This article describes the major findings from a longitudinal study of the impact of learning communities on the success of academically under-prepared, low-income students in 13 community colleges across the country. In this study, we employed both quantitative longitudinal survey and qualitative case study and interview methods. We utilized the former in order to
ascertain to what degree participation in a learning community enhanced student success and the latter to understand why and how it is that such communities do so. The findings strongly support adapting the learning community model to basic skills instruction to improve learning and persistence for this population.
Learning communities bring together small groups of college students who take two or more linked courses together — typically as a cohort. During the last few decades, many colleges and universities have started or expanded learning communities as a method to deliver curricula to students and forge closer bonds between students, among students and faculty, and between stu-dents and the institution. The learning community “movement” has grown in large part because of the leadership and advocacy of the Washington Center for Undergraduate Education at Evergreen State College. Founded in 1985, the Washington Center expanded its support for learning com-munities nationally after 1996 with support from the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) and the Pew Charitable Trusts. As of August 31, 2005, more than 245 learning communities were listed in the online directory of the National Learning Commons. The learning communities registered on this Web site are located at both two-year and four-year colleges. A recent survey by the Policy Center on the First Year of College found that all types of colleges and universities offer some form of learning communities; 62 percent of responding institutions en-rolled at least some cohorts of students into two or more courses.
The national high school graduation rate has continued to rise – but do students feel prepared for what comes next?
To help answer this question, YouthTruth analyzed survey responses from over 55,000 high school students. The data was gathered between September 2015 and December 2016 through YouthTruth’s anonymous online climate and culture survey administered in partnership with public school districts across 21 states. Our analysis looked at a subset of questions relating to college and career readiness and uncovered some key insights.
OUSA’s LGBTQ+ Student Experience Survey was a mixed methods research project conducted in Novem-ber 2014 designed to gain understanding of the opinions and experiences of Ontario university students who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, Questioning, or other orientations or identities that do not conform to cisgender and heterosexual paradigms (LGBTQ+). The purpose of the survey was to identify any gaps that might exist in university services, programming, and supports that can diminish or negatively impact university experiences for these students.
How do changing economic conditions and uncertain market opportunities affect young adults’ transition from their undergraduate college years to adult roles and responsibilities? The Arizona Pathways to Life Success (APLUS) project is uniquely positioned
to answer this question. Launched in 2007, APLUS examines what factors shape and guide individual life trajectories — the pathways that young adults tread on their way to independence and self-sufficiency.
The field of student attrition has grown tremen dously over the past two decades. The demographic characteristics of the population have induced us to consider how our institutions can more effectively serve their students and hopefully retain more of them until degree completion. As a result, studies of dropout and policy-oriented workshops concerned with prevention of attrition have become commonplace.
Canada has a highly educated population, and our overall rates of participation in post-secondary education are among the highest in the world. The problem of accessibility in Canadian higher education lies not in the overall rate of participation, but in the disparities and inequities in participation among elements of the Canadian population. Canadians from lower economic groups are less likely to obtain a postsecondary
education than individuals from wealthier backgrounds. Canada’s Aboriginal populations have extremely low levels of participation compared with
the population as a whole. Once admitted, there may also be important differences in whether students from different groups succeed in completing a postsecondary credential, or whether they are able to continue into professional or graduate programs.
In recent years, there has been a great and growing interest in measuring educational quality in the Ontario postsecondary education sector (PSE). Colleges and universities are interested in quality measures for academic planning purposes. Reliable indicators would allow them to identify effective educational practices as well as areas for improvement and to develop strategies in the hopes of improving educational experiences for students. The government is interested for accountability reasons. Quality has become an increasingly prominent focus of the McGuinty government, which seeks not only to increase the number of PSE graduates in the province but also to ensure the quality of degrees being awarded. Robust quality measures could be used to monitor individual institutional performance and to address issues at the sector level. Reliable and comparable provincial-level quality indicators could provide answers to questions such as how the Ontario PSE system is doing compared to other jurisdictions. The problem, however, is that educational quality cannot be easily defined, measured or assessed. Traditional quality indicators consist of two types: input measures (e.g., student-faculty ratio, class size, operating revenue per student) and outcome measures (e.g., retention rate, graduation rate, employment rate). Many researchers have argued that the focus on input measures and the oversimplified use of output measures may create a misleading picture of the quality of PSE in Ontario. Using input measures as quality indicators ignores the substantial differences in the effectiveness with which
institutions use available resources. Using output measures as quality indicators ignores the fact that universities differ from one another in terms of mission, size, location and student composition.
The focus of this project is on the assessment of transferable skills, and specifically resilience. Resilience has been defined as “the capacity of the person, family, or community to prevent, minimize, overcome, or thrive in spite of negative or challenging circumstances” (Wagnild & Young, 1993). In this report, Social Research and Demonstration Corporation (SRDC) investigates the most appropriate measures to assess resilience as a learning outcome of Ontario’s postsecondary education (PSE) system. The long-term aim is to support the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) in its efforts to determine the role of PSE in enhancing resilience as a transferable skill.
Mohawk College promises its students a “college experience that empowers them to transform their lives.” Mohawk recognizes that student success depends on the entire experience students have at college, both inside and outside the classroom.
With major strides in access to postsecondary education for all students in recent decades, it is tempting to assume that such progress has erased disparities in college enrollment and completion in the United States. Yet despite having one of the highest college participation rates in the world, large gaps persist in terms of access to and success in higher education in this country, particularly for low-income, minority, and first-generation students.
Given the pressure to remain competitive in the global knowledge economy, it is in our shared national interest to act now to increase the number of students who not only enter college, but more importantly earn their degrees, particularly bachelor’s
degrees. Due to the changing demographics of the United States, we must focus our efforts on improving postsecondary access and success among those populations who have previously been underrepresented in higher education, namely low-income and minority students, many of whom will be the first in their families to go to college.
Though research on student attrition is plentiful and debate over theories of student persistence vigorous, less attention has been paid to the development of a model of institutional action that provides institutions guidelines for effective action to increase student persistence and in turn student success. This report describes a model of action for institutions that is intended to increase student persistence. The report does so by reviewing not only the growing body of research on effective institutional practices, but also studies of effective state and federal policy. In doing so, it seeks, for the first time, to situate institutional action within the broader context of federal and, in particular, state policy.
Every year, some 55,000 students make transfers between post-secondary institutions within Ontario (ONCAT Annual Report 2016-17). Some students decide to transfer mid-degree to enter specific programs with courses they could not take elsewhere. Others may transfer for a variety of reasons, whether it be to make university more affordable, to be closer to family, or to improve the student’s mental health. The choice to transfer institutions is one made with the student’s academic and personal best interests in mind, and oftentimes the student has little to no control over the circumstances driving their decision.
In September 2001, the Association of Registrars of the Universities and Colleges of Canada’s (ARUCC) Executive Committee launched an initiative to develop a national academic record and transcript guide for use in Canadian postsecondary institutions. This Report is the result of that initiative.
Funded in part through the Learning Initiatives Program by the Learning and Literacy Directorate of Human Resources Development Canada, the work began at the end of August 2002 and was finished seven months later. A National Committee representative of all types of postsecondary institutions, in all parts of the country, was formed. Its investigations were supported by four representative Regional Committees from the Atlantic, from Québec, from Ontario and from the West.
As Canada’s youth consider their increasingly broad and complex array of post-secondary education (PSE) options, they are faced with potentially costly decisions. Moreover, they often do not have the information they need to make appropriate choices, which can negatively impact their participation and persistence in PSE. For many students, it is a challenge to choose,
design and follow a post-secondary pathway to its conclusion without deviating from their original plan. Students are increasingly taking non-linear pathways through PSE. Some may need to relocate and attend a different institution. Many students may decide to change the focus of their study, while others may wish to change their program entirely. Some may shift their goals from academic to applied forms of study, or vice versa. However, the structures of post-secondary systems in our provinces, and the various mechanisms that bind them, do not always provide clearly apparent and unobstructed pathways for students, particularly for mobile students. These problems are exacerbated by shifting mandates, roles, and labels of institutions across the Canadian PSE sector.
In 2013-14, the number of new college graduates in the U.S. — students earning their first postsecondary credential — fell for a second straight year, while the number of students receiving their second or third undergraduate credential continued a postrecession increase (Figure 1). The number of new college graduates saw strong growth in the first two years covered by this report (increasing at annual rates of 4.9 percent in 2010-11 and 4.3 percent in 2011- 12), followed by two years of declines (-2.1 percent in 2012-13 and -1.3 percent in 2013-14). In 2013-14, U.S. Title IV degree-granting institutions awarded 1,981,534 associate and bachelor’s degrees to students with no prior postsecondary award, only 0.7 percent more than they awarded in 2010-11 (1,968,334). Cumulatively, over eight million students received their first college degree (associate or bachelor’s) during this four-year period.
TORONTO, Feb. 14, 2017 /CNW/ - A new national survey released today reveals a bold portrait of Canada's Millennials (those born between 1980 and 1995), that for the first time presents the social values of this generation, and the distinct segments that help make sense of the different and often contradictory stereotypes that so frequently are applied to today's young adults.
The results show that Millennials cannot be lumped into a single group defined by their age, or by other demographic characteristics such as gender, region or socio-economic status. They are a diverse part of the Canadian society, made up of six social values "tribes", each reflecting a distinct worldview and approach to life. While Millennials may share some common experiences and aspirations as befits their stage in life, there are notable differences in outlook and life path across these tribes, be they "Engaged Idealists," "Bros and Brittanys," or "Lone Wolves."
News reports warn of an upcoming labour shortage that will be accompanied by high unemployment rates due to a large pool of workers who do not have the skills to participate in the Canadian labour market. Researchers and economists have suggested focusing on training populations of individuals who have historically been underrepresented in the labour market as a way of addressing this upcoming shortage.
Through its Employment Ontario – Literacy and Basic Skills program, the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities funds preparatory programs at all Ontario public colleges. These programs provide a pathway for non-traditional learners to access postsecondary education and training that would allow them to attain education, training and meaningful employment. Preparatory programs cater to prospective students interested in attending postsecondary programs, trades training or apprenticeships but who lack the admission requirements or who have been out of school for an extended period of time. Preparatory programs provide adult learners with the opportunity to improve their mathematics, communications, computer and science skills up to the level expected for college entry. The courses students take can also fulfill prerequisite requirements for entry into college programs. Other reasons students attend preparatory programs include personal development, career exploration, upgrading for employment purposes or interest in obtaining their high school equivalency.
The focus of this paper is on the importance of early educational engagement in the retention of postsecondary students. Tinto (1975, 1987) argues that greater academic and social integration in college leads to higher rates of retention. Empirical tests of the claim have been mixed and a frequent criticism of such studies is that the variables used to construct the academic
and social integration measures are not consistent across studies, making it difficult to replicate the results of individual studies. Questions on the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), however, offer a way around the difficulty of generalization. NSSE, administered nationally to freshmen and seniors by the Center for Postsecondary Research and Planning at Indiana University, is designed to measure student engagement. Since many of the questions about engagement are concerned with various aspects of students’ integration, by using the questions on NSSE to measure social and academic integration we hope to provide an easy and replicable way to examine the effect of integration on student retention.
The NSSE National Data Project is an element of ongoing engagement research and implementation practice in Canada. It has two primary objectives. The first is the construction of detailed NSSE reports (items means and frequencies, benchmarks and learning scales) at the academic program- and student subgroup-level for individual institutions rather than for peer
groups. The second is the development of statistical (regression) models to measure the relative contribution to engagement variation of student characteristics, program mix andinstitutional character at both the student record- and institution-level. Both objectives address the broader goals of providing greater focus to engagement improvement efforts, identifying clusters of promising practices and best engagement results, supporting improved interpretation and use of institutional engagement scores, and informing the development of institutional accountability procedures and metrics. The core of the project is a record-level data file containing the approximately 69,000 2008 or2009 NSSE responses and additional student records system data representing 44 Canadianuniversities. Student responses were classified into 10 general academic programs (e.g., Social
Sciences) and over 75 specific academic programs (e.g., History, Biology) and over 30 student subgroups (including first generation, First Nations and international).
The detailed NSSE reports indicate a considerable level of variation in student characteristics and program mix across Canadian universities; large differences in engagement item scores and benchmarks across academic program clusters and specific programs within clusters, and across student subgroups; and wide engagement variability across institutions of differing size.
A summary of the results from these detailed reports is presented below. The program- and student subgroup-level NSSE reports provide a more focused basis for comparing engagement university by university, and strongly suggest that institution-level engagement comparisons should take account of student, program and size variation and should not be presented without context in ranked format.
The regression models provide a more formal basis for identifying and quantifying the role of student, program and size variation in engagement, and permit a number of conclusions. First, student characteristics, program mix and institutional character all contribute to a comprehensive statistical explanation of engagement variation. Second, the wide variation in
institutional engagement scores is reduced considerably when student characteristics, program mix and institutional size are controlled. Third, each engagement benchmark requires a distinct statistical explanation: factors important to one benchmark are often quite different from those important to another. Fourth, Francophone and Anglophone institutions differ with respect to
certain key engagement dynamics. And finally, the models suggest several approaches to defining the institutional contribution to engagement and the scope of institutional potential to modify engagement level.