October 2, 2015
This study explores community college student mental health by comparing the responses of California community college and traditional university students on the American College Health Association-National College Health Assessment II (ACHA-NCHA II). Using MANOVA, we compared community college and traditional university students, examining overall group differences on four multicomponent questions; pairwise comparisons also were used to examine individual survey items. This study found significant differences in reported mental health issues and needs between the students. More specifically, a pattern of difference in psychological concerns, available resources, and resource utilization emerged, with community college students having more severe psychological concerns and less institutional mental health resources than traditional university students. Findings suggest that both community colleges and traditional universities would benefit from increased mental health resources, though community colleges are particularly in need.
Seth Katz, D., & Davison, K. (2014). Community college student mental health: A comparative analysis. Community College Review, 42, 307-326. doi: 10.1177/0091552114535466 Read More
October 2, 2015
This study examined community and institutional factors that influence offering online workforce development programs in community colleges. The study included a random sample of 321 community college in the United States. Findings conclude that colleges operating under statewide governance structures and in states with more highly centralized statewide practices have more online occupational programs than other types of institutions. In addition, student racial demographics factor into online course offerings. Institutions with higher percentages of White students are more likely to offer online occupational programs. These findings illustrate a potential need for additional online program development in colleges with larger percentages of students of color and raise questions about how states with decentralized systems can increase educational access by facilitating additional online workforce development programs.
Githens, R. P., Sauer, T. M., Crawfor, F. L., Cumberland, D. M., & Wilson, K. B. (2014). Online workforce development in community colleges: connection with community, institutional, and governance factors. Community College Review, 42, 283-306. doi: 10.1177/0091552114534724. Read More
October 2, 2015
As one of the few qualitative studies on this topic, this phenomenological study examined how parolees experience participation in a community college reentry program. One-on-one interviews were conducted with 11 parolee college students. Major themes found that parolees enjoy the college environment and that they have become role models for their families as a result of their college experiences. Most participants also believe that taking community college classes has improved their parole experiences and will decrease their chances of returning to prison. This research reveals a potential role for more community colleges to serve such parolee populations as part of their public good mission.
Potts, K., & Palmer, L. L. (2014). Voices of parolees attending community college: Helping individuals and society. Community College Review, 42, 267-282. doi: 10.1177/0091552114534725. Read More
September 14, 2015
Using data from more than 2,000 community college science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) majors in the National Postsecondary Student Aid Study, this research investigates how ethnicity, gender, non-traditional student risk factors, academic preparation, socio-economic status, and English-as-second-language/citizenship status relate to online course enrollment patterns. Even after controlling for other factors, Blacks and Hispanics (Black and Hispanic men, in particular) were significantly underrepresented in online courses, women were significantly overrepresented, and students with non-traditional student risk factors (delayed enrollment, no high school diploma, part-time enrollment, financially independent, have dependents, single-parent status, and working full-time) were significantly more likely to enroll online. However, although ethnicity, gender, and non-traditional factors were all important predictors for both 2- and 4-year STEM majors, at community colleges, ethnicity and gender were more important predictors of online enrollment than non-traditional characteristics, which is the opposite pattern observed at 4-year colleges.
Wladis, C., Conway, H., & Conway, M. (2015). The representation of minority, female, and non-traditional STEM majors in the online environment at community colleges: A nationally representative study. Community College Review, 43, 89-114. doi: 10.1177/0091552114555904 Read More
September 14, 2015
Anticipated retirements and relatively short tenure in office create a shortage of community college presidents in the United States. To fill the unprecedented number of vacancies requires a cadre of candidates well prepared for the demands of the position. Using Satir's change model as a theoretical framework, this year-long reflective study examined eight first-time community college presidents in California. Satir's model describes six stages of change; this article focuses on the third stage, one of chaos, or disequilibrium. Participants identified key professional experiences, the role of mentors, professional development activities, and doctoral studies as important strategies for navigating this professional disequilibrium and pursuing their career aspirations.
McNair, D. E. (2015). Deliberate disequilibrium: Preparing for a community college presidency. Community College Review, 43, 72-88. doi: 10.1177/0091552114554831. Read More
September 14, 2015
This study examines how interactions with institutional agents (faculty and academic counselors) and select student support programs influence success (i.e., grade point average) and intentions to persist to degree completion for Latino/a community college students. Using social capital theory and college impact models, the study controls for the effects of select pre-college student characteristics, transition- to-college experiences, and academic and social factors. Findings indicate that interactions (quantity and type) with institutional agents exercise a small, but significant effect on Latino/a students' success. Similarly, participation in an academically rigorous program and a counseling-intensive support program influences students' success and intent to persist. Implications for practice are addressed.
Tovar, E. (2015). The role of faculty, counselors, and support programs on latino/a community college students' success and intent to persist. Community College Review, 43, 46-71. doi: 10.1177/0091552114553788 Read More
September 14, 2015
Community colleges increase college access, extending postsecondary educational opportunities to underserved students, yet, these students exhibit low rates of program completion and transfer to 4-year colleges. Sociological research on community colleges focuses on the tension between increasing educational opportunity and failing to improve equity in college completion across key demographics, such as race and socioeconomic status. This article provides an overview of sociology's approach to understanding community colleges. We describe sociological theories, examine the contributions they make to the field, and discuss the discipline's recent debates regarding community colleges. We conclude by highlighting research areas for further progress and discussing the role sociology could play in transforming community colleges.
Schudde, L., & Goldrick-Rab, S. (2015). Community College Review, 43, 27-45. doi: 10.1177/0091552114553296. Read More
September 14, 2015
To support the long-term success of underprepared students, many community colleges are experimenting with accelerated developmental education models, which allow students to complete remediation and enroll in college-level math and English within a shorter time frame. This study examines three developmental acceleration programs, including two in English and one in math. Overall, students on accelerated pathways were more likely than a set of matched peers to successfully complete the relevant college-level course within 3 years. However, to help maintain strong student performance within subsequent college-level courses, accelerated pathways may need to incorporate rigorous content, systematic faculty development, and targeted student supports.
Jaggars, S. S., Hodara, M., Cho, S. W., & XUXu, Di. (2015). Three accelerated developmental education programs: Features, student outcomes, and implications. Community College Review, 43, 3-26. doi: 10.1177/0091552114551752 Read More
September 14, 2015
Objective: This study examined to what extent differences exist in pre-college characteristics and academic performance between Black male student-athletes and their student-athlete peers. Method: Data provided by the Florida Department of Education's PK-20 Education Data Warehouse (EDW) were analyzed as a function of group membership (gender and race), using descriptive analysis, cross-tabulations, and a one-way ANOVA. The sample included 513 cases, with White females comprising 36.3% of the sample, White males 24.3%, Black females 15.5%, and Black males 14.3%. Student-athletes' academic performance was operationalized using four continuous variables (grade point average [GPA], course credit hours enrolled, course credit hours earned, and credit hours enrolled/earned ratio) and one dichotomous variable degree completion).Results: Findings suggest that Black males earned 72% of the credit hours they attempted, which was less than all other examined groups. Within Black males, differences between socio-economic groups were also found. Individuals identified as high socio-economic status (SES) earned approximately 82% of credit hours enrolled, compared with those identified as low SES, which earned 67% of credit hours attempted. Between-group differences were also found when examining college readiness and percentage of degrees completed. Contributions: This study contributes to the extant literature on student-athletes at community and 2-year colleges by providing insight into the potential impact individual characteristics have on academic performance outcomes for Black male student-athletes. The author also provides thoughtful consideration concerning how institutions and policy changes can positively affect these outcomes.
Horton , D. (2015). Between a ball and a harsh place: A study of black male community college student-athletes and academic progress. Community College Review, 43, 287-305. doi: 10.1177/0091552115578168 Read More
September 14, 2015
Objective: Given the current concern across the United States with improving community-college student outcomes, particularly in developmental education, understanding what students encounter inside developmental education classrooms is a necessary first step. Method: Drawing on data from a study of teaching practices inside developmental math courses at two large, urban-serving community colleges in the Northeast United States, I open up the "black box" of developmental math teaching at the community-college level. Focusing specifically on data gathered through classroom observations, instructor interviews, and curricular artifacts from six sections of developmental math, I explore two distinct curricula as they were enacted in class sessions and through the classroom discourse around solving math problems and analyze the extent to which each approach reflects the recommendations for mathematics instruction advocated by professional mathematics associations. Results: I found that differences in pedagogical goals (and related notions of mathematical proficiency) were integrally linked to differences in the what and how of assessing student learning, and that contrasting approaches to assessment maintain critical implications for accounting for failure inside developmental math classrooms. Contributions: I conclude with insights regarding future research and reform, for developmental math instruction both to realize robust mathematical learning goals and to facilitate students' successful completion of developmental math courses.
Cox, R. D. (2015). "You've got to learn the rules": A classroom-level look at low pass rates in developmental math. Community College Review, 43, 264-286. doi: 10.1177/0091552115576566 Read More
September 14, 2015
Objective: To learn how interactions among the content, professor, and students shaped passing and failing developmental English at one urban-serving community college (USCC).Method: I observed three sections of developmental English at USCC throughout a semester and conducted semi-structured interviews with all three professors and a sample of 23 student volunteers from across the three courses. The analysis drew on field notes from 58 classroom session observations, transcripts of the instructor, and student interviews, and more than 100 pages of course documents handed out to students (i.e., syllabi, assignments, rubrics, etc.).Results: Students' high school experiences shaped approaches to coursework (at least initially), whereby students quickly completed assignments without regard to the assessment criteria and expected passing grades for their effort. However, passing required students to adopt a new approach whereby they revised an unacceptable draft of an essay assignment into a satisfactory one. Conclusion: The findings suggest that pedagogy focused on developing drafting and revising practices helped students develop the approaches necessary to pass. Further research is needed to understand a wider range of influences on students' learning experiences as well as how pedagogy influences passing and failing.
Perun, S. A. (2015). "What the Hell Is Revise?": A qualitative study of student approaches to coursework in developmental English at one urban-serving community college. Community College Review, 43, 245-263. doi: 0.1177/0091552115580593 Read More
September 14, 2015
Objective: The labor market success of community college students depends on both the attributes of individual students and the characteristics of the community colleges they attend. In this article, we examine the impact of community college characteristics on the earnings of first-time college students who enrolled in the North Carolina Community College System in 2002-2003.Method: We estimate multilevel models that incorporate variables representing institutional features of community colleges along with individual characteristics obtained from student-level administrative college transcript data, Unemployment Insurance wage data, and enrollment and graduation data from the National Student Clearinghouse across 830,000 community college students between 2001 and 2010.Results: We find that a number of characteristics of community colleges enhance earnings independently of the attributes of individuals. In particular, males attending community colleges in service areas with higher unemployment rates receive lower earnings, and students in colleges with larger enrollments earn more. Contributions: There are relatively few studies of how institutional factors affect community college effectiveness and those that do this usually concentrate on the attainment of particular awards or transfer rates to 4-year colleges. We address this gap by examining how institutional factors influence the labor market returns to community college participation. Our results underscore the importance of social contexts for explaining student achievement and success as well as highlight the need for much more research to understand differences in labor market outcomes of community college participation and the economic value of credentials and credits.
Citation: Kalleberg, A. L., & Dunn, M. (2015). Institutional determinants of labor market outcomes for community college students in North Carolina. Community College Review, 43, 224-244. doi:10.1177/0091552115576565 Read More
September 14, 2015
Objective: To examine the discursive strategies deployed by community colleges to sustain legitimacy in an evolving and contradictory institutional environment. Method: Using corpus linguistics software, I compared 1,009 mission statements from 2012-2013 with a reference corpus of 427 mission statements from 2004.Results: Keywords analysis, collocation analysis, and concordance analysis suggest that mission statements have changed along four discourse trajectories: credentialing structures, pedagogies, practices, and curriculum goals. Contributions: These findings situate the community college as a point of entry into understanding the relations among institutional legitimacy and a changing cultural, political, and economic milieu.
Ayers, D. F. (2015). Credentialing structures, pedagogies, practices, and curriculum goals: Trajectories of change in community college mission statements. Community College Review, 43, 191-214. doi: 10.1177/0091552115569847. Read More
September 14, 2015
Objective: Despite the fairly substantial body of literature devoted to understanding whether dual enrollment programs are related to academic success in college, less is known regarding how dual enrollment transmits its potentially positive influence, especially among two-year college students. In this study, we fill this gap by delving into the process of how dual enrollment is related to academic success among students attending two-year technical colleges. Specifically, we examine academic momentum as a potential mediator of the relationship between dual enrollment and educational outcomes. Methods: We draw on a sample of more than 15,000 first-time postsecondary students who entered Wisconsin's two-year technical colleges in 2009 to 2010 after graduating from high school between 2007 and 2009. Using a path analysis, we investigate student transcript records, along with data from the National Student Clearinghouse. Results: Participation in dual enrollment is found to be related to more attempted credits, higher likelihood of college entry without delay, summer enrollment, as well as stronger academic performance. These early academic momentum indicators are then positively related to students' college completion or retention, fully accounting for the positive relationship between dual enrollment participation and college outcomes. Contributions: Our study provides a finer look into two-year college students' academic progress and success and how dual enrollment may fuel this process by promoting students' academic momentum early during their college careers.
Wang, X., Chan, H. Y., Phleps, L. A., & Washbon, J. (2015). Fuel for success: Academic momentum as a mediator between dual enrollment and educational outcomes of two-year technical college students. Community College Review, 43, 165-190. doi: 10.1177/0091552115569846 Read More
September 14, 2015
Objective: This study analyzes how ethnicity, gender, and non-traditional student characteristics relate to differential online versus face-to-face outcomes in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses at community colleges. Method: This study used a sample of 3,600 students in online and face-to-face courses matched by course, instructor, and semester from a large urban community college in the Northeast. Outcomes were measured using rates of successful course completion (with a "C
Wladis, C., Conway, K. M., & Hachey, A. C. (2015). The online STEM classroom--who succeeds? An exploration of the impact of ethnicity, gender, and non-traditional student characteristics in the community college context. Community College Review, 43, 142-164. doi: 10.1177/0091552115571729 Read More
September 14, 2015
Objective: Excess credits earned by college students, over and above those required to complete their programs of study, have become increasingly a subject of interest and concern. There has been almost no research on the extent of these credits. This study focuses on all of the associate degree programs within one state's community college system and measures the extent of excess credits within each program. Method: I created a measure of the number of excess credits earned relative to all credits earned and measured the extent to which colleges and programs vary in the levels of excess credits. Within particular academic programs, such as business, nursing, and general studies, I generated measures of the extent to which program-related and general education courses create excess credits. I examined the transcripts of some students who have earned excess credits, to see specifically what they did. Results: I take no normative position on the usefulness or harm of excess credits, but instead explore some of the factors that may generate them. Contribution: I suggest some policies that might be implemented to reduce excess credits, if desired.
Zeidenberg, M. (2015). Valuable learning or "spinning their wheels"? Understanding excess credits earned by community college associate degree completers. Community College Review, 43, 123-141. doi: 10.1177/0091552115571595 Read More
July 28, 2015
The multi-pronged study described in this report was designed to determine the implicit definition of college-text ready at one community college. The impetus for this study is a need to fully understand what it means to be college-text-ready based on the literacy demands, practices, and expectations in introductory-level general education courses. Only with this deeper understanding of college-text-readiness can college reading professionals begin to design effective literacy interventions to help students who may not be considered college-text-ready. Thus, another major goal of this study is to provide information on whether, how, and to what extent current developmental reading courses are adequately preparing students for the reading expectations of the introductory-level courses that follow. Three component investigations were conducted: one on the text practices and expectations as observed, one on the faculty perspectives, and one on the student perspectives. Data sources included text analyses, classroom observations, faculty surveys and focus groups, and student surveys and focus groups. Findings include a mismatch between developmental reading and general education courses in terms of the text types and difficulty levels, the purpose for the text, and the text-associated tasks and learning foci. Another major finding is that general education faculty in this study do not provide text instruction, and tend to use text-alternatives to deliver content instead. Finally, in response to the original driving question, the findings of this study suggest that there is not any explicit or widely accepted definition of college-text ready at this institution.
Armstrong, S. L., Stahl, N. A., & Kantner, M. J. (2015). What constitutes 'college-ready' for reading? An investigation of academic text readiness at one community college. (CISLL Technical Report no. 1). Retrieved from the Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Language and Literacy website: http://www.niu.edu/cisll/_pdf/reports/TechnicalReport1.pdf Read More
May 7, 2015
There is no clear theoretical prediction regarding whether home computers are an important input in the educational production function. To investigate the hypothesis that access to a home computer affects educational outcomes, we conduct the first-ever field experiment involving the provision of free computers to students for home use. Financial aid students attending a large community college in Northern California were randomly selected to receive free computers and were followed for two years. Although estimates for a few measures are imprecise and cannot rule out zero effects, we find some evidence that the treatment group achieved better educational outcomes than the control group. The estimated effects, however, are not large. We also provide some evidence that students initially living farther from campus benefit more from the free computers than students living closer to campus. Home computers appear to improve students' computer skills and may increase the use of computers at non-traditional times. The estimated effects of home computers on educational outcomes from the experiment are smaller than the positive estimates reported in previous studies. Using matched CPS data, we find estimates of educational effects that are considerably larger than the experimental estimates.
Fairlie, Robert W., and Rebecca A. London. 2012. "The Effects of Home Computers on Educational Outcomes: Evidence from a Field Experiment with Community College Students," The Economic Journal, 122(561): 727-753. Read More
April 17, 2015
The Center for Research on Educational Access and Leadership (C-REAL) evaluated the original goals and objectives set by the Cerritos College leadership team for the implementation of the iFALCON project, an initiative based on the Habits of Mind and designed for this Hispanic-serving community college. This intervention was funded through a five year US Department of Education Title V grant. The program goals were assessed by examining shifts in student enrollment data, which measured 1) student velocity through and completion of academic programs; 2) an examination of trends in student course retention and completion; and, 3) analyses of failed and repeated courses. The goal of this research paper is to discuss the institutionalization of iFALCON methods, and provide an overview of the summative findings that generally support the implementation of the initiative.
Person, D., & Dawson, R. (2015, April). Examining the Impact of Institutional Student Success: Summative Findings from the iFALCON Initiative. Presented at Council for the Study of Community Colleges. Fort Worth, TX. Read More
April 7, 2015
This qualitative study examined factors influencing faculty participation in leadership opportunities at a comprehensive Midwestern two-year college. Drawing upon a case study approach and rich interview data, a new theoretical model--the Faculty Leadership Life Cycle (FLLC)--was developed. The FLLC uncovers new theoretical and practical implications for maximizing faculty engagement in formal and informal leadership opportunities at two-year colleges, thus contributing to our knowledge on strategies to alleviate the leadership void at those institutions.