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Examining pathways to the degree: what leads to student success? Kathi A. Ketcheson Ph.D. Portland State University EAIR Conference August 2008.

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Presentation on theme: "Examining pathways to the degree: what leads to student success? Kathi A. Ketcheson Ph.D. Portland State University EAIR Conference August 2008."— Presentation transcript:

1 Examining pathways to the degree: what leads to student success? Kathi A. Ketcheson Ph.D. Portland State University EAIR Conference August 2008

2 The Urban Transfer Research Network EAIR 2008 Funded by the Lumina Foundation for Education, the project is… A collaborative multi-institutional research project focused on low-income and minority students beginning their postsecondary careers at community colleges with the goal of attaining at least the Bachelor’s degree.

3 The Urban Transfer Research Network EAIR 2008 The purpose of the research is to chart the pathways and success of the target student populations and inform institutional policy and practice as it affects student transfer success. The goal of the project is to increase the community college transfer rate and success rate of students attaining the Bachelor’s degree. By the end of the project, the number of urban regions involved will be expanded so as to eventually impact national Bachelor’s degree attainment rates by low-income and minority students.

4 The Urban Transfer Research Network EAIR 2008 Participating Institutions Portland State University  Mt. Hood Community College  Portland Community College  Clackamas Community College  Chemeketa Community College Arizona State University  Maricopa Community Colleges University of South Florida (affiliated partner)  Hillsborough Community College  St. Petersburg College

5 The Urban Transfer Research Network EAIR 2008 Transfer and Degree Attainment Over one-half of students entering higher education in the U.S. begin at community colleges. Transfer students have lower degree attainment rates than those who begin at university. Attainment rates are lower for underrepresented and minority groups. Pathways to the degree are many and varied, no “one size fits all.”

6 The Urban Transfer Research Network EAIR 2008 Major Issues in Oregon State funding for higher education continues to decline. Enrollments have increased dramatically in recent years. Existing agreements between two and four year institutions have worked well, but need refinement. Policies and practices vary by institution and make common processes difficult to implement. Information on first-generation and low-income status not collected consistently or in common formats..

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8 The Urban Transfer Research Network EAIR 2008 Research Design and Data Analysis of community college student cohorts' pathways and success in attaining the Bachelor's degree. This research includes subgroup analysis specific to underrepresented students. Analysis of policy and practice through qualitative research including interviews and focus groups with students, faculty and staff.

9 The Urban Transfer Research Network EAIR 2008 Research Design STUDENT CHARACTERISTICS Race Gender Socio-Economic Status First-Generation in College* OUTCOMES CC Performance Persistence Academic Performance Degree attainment Transfer PSU Other 4-year Institution 4-year Institution Performance Persistence Academic Performance Bachelor’s attainment MEDIATING FACTORS Enrollment Patterns e.g. Swirling Linear Interruption Institutional Policies e.g. Financial Aid Residency Co-admission Etc. * Data is not currently available to track students based on first-generation status.

10 The Urban Transfer Research Network EAIR 2008 Data File Creation Description  Unit-record data for about 20,000 students.  Demographic, academic, and enrollment data at CC and PSU (supplemented by NSC data). Facilitators  History of collaboration with CCs.  All Oregon CCs produce common data elements for state- level reports. Challenges  No common student identifiers among institutions.  Low Income/First Generation status problematic.

11 The Urban Transfer Research Network EAIR 2008 MHCCPCC n = 2,558 n = 2,360 n = 4,330 n = 4,404 Students enrolled in credit-bearing courses for the first time during summer or fall of 1999 or 2000 who attended for more than one term or expressed intent to transfer or were under 20 years old. Excludes students with attendance at any college or university prior to enrollment at the CC. Excludes students who earned an associate or bachelor’s degree prior to enrollment at the CC. Excludes students who attended one term but earned no credit at the CC. Term by term enrollment at MHCC, PCC and Chemeketa CC tracked for six years Enrollment Credits GPA Fin. Aid Enrollment Credits GPA Fin. Aid Enrollment Credits GPA Fin. Aid Associate Degree Attainment Enrollment Credits GPA Fin. Aid Enrollment Credits GPA Fin. Aid Enrollment Credits GPA Fin. Aid Term by term PSU enrollment tracked through Spring 2006 Bachelor’s Degree Attainment Other Enrollment Other Associate or Bachelor’s Degree Attainment National Student Clearinghouse data tracked through Spring 2006 Total N = 18,957 Chemeket a n = 2,570 n = 2,735

12 The Urban Transfer Research Network EAIR 2008 Swirl Patterns Linear: Student begins at one community college, transfers to PSU, and does not attend any other institution afterwards. Structured Swirl: Student moves among community colleges, or between CCs and PSU, but once enrolled at PSU, does not attend any other institution. Complex Swirl: Student moves in a complex pattern among 2 and 4 year institutions in the metro area.

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14 The Urban Transfer Research Network EAIR 2008 Swirl Patterns for Degree Completers

15 The Urban Transfer Research Network EAIR 2008 Data Analysis Summary Contribution of “swirling” to degree completion depends on type of swirling and degree or discipline. Patterns and completion rates differ by ethnicity and age. Attainment of 2-year associates degree facilitates transfer, but not necessarily baccalaureate completion.

16 The Urban Transfer Research Network EAIR 2008 Which factors predict transfer and bachelor’s attainment? Total Terms CC Transfer (1 = Transferred to PSU 0 = No Transfer) % FT CC Total Credits CC Credits/Term CC Bachelor’s Degree (1 = PSU Degree 0 = No PSU Degree) Transfer/Other Degree Enroll Pattern Term of Transfer Note: Covariates include age, gender, need-based aid

17 The Urban Transfer Research Network EAIR 2008 Policy/Data Connections StagePolicy/FactorData ElementsNotes ReadinessFinancial Affordability Perception of Affordability Not currently available Academic Preparedness Placement test scores Test scoreAre these available for the 1999 and 2000 cohorts? Placement indicator Math/Reading/Writing needed Currently have data for those who took the test during Summer or Fall 1999 or If a student took the placement test during another term, that data is not reflected here yet, but can be provided. Course taking behavior Remedial course taken – term taken, grade earned Not in the database currently, but can be provided by CCs

18 The Urban Transfer Research Network EAIR 2008 Recommendation: Communication & Information *Early *Often *Accurate Institutions should… Help students connect and learn more about transfer process early, when beginning at community college, and after transfer to the university. Require attendance at student orientation. Provide college success courses. Provide advising throughout.

19 The Urban Transfer Research Network EAIR 2008 Three Models for Data Sharing on Transfer Urban Transfer Research Network Participants DecentralizedCentralized OregonArizonaFlorida Community colleges and universities access a common data warehouse, established by the state legislature Somewhat centralized Community colleges and universities submit files to higher education system but data are not combined into common data base for use beyond standard reporting and analysis at system level Community colleges and universities access a common data warehouse, established by the state legislature

20 The Urban Transfer Research Network EAIR 2008 Data Base Issues Florida data base supports legislative decisions, but is more difficult for institutions or researchers to use. Unit record data cannot be obtained to track student pathways to the degree. Arizona’s data base was created in response to multiple needs, is located on a 4-year campus, and is easily accessible to institutions or researchers.

21 The Urban Transfer Research Network EAIR 2008 Data Base Issues--Oregon Creation of data base for UTRN was time-consuming, but helped foster inter- institutional cooperation and shared understanding of the issues. Oregon university system is proposing a statewide data warehouse similar to Arizona’s.

22 The Urban Transfer Research Network EAIR 2008 Further analysis of enrollment pattern characteristics Addition of course-taking data Tracking BA earners backward to CCs Analysis of administrator/faculty/staff interviews Student interviews in academic year Development of recommendations relevant to local, statewide, and national areas. Next Steps

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