Tidbits, Resources, and Discussion for ELI Faculty

Friday, August 27, 2010

Fall Faculty Meeting

Any additional questions/comments?


CTE said...

We keep hearing about student success and retention, and Steve repeatedly said that we were at the bottom of the VCCS, but really, the bottom in what regard, and what are the numbers? Are we measuring #A+B+C of all students enrolled at ELI who finish a course? How do withdrawals figure in? Are the numbers different for transfer courses? If we are figuring the number of students who actually graduate as the measure of student success, then that seems to me to be a beast of a different color?

Diane Thompson said...

Yes. I am curious about what the actual retention numbers are and what is being measured. Diane

Jennifer Lerner said...

The definition of student success we are using (which is what the college and VCCS are using and therefore what we have to use at ELI) is perctage of students who received an A, B, or C in a course versus percentage who received a D, F, or W.

Some argue that W grades should not count against the success rate, but a student who receives a W is a student who signed up for a paid for a course and did not learn and perform adequately to pass it, so that student is a failure in that case.

Graduation rates are a measure of student success but are a totally separate matter from grades in particular courses.

The thing I'd like to emphasize about success rates is the need to focus on the students in the middle. We all have had many students in our courses who are just not going to succeed. They have too much going on in their personal lives, they are not academically prepared for the course they have chosen, etc. However, there are also lots of borderline students--students who probably could pass with a little extra help of one kind of another. And that extra help doesn't mean you've made the class easier for them or even necessarily help from the professor--it could mean just some personalized follow-up from a staff member with a little encouragement to keep working, or a reminder to go to testing early rather than putting it off. I will send out in an email soon some data from our student success initiative from last year, which showed that something so simple as adding more course deadlines can very significanty increase student success. That's a perfect example of a small change that does not affect course content or what you are expecting students to learn and do but somehow helps some of those borderline students get past their challenges and pass the course.

Diane, what numbers are you looking for--ELI's current overall success rates, or the VCCS numbers, or...?

CTE said...

I think that it might be helpful/interesting if we had access to some numbers so that we can compare. For example, HIS 101 with the PSY, PLS and SOC intro courses. Of course, there are different setups for the courses and different goals and objectives, but we could also look at things that work in the courses. It is also clear that one of the main things that helps student success, and one of the easiest to do, is keep faculty in contact with students in the courses, i.e., communication and timely feedback.