Yesterday, the OC Register threw Orange Coast College (OCC) a big fluffy softball in the form of the article "Orange Coast College tops in 4-year transfers”.
Indeed, OCC is tops when it comes to CSU transfers. Check out the rest of the top 25 “transfer” (to CSU) community colleges. They're listed in the article.
Alas, SOCCCD’s two colleges are nowhere to be found on that list. How come? (See update below. IVC is too small. Saddleback is not.)
Today, the Reg throws a somewhat harder ball at the same college: "Community college students stuck in rut”. OCC may be No. 1 in CSU transfers—and No. 3 in combined UC/CSU transfers—but that doesn’t mean that many students are transferring or that many students are getting degrees:
Students at California's community colleges are unlikely to earn associate's degrees or transfer to four-year universities, even if they enroll with those goals in mind, according to a new study from the Public Policy Institute of California.Hmmm. That doesn't sound so good. (To be fair: Aden is just one case. Proves nothing.)
Researchers studied student data over seven years and described "pervasive attrition" throughout the system, particularly among older, black and Hispanic students….
"Providing associate's degrees is a major function of community colleges, yet less than one-tenth of students … earned an associate's degree," according to the [report’s authors]…. "In addition, only about a quarter of students who were focused on transfer courses in their first year eventually transferred to a four-year institution."
…"This is not a report that says that community colleges are doing a bad job. They may just have students who are ill-prepared to achieve," said Hans Johnson, the research fellow who edited the report. "But there is an educational mismatch between what employers demand and what our system can supply. Employers are going to demand more college graduates than the state is able to produce."
…The statewide chancellor for the community colleges, Marshall Drummond, said many of the system's students arrive ill-prepared for college work and need to take remedial training, slowing the process.
University of California and California State University officials also blame poor preparation by K-12 schools for their student attrition
…OCC student Josh Aden remembers going to an academic counselor when he arrived on campus in fall 2004 and asking for help setting up a plan to see what he needed to transfer.
According to Aden, the counselor misdirected him into four classes that turned out to be nontransferable – a fact he didn't learn until he went to another counselor the following year.
"He said, 'Why are you taking these classes?' I said, 'Well, the other guy told me to take them.' He said: 'Don't take them. They are nontransferable. You don't need to be taking these classes.' "….
I'm so glad that I teach at the far superior South Orange County Community College District, a district so phenomenally kick-ass that the Chancellor--Raghu P. Mathur--has been rewarded with a salary well over a quarter million dollars a year! Imagine that!
On Monday, the Board of Trustees gave him more fabulous cash prizes!
--No, wait. The Reg article includes a list of the “top 25” community colleges re transferring to California's four-year institutions (i.e., CSU & UC combined).
OCC is No. 3. Good for them. Fullerton College is No. 8. Not bad.
Our own Saddleback College is way down there at No. 21. Hmmm.
IVC isn’t even on the list. [Well, its size takes it out of the competition. See below.]
--OK, OK. We're still kick-ass! I mean, consider the surge in enrollments we've been experiencing!
Well, no. I checked. There's no surge. We're definintely sans surge.
Increases in productivity? Nope. Sterling accreditation evaluations? Not. Um.......
I'm thinking, I'm thinking!
Some who left comments (see) made valid points that require a more careful examination of the data. For instance, is it fair to expect IVC to make the top 25 in number of students who transfer when it is a relatively small college? Etc.
Below, is the ranked list of California community colleges that transfer the most students to the University of California and California State University systems, 2005-06—according to the Register’s article, Community college students stuck in rut.
I wanted to find enrollment data for these colleges, and so I went to the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office website and found a page called Chancellor’s Office Data Mart. I could find no data concerning headcount (i.e., the number of students enrolled per college), but I did find data, per college, for “Full Time Equivalent Students." (FTES takes all courses taken and divides by a full-time student’s load of classes.)
I selected “annual 2005-6” and got data for all California community colleges. I focused only on “credit” FTES.
The upshot: below is the Register’s ranked list—plus FTES in each case. (I do hope I made no clerical errors. I rounded to the nearest 100.)
1. Santa Monica College (23,900)
2. De Anza College (23,100)
3. Orange Coast College (17,800)
4. Diablo Valley College (16,500)
5. Pasadena City College (21,500)
6. Mt. San Antonio College (22,000)
7. City Coll. of San Francisco (30,000)
8. Fullerton College (16,500)
9. El Camino College (15,300)
10. Riverside Comm. College (21,800)
11. San Diego Mesa College (14,000)
12. American River College (21,200)
13. Fresno City College (15,600)
14. Grossmont College (11,600)
15. Sierra College (13,200)
16. Palomar College (18,700)
17. Moorpark College (12,200)
18. Santa Rosa Jr. College (16,900)
19. Santa Barbara City Coll. (13,100)
20. Pierce College (12,400)
21. Saddleback College (13,800)
22. Glendale Community Coll. (11,900)
23. Sacramento City College (16,100)
24. Cerritos College (18,600)
25. East Los Angeles College (17,400)
Irvine Valley College has 7,000 FTES, and so, indeed, it is unreasonable to expect IVC to make this list—a list that comprises no colleges with fewer than 11,600 FTES.
Of course, the real issue is: how well does IVC do re transfers compared to other community colleges with similar FTES/enrollments? I have the transfer numbers for IVC (see Student right to know—rates), but I do not have comparison numbers.
How well does Saddleback College do re transfers compared to other colleges with equal or fewer FTES? I’ve taken the above list and ranked it by number of FTES:
1. City Coll. of San Francisco (30,000)
2. Santa Monica College (23,900)
3. De Anza College (23,100)
4. Mt. San Antonio College (22,000)
5. Riverside Comm. College (21,800)
6. Pasadena City College (21,500)
7. American River College (21,200)
8. Palomar College (18,700)
9. Cerritos College (18,600)
10. Orange Coast College (17,800)
11. East Los Angeles College (17,400)
12. Santa Rosa Jr. College (16,900)
13. Diablo Valley College (16,500)
14. Fullerton College (16,500)
15. Sacramento City College (16,100)
16. Fresno City College (15,600)
17. El Camino College (15,300)
18. San Diego Mesa College (14,000)
19. Saddleback College (13,800)
20. Sierra College (13,200)
21. Santa Barbara City Coll. (13,100)
22. Pierce College (12,400)
23. Moorpark College (12,200)
24. Glendale Community Coll. (11,900)
25. Grossmont College (11,600)
Again, the real issue is, how well does Saddleback College do re transfers compared to colleges with comparable FTES? Check this out:
Fresno City College (15,600) #13
El Camino College (15,300) #9
San Diego Mesa College (14,000) #11
Saddleback College (13,800) #21
Sierra College (13,200) #15
Santa Barbara City Coll. (13,100) #19
Pierce College (12,400) #20
Moorpark College (12,200) #17
Glendale Community Coll. (11,900) #22
Grossmont College (11,600) #14
I selected these ten colleges on the Register's list, with FTES from 11,600 to 15,600—roughly comparable to Saddleback College’s 13,800.
Within this group, only one college is ranked lower in transfers than Saddleback College. (Remember, too, that Saddleback College doesn't appear at all on the list of top 25 CSU transfer institutions.)
Of course, it is possible that there are other community colleges (with comparable FTES) that didn’t make the top 25. (See all California community colleges.) But it’s late, I’m tired, and I’m goin’ to bed.