Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Emerging strategy: "success courses"

“Success courses” could help community college students reach academic goals (EdSource)

     An emerging strategy to promote community college success is to have students enroll in “student success courses” that focus on study and career skills and help guide them through their community college experience.
     Encouraging more students to take these courses, as part of a range of “student support services,” is a principal recommendation of the California Community College’s Student Success Task Force.
. . .
     The Task Force, whose recommendations will be considered by the California Community College’s Board of Governors next month, pointed out that students’ “college knowledge,” or awareness and understanding of “college culture” and support services, can help them navigate the complexities of life on campus and access services such as tutoring labs and financial aid that may be critical to their success.
     The report said the student success courses the Task Force had in mind would most likely be provided in a noncredit format in order to avoid issues related to cost or financial aid. But it left it up in the air as to whether they should be required for students who demonstrate they need help after taking an assessment test to measure their skill levels.
     If required, it is not clear how the community colleges would pay the costs of adding multiple new course sections to serve larger numbers of students. Some community college leaders also worry that making a student success course a requirement could have the unintended impact of erecting yet another obstacle that students have to traverse in order to reach their educational goals.
. . .
     [Nadine Rosenthal, the director of City College’s Learning Assistance Center] opposed making it a required course for students who are shown to be lagging on a placement test. She said it would be “logistically challenging” as well as extremely costly to offer as many as 100 course sections without a major increase in staffing — an unlikely prospect during this period of extreme cuts to the community colleges’ budget.
. . .
     The push to expand student success courses, said Bob Gabriner, a task force member and director of the Education Leadership Program at San Francisco State, is in part a response to the difficulties in providing students with regular access to college counselors, whose ranks have been drastically diminished as a result of budget cuts, even as enrollments have increased.
     “As you cut back on counseling resources and student services resources, you have to figure out how to deliver those services and that information in a more efficient way,” Gabriner said. Providing information during a 16-week semester course may be more effective than a one-time session with a counselor, he said, because instructors can reach far more students and can respond to students’ needs as they arise.
. . .
     The most compelling research showing the impact of comes from Florida, where students have taken “student life skills” classes. A 2006 study found that students who completed those classes were more more likely to earn a community college credential, transfer to the state university system, or still be enrolled in college after five years….

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

The use of the word "success" in any sentence has community college written all over it. Nothing new. Access to Success, in fact, was the name of a statewide program way back in the 80s. One-on-one instruction is good in so many ways for students who are under-prepared for college work, but call it what it is--math, chemistry, writing. Tossing in the word "success" seems small and vaguely insulting. Though, gotta say, "college knowledge" has a zip.

Anonymous said...

It couldn't hurt. I'ts just that today's students are lazy. All they care about is their texting, facebook, tattoos, and their reality TV shows. It's like they're waiting for something. Maybe if they wait long enough they'll finally get all that free stuff their child president promised them.

I fear no fish said...

As the parent of a Saddleback student, I think what's needed more than new courses is new academic counselors. My student had a terrible time figuring out what he needed to do in several situations, and every other CC student or parent of a CC student I've talked to has said the same. At Saddleback there's one counselor who knows what she's talking about, and finally my student got an appointment with her and everything was made clear. If he'd seen her sooner he could have finished a YEAR earlier!

Anonymous said...

I don't agree that students are lazy. Many students juggle work, classes, and family obligations. Don't underestimate them. They may be texting, looking at Facebook, and drinking a latte, but those minds are working overtime.

B. von Traven said...

It seems clear that these kids are juggling more these days, but it also seems clear, at least to me, that they are less able to focus and concentrate and organize. No doubt this reflects more global changes among young people -- the rise and prominence of quick-cycle activities on computers and phones and other gizmos. They also seem to suppose that they need not concern themselves much with their welfare for, somehow, others will step in and save them from folly. And so I find that you can state course requirements and then make a big effort to emphasize that you "MEAN IT" -- and they soon behave as though you were kidding about the requs or they've simply forgotten about them. I find that the hardest part of teaching these days is the effort required to keep students more or less doing the homework that they should. A constant and enervating battle.

B. von Traven said...

IFNF, I'm sorry to hear of your son's difficulties with counselor incompetence. I just don't know what to make of that. You'd think such counseling would be a simple matter, for it ain't rocket science.
Here at IVC, we have noticed that some counselors give advice that amounts to: X is more demanding than Y, so go with Y. From our perspective, knowing as we do how stunningly unprepared most students are, such advice is absurd and obnoxious. When we hear about such advising, we feel that counselors are not "on our side." At such times, it is as though they are working against us.

Anonymous said...

I agree- George W., the poor student and child president, is a poor role model for our children.


My students don't seem to be lazy - they are super-engaged on a variety of levels - just seldom so in the classroom. I can't compete with HULU reruns on their phones.

These students seem under-prepared for college studies and unmotivated.

Anonymous said...

George w. ain't the president now, BTW.

Anonymous said...

George W. reminds me of that commencement speaker we had who bragged about dropping out of college.
A "child president" indeed as 7:02 aptly pointed out. Daddy, I want to be president just like you.

Anonymous said...

I've had that same experience with counselors at both IVC & SB. They don't give a crap. There's only one at each campus that really care and know what they're talking about.

As far as one class being easier than another: It's a crap shoot, I've had some 200 level courses that were harder than some 300 level ones.

Anonymous said...

I have had the experience that counselors assume I want easy classes. This makes me feel they think I am dumb for being at community college. I expected more.

Anonymous said...

That stinky socialist now on his umteenth vacation at our expense, will never measure up to GWB.

Anonymous said...

Alliteration makes me HOT.