Community colleges have been at center stage in higher education’s movement to increase retention and graduation rates for students, especially among minority populations. Never in the history of these institutions have so many stakeholders agreed to this common goal. Never have so many foundations contributed so many funds to support the goal, and never has there been so much research to help colleges reach the goal.
Yet increasing retention and graduation rates remains elusive. The College Board Advocacy & Policy Center indicates that nationwide only 8 percent of community college students earn a certificate in six years, and only 14 percent earn an associate’s degree in six years. Fourteen percent of community college students do not earn a single credit in their first term, and almost 50 percent of students drop out by the second year. Yet community colleges are the institutions that serve over half of the nation’s Black and Hispanic college students.
How can institutions make more progress? One way is to evaluate and identify students’ behaviors that lead to their success — and help students bolster those behaviors and skills that will help more of them succeed in college.
We can now assess students’ preparedness for college based not only on traditional means such as placement tests or even high school transcripts, but also by measuring whether their behaviors and experiences make them ready to succeed.<Read more.>