Increasing college completion is meaningless unless certificates and degrees represent real learning, which community colleges must work harder to ensure, says a report released on Thursday by the Center for Community College Student Engagement.
While national education goals prioritize attainment, community colleges must focus on quality, says the annual report, which is based on focus groups and data from three surveys: the 2010 Community College Survey of Student Engagement, the 2010 Community College Faculty Survey of Student Engagement, and the 2009 Survey of Entering Student Engagement, which polled students in their first few weeks of enrollment last fall.
This year’s report, “The Heart of Student Success: Teaching, Learning, and College Completion,” centers on “deep learning,” or “broadly applicable thinking, reasoning, and judgment skillsâ€”abilities that allow individuals to apply information, develop a coherent world view, and interact in more meaningful ways.” By some measures, students are doing well.
Would it surprise you to know that I was frustrated by this study? The reason I was is in the article, by Sara Lipka, itself.
the national push for attainment could drive those expectations down further, she says, citing a remark she worries about hearing on campuses: “Well, sure, we know how to retain students and help them complete. We just lower our standards.”
I’ve heard it on my campus. Haven’t you heard it on yours?
My classes in developmental writing have a 40% attrition rate. I have seven essays, three revisions, and one hundred homework/classwork assignments.
Someone else at my college has 95% retention rate. She has two essays and no homework.
But if you are looking at attrition rates, her classroom is the more attractive.