between university and community college personnel related to advising, program requirements and student records (transcripts, course evaluation, etc.) A need for more knowledgeable advisors, especially at the CC level where they expect to receive better information about university programs A need for targeted assistance for transfer students, especially at the universities. Suggestions include transfer centers, transfer orientation programs and a general commitment to helping transfer students.

71 ASSIST Student Data Analysis

72 Outcomes Tested Persistence One-year (all); two-year, three-year (non-grads) Time to Graduation Two-year, three-year, four-year, and five-year Grade Point Average One-year, two-year Credits at Graduation Maricopa/Pima/rural community college effects Only for degree or AGEC earners

73 Variables controlled for: Transfer credits Entry semester (spring, fall) Entry year (2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005) Entry age Gender Ethnicity (white, non-white) University Average semester earned hours

74 Persistence Students with an AGEC (only) are 50% more likely to persist after one year, compared to students with no degree at all Students with the transfer pathway degree of AGEC plus AA, AB, or AS are no more likely to persist after one year than students with no degree Students with an Associates only (AAS, AGS) are less likely to persist after one year than students with no degree at all

75 Time to Graduation Students with an AGEC (only) or a transfer pathway degree are 30% to 40% more likely to graduate within two years than students with no degree at all AGEC (only) is the stronger effect (40%) Students with an AAS or an AGS are no more likely to graduate within two years than a student with no degree at all Same pattern, but stronger for 3-year graduation Pattern for 4-year and 5-year graduation only favors students with AGEC (only)

76 Grade Point Average Students with an AGEC (only) or a transfer pathway degree outperformed students with no degree at all Students with an AAS or AGS had half as big an advantage Female students, white students, and older students also performed better on 1-year and 2- year GPA Students with more transfer hours and more average semester hours (to date) also performed better

77 Credits at Graduation Students with an AGEC (only) graduate with about 3 ½ fewer credit hours than students with no entry degree Students with a transfer pathway degree have an advantage of less than one credit hour Gender and ethnicity confer an advantage of about two credits apiecefavoring females and white students Later cohorts graduate with fewer credits nearly 2 ½ per year

78 Community College Effects Comparisons made among Maricopa, Pima, and rural community colleges Only among degree/AGEC earners Pima students had better outcomes than rural for: One-year persistence 2-yr, 3yr, 4-yr, 5-yr graduation Credits at graduation Maricopa students had better outcomes than rural for persistence, 3-yr/4-yr graduation, and credits at graduation Pima effects stronger than Maricopa effects

79 Conclusions and Recommendations

80 Conclusions Transfer system is working well, at least functionally Stakeholders are generally satisfied Large scale changes are not necessary

81 Recommendations Recommendation 1: Sponsor campaign to increase student awareness Students should be aware of all options to make more fully informed decisions More information should be available to students CCs should require mandatory orientation an/or advising opportunities before or during the students first semester enrolled at the college

82 Recommendations Recommendation 2: Provide additional and on-going training to advisors Training should be standardized at both the university and community college levels Efforts should be made to ensure that students know who the transfer student ombudsperson(s) are at their institution Academic advising is perhaps the most critical part of the entire transfer system and process for students

83 Recommendations Recommendation 3: Improve and increase communications between CCs and universities ABOR and CC presidents should communicate this as a priority Review ATFs for effectiveness, efficiency, and composition Universities and CCs should establish policies and practices to discuss curricular changes that impact each other

84 Recommendations Recommendation 4: Streamline the system and components Confusion was evident among respondents and too many options exist for students Too much specialization of program requirements and too many options have led to an unwieldy system

85 Recommendations Recommendation 5: Redesign CAS website as a portal for all, especially students Make the site more user-friendly and easily navigable Make the site more attractive and appealing to students Ensure that site is consistently up to date Remove or archive old information Once complete, publicize the redesigned site to students

86 Recommendations Recommendation 6: Update all information and resources in a timely manner when changes are made Advisors, in particular, should be informed electronically about the changes, via and via the advisors portal

87 Recommendations Recommendation 7: Standardize administrative processes related to transfer system Standardize the way AGECs and AGEC in progress are designated on student transcripts Standardization will result in less confusion among staff and fewer delays and problems for students

88 Recommendations Recommendation 8: Universities should create student-oriented transfer centers or offices Places where transfer students can find one-stop/quick-stop answers from advisors and other staff Alternatively, designate transfer- oriented staff in each office on campus

89 Recommendations Recommendation 9: CCs applications should include early alert system focusing on older students Redress ongoing problems associated with archived student records specific to this group of students

90 Richard Hezel, Ph.D. President Josh Mitchell Manager of Strategic Services Craig Nicholls, Ph.D. Director of Research and Evaluation 1201 East Fayette Street Syracuse, NY Hezel Associates


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