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Santa Monica College Professional Development Day March 13, 2003. The Freshman Year Experience. Facilitating Student Retention and Success Esau Tovar, M.S. Retention Counselor.

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The freshman year experience

Santa Monica College

Professional Development Day

March 13, 2003

The Freshman Year Experience

Facilitating Student Retentionand Success

Esau Tovar, M.S.

Retention Counselor


Scope of the problem

Without systematic intervention, students at-risk will perform poorly or dropout from college within their first year of attendance.

Community college students are more prone to dropping out.

Freshman to Sophomore Dropout Rates By Institution Type

Source: ACT Institutional Data Questionnaires 1999

Two-Year Public 47.5

Two-Year Private 30.1

BA/BS Public 33.3

BA/BS Private 28.6

MA Public 30.5

MA Private 24.0

PhD Public 23.5

PhD Private 16.4

National 32.6

Scope of the Problem


Smc retention information
SMC Retention Information perform poorly or dropout from college within their first year of attendance.


What s working in student retention

What’s Working in Student Retention? perform poorly or dropout from college within their first year of attendance.


Characteristics of highly successful retention programs
Characteristics of Highly Successful Retention Programs perform poorly or dropout from college within their first year of attendance.

  • Highly Structured Programs

    • THE key: Intrusive, proactive approaches to reach students before they experience difficulties

  • Interlocked with other programs and services

  • Extended, intense student contact

  • Strategized to “engage” students

  • Track student satisfaction

  • Institution-wide buy-in and understanding

  • Recognize, reward, and celebrate student success

  • Rewards and recognition for students, faculty, staff, administrators


Establishing retention priorities
Establishing perform poorly or dropout from college within their first year of attendance.Retention Priorities

  • Measurable targets for:

    • Recruitment

    • Retention

    • Persistence

    • Student Success

    • Student Satisfaction/Priorities


Best and most direct way to increase retention
Best and Most Direct Way to Increase Retention perform poorly or dropout from college within their first year of attendance.

  • Assess:

    • Individual needs

    • Individual attitudes

    • Individual motivation levels


What needs to occur
What Needs to Occur? perform poorly or dropout from college within their first year of attendance.

  • To improve retention, we must help students:

    • Connect to the environment

    • Adjust to the college transition

    • Work toward and reassess set goals

    • Succeed in their classes

    • Make them feel welcome and respected


Connecting to the college
Connecting to the College perform poorly or dropout from college within their first year of attendance.

  • Adjustment to College:

    • Are we a student-centered campus?

    • How do we know this?

    • What do students say about their priorities?

    • How satisfied are they with our programs and services?

    • Do we have a true customer service orientation?


How can we improve

How Can We Improve? perform poorly or dropout from college within their first year of attendance.


Structured first year experience
Structured First-Year Experience perform poorly or dropout from college within their first year of attendance.

  • For most or all participants?

    • Provide academic advising

    • Heavily influenced course selection

    • Supplemental instruction (SI) & Tutoring

    • Study groups

    • Services to assist with adjustment to the institution


Structured first year experience1
Structured First-Year Experience perform poorly or dropout from college within their first year of attendance.

  • Academic Advising

    • Must be developmental and intrusive in nature

      • Multiple visits per semester

    • Ongoing tracking

      • Early Alert-type evaluation


Structured first year experience2
Structured First-Year Experience perform poorly or dropout from college within their first year of attendance.

  • Heavily Influenced Course Selection

    • Learning communities

    • Freshman interest groups (FIGS)

    • Developmental instruction

    • Lecture-based vs. collaboratively taught; group discussion

    • Assessment driven


Structured first year experience3
Structured First-Year Experience perform poorly or dropout from college within their first year of attendance.

  • Supplemental Instruction & Tutoring

    • Establish a comprehensive and ongoing training program

    • SI may be instructor or staff-led

    • Multiple tutors for high-risk courses


Structured first year experience4
Structured First-Year Experience perform poorly or dropout from college within their first year of attendance.

  • Effective Study Groups

    • Most successful if led by a group leader—tutor

    • Meet regularly


Structured first year experience5
Structured First-Year Experience perform poorly or dropout from college within their first year of attendance.

  • Pre-Enrollment Services to Assist with College Adjustment:

    • Specialized/expanded college orientation

      • Not necessarily to provide academic or enrollment information

      • Experiential learning & Adventure recreation activities are offered

      • Faculty & student-staff involvement


Structured first year experience6
Structured First-Year Experience perform poorly or dropout from college within their first year of attendance.

  • "Targeted" Participant Recruitment and Participation Incentives

    • “Admission” criteria & control over ongoing participation

    • Promote opportunities for engagement—academically and socially

    • Personal, meaningful, and multiple contacts with faculty (in and out of the classroom—field trips, ad hoc discussions);

    • Mentoring experience

    • Teacher/student lunches

    • Employment opportunities

    • Arranged internships and externships


Focus on academic success

Focus on Academic Success perform poorly or dropout from college within their first year of attendance.

Don’t say it. Do it!


Encourage support student success
Encourage & Support Student Success perform poorly or dropout from college within their first year of attendance.

  • Build upon students’ academic skills and confidence

  • Help students learn subject matter (e.g., SI, course instruction, computer-assisted instructional laboratories, study groups, and/or tutoring).

  • Clear and Effective Grading Practices

  • Communicate Expectations


Encourage support student success1
Encourage & Support Student Success perform poorly or dropout from college within their first year of attendance.

  • Extensive Student Service Contacts

    • Frequent contact with students through individual and group activities

  • Work with students to:

    • Strengthen self-concept

    • Increase sense of control over environment

    • Set realistic goals and means to achieve them

    • Overcome negative educational experiences

    • Accept responsibility for own success/future


Encourage support student success2
Encourage & Support Student Success perform poorly or dropout from college within their first year of attendance.

  • Faculty Development Activities

    • Focused on instructional techniques, practices, improving retention

    • Formative & Summative Assessment

    • Grading Philosophies

      • Traditional

      • Constructivist


Best practices in developmental education

Best Practices in Developmental Education perform poorly or dropout from college within their first year of attendance.

Boylan, Bonham, & White (1999)


Best policies in developmental education
Best Policies in Developmental Education perform poorly or dropout from college within their first year of attendance.

  • Promoting institutional commitment to DE

  • Mandatory assessment and placement Provide comprehensive approach to DE courses and services

  • Enforce strict attendance

  • Abolish late registration in DE courses

  • Establish ongoing orientation courses and activities


Best practices in developmental education1
Best Practices in Developmental Education perform poorly or dropout from college within their first year of attendance.

  • Centralized structure and coordination of DE courses

  • Encourage professional development

  • Implement classroom assessment techniques (learning, feedback)

  • Engage in regular and systematic program evaluation

  • Focus of developing metacognitive skills

  • Give frequent tests

  • Use a theory-based approach to teaching

  • Integrate classroom, learning assistance, and laboratory activities


Learning communities

Learning Communities perform poorly or dropout from college within their first year of attendance.

Models and Practices


Learning communities components
Learning Communities Components perform poorly or dropout from college within their first year of attendance.

  • Students enroll in classes together

  • Best when courses are offered on a central theme or problem

  • Frequently team-taught

  • Use collaborative and/or problem-based learning approaches

  • Offer opportunities to forms connections with other students


Learning communities models

Unstructured perform poorly or dropout from college within their first year of attendance.

Thematic

Integrated

Learning Communities Models


Learning communities models1

Freshman Interest Group perform poorly or dropout from college within their first year of attendance.

Goal: To create a small academic learning community in a large college setting

Offered as triad of courses and discussion group/seminar based on a theme

Example of FIG

Learning Communities Models

Introductory Psychology

+

Individual & Group Correlates of Gender

Sociology of Gender

+

Cultural Anthropology

+

FIG Discussion Group


Identifying at risk students

Identifying At-Risk Students perform poorly or dropout from college within their first year of attendance.

Predictive Modeling Approaches


Identifying potential dropouts unsuccessful students
Identifying Potential Dropouts & Unsuccessful Students perform poorly or dropout from college within their first year of attendance.

  • Predictive Modeling: Statistical analysis of past behavior to simulate future results

    • Examine institution's historical data

    • Isolate and weight (according to statistical importance) attrition indicators

    • Indicators are used to form a custom predictive scoring model for each student group

    • Use indicators to:

      • Formulate priority-ranked intervention strategies based on likelihood-of-persistence ratings assigned to each entering student.