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Using Data to Act Practitioner-Based Change for Students in Developmental Programs (Achieving the Dream) Durham Technical Community College AACC National.

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Presentation on theme: "Using Data to Act Practitioner-Based Change for Students in Developmental Programs (Achieving the Dream) Durham Technical Community College AACC National."— Presentation transcript:

1 Using Data to Act Practitioner-Based Change for Students in Developmental Programs (Achieving the Dream) Durham Technical Community College AACC National Convention, April 24, 2006

2 Achieving the Dream (AtD) AtD is a national initiative to help more community college students succeed. The initiative is particularly concerned about student groups that traditionally have faced significant barriers to success, including students of color and low-income students. Too many students leave community colleges without earning a certificate or degree, or without transferring to continue their studies [...]. When students complete courses and earn credentials, however, they can improve their own lives, which ultimately benefits the nation. (

3 Durham Tech: Who We Are Durham Technical Community College is one of the 58 North Carolina Community Colleges. We serve Durham and Orange Counties, which encompass Durham, the Research Triangle Park, Chapel Hill, and universities including Duke, NC Central University, and UNC at Chapel Hill. Durham Tech employs 139 full time faculty and 119 full time staff. The college serves approximately 5,500 curriculum students and 8,400 continuing education students each semester.

4 Durham Tech: What Our Data Revealed There were 564 students in the Fall 2002 cohort. Only 391 (69%) of these students re-enrolled in the second semester. By the end of the second year, only 237 students (42%) remained enrolled. 41 (7%) of the original 564 students had graduated by the end of spring 2004.

5 Durham Tech: What Our Data Revealed

6 299 of 564 students (53%) in the fall 2002 cohort were African-American. 14 (13%) of the 41 students who graduated within two years were African American. Thus, 14 out of 299 (4%) African American students had graduated within two years. 226 of 564 students (46%) in the fall 2002 cohort were White non-Hispanic. 28 (69%) of the 41 students who graduated within two years were White non-Hispanic. Thus, 28 out of 226 (12%) White non-Hispanic students had graduated within two years.

7 Durham Tech: What Our Data Revealed Culture of Evidence: In other words, White non-Hispanic students graduate at a rate that is three times the rate of African-American students enrolled at Durham Tech.

8 Durham Tech: How Our Culture Needed to Change Culture Shift: The college must engage each student as early as possible in order to improve placement, persistence, and performance.

9 Durham Tech: How We Responded Focus on First Year Experience Orientation: A pre-enrollment session for new students to the college focused on making a successful transition into college life Early Alert: A system for identifying and providing support to students who demonstrate signs of academic or personal difficulty Advising: Transforming the current culture of advising as course approval into a system of support and engagement of students Academic Skills Course: Providing a specific orientation course for students during the first semester of enrollment

10 Durham Tech: How We Responded Focus on Data-Informed Decisions ATD Data: Data prepared for the purpose of the grant, focusing on student demographics, placement, persistence, and performance in developmental and gateway courses Our Data: Additional data that is now being collected and analyzed regarding program effectiveness Thorough Review of Best Practices: Written evidence from other colleges that have improved the placement, persistence, and performance of students

11 Orientation: Where We Were Prior to 2005, orientation was held as a campus-wide student event with booths, activities, and food. Information was provided to interested students, not the ones that were least engaged. There was no specific target student audience. There was no data collected on orientation effectiveness. There was a general agreement that orientation was not critical to the mission of the college.

12 Orientation: What Our Data Revealed 147 (25%) of the AtD cohort chose not to re-enroll in Spring (61% female; 39% male; 40% Caucasian; 51% African American). Fifty-six of these students were surveyed by phone. Here were their reasons for not returning the second semester: Self-frustration at registering for too many classes Under-prepared for academic challenges Difficulty adapting to college environment Lack of adequate preparation Sense of failure from first semester experience. Implicit feeling that they had messed up

13 Orientation: What Our Data Revealed 324 Students surveyed using Faces of the Future indicated that personal financial problems, costs of textbooks, and family responsibilities were the top three reasons for a lack of success while enrolled: 63% indicated that family responsibilities were a problem. 68% indicated that financial concerns were a problem. 74% indicated that the cost of textbooks was a problem.

14 Orientation: What Our Data Revealed

15 Orientation: How We Responded The college started with six orientation sessions before the beginning of the semester, each 90 minutes. Student self-assessment was part of the session. Each session covered the critical topics of financial aid, purchasing books, managing college demands on time, along with general advising and registration information. Sessions were offered at times convenient to students, primarily evening and weekends. Sessions were targeted to newly admitted students.

16 Orientation: How Our Culture Needed to Change Culture Shift: Orientation is critical to the successful persistence and performance of first-time enrolled students.

17 Orientation: Where We Are Now Prior to fall 2005, 212 persons chose to attend one the non- mandatory orientation sessions offered. 57% of the persons attending were women, 43% men. 50% of the students were White, 37% Black, 6% Latino, and 4% Asian. Out of those who attended, 84% persons enrolled. Out of a list of several concerns, preparing for the placement test was the top concern. Of the students who were admitted to a program, enrolled the subsequent semester, and who attended orientation, 72% re-enrolled during the second term.

18 Early Alert: Where We Were Students could seek assistance in the Campus Learning Center for tutorial services or the Counseling Services and Student Development Office for other student services. However, many students did not follow through with referrals, many faculty members referred students too late in the semester, and communication among the instructor, tutor, counselor, and student was not an expectation. There was not a deliberate way to put our arms around the most at-risk students – early.

19 Early Alert: What Our Data Revealed 2002 Cohort: 564 Students Developmental Math Placement:271 students (48%) Enrollment:220 students in 1 st term Performance:145 students passed (66%) Developmental Reading Placement:197 students (35%) Enrollment:161 students in 1 st term Performance: 85 students passed (53%) Developmental English Placement:197 students (35%) Enrollment:158 students in 1 st term Performance:129 students passed (82%) Persistence: 69% re-enrolled in Spring 2003

20 Early Alert: How Our Culture Needed to Change Culture shift: It is our business when academic and life issues have a negative impact on our students abilities to perform and persist at the college.

21 Early Alert: How We Responded DS faculty members step in to assist at-risk students – early. If they need back up, they submit an Early Alert referral: A student exhibiting life-skills problems is referred to Counseling and Student Development counselor (mentoring, financial assistance, bus pass, textbooks, child care assistance, health issues, etc.) A student exhibiting academic problems is referred to Campus Learning Center Early Alert tutor (math, reading, or English intensive tutoring)

22 Early Alert: Where We Are Now Fall 2005Spring 2006 Students Referred to Early Alert Counselor7264 Tardiness/Absenteeism3035 Personal Problems2526 Financial Problems169 Textbook and Materials146 Health Issues107 Participation Concerns98 Child Care Problems77 Transportation59 Behavior Concerns02 Students Referred to Early Alert Math Tutors46100 Students Referred to Early Alert English/Reading Tutors 4758

23 Developmental Math: Where We Were Students took a diagnostic exam during the first week of classes, a departmental midterm, and a departmental proficiency exam at the end of the term, but there was little analysis of the results and weak correlation among the exams. Sixty percent of Developmental Math courses were taught by adjunct faculty members. There was no overall awareness of how different groups were performing in math, nor was there a discussion of how changes in the department would affect these groups.

24 Developmental Math: What Our Data Revealed

25 Out of 564 students in the 2002 Cohort, 296 (52%) were African American. Out of the 296, 152 African American students attempted a developmental math course in their first semester. 26 attempted MAT 070 ------- 62% successful completion rate 52 attempted MAT 060 ------- 38% successful completion rate 74 attempted MAT 050 ------- 72% successful completion rate

26 Developmental Math: How Our Culture Needed to Change Culture Shift: The developmental math department is responsible for knowing how various groups enrolled in math courses are performing and must make thoughtful changes to the program in a effort to help each student have success in mathematics.

27 Developmental Math: How We Responded Developmental math faculty members are revising the diagnostic, midterm, and proficiency exams to assess student learning outcomes more accurately, paying special attention to problem areas in the MAT 060 course. The department now offers a MAT 070-MED course designed to prepare students for entry into health tech programs. The college has increased the number of full-time developmental math positions. Developmental math faculty members are creating a developmental math website for students and faculty.

28 Durham Tech: Other Initiatives Change marketing tools to encourage career development instead of coming to take a course. Develop an advising system that encourages early and meaningful engagement with an assigned advisor. Develop textbook support options for low-income students. Implement a campus-wide orientation course for students. Provide free city bus transportation to all eligible students. Focus the mentoring programs on more at-risk students. Develop an online orientation alternative.

29 Given the multiple commitments [of community college] students and the challenges they bring with them to college, engagement does not happen by accident. It must happen by design. McClenney, K. & Greene, T. (2005). A tale of two students: Building a culture of engagement in the community college. About Campus, 10(3), 2-7.

30 Questions?

31 Contact Information Durham Technical Community College Bill Ingram, Senior Vice President and Chair of Durham Techs ATD Core Team (919) 686-3656

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