Thursday, April 18, 2013

College district welcomes state's new student success scorecard

The Student Success Scorecard released last week by the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office provides a new tool to clearly and concisely measure student performance at the state’s 112 community colleges, making the system one of the most transparent and accountable in the nation.

The scorecard enables colleges to have clear data regarding student success by race, ethnicity, gender and age to help the institutions focus on helping all students succeed in their classes and stay in college. Students, parents, community leaders and policy makers can use the scorecard to track the rate of students completing certificates and degrees and transferring to four-year universities.

“We welcome this new scorecard as another tool to help us gauge our progress in helping students achieve their educational goals,” said Cindy L. Miles, chancellor of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District. “This scorecard is an honest and courageous way to enlighten California’s community colleges and those we serve about the outcomes of our efforts to promote student success.”

The scorecard measures student success in five key areas:
  • Persistence – the percentage of students who remained enrolled for three consecutive terms.
  • 30-unit rate – the percentage of students who earned at least 30 units of credit.
  • Completion – the percentage of students who completed a degree, certificate or transfer-related outcomes
  • Remedial – the percentage of students who started at below college-level in English, mathematics and/or English as a Second Language, and went on to complete a college-level subject in the same discipline.
  • Career technical education – the percentage of students who earned a degree or certificate or transferred to a four-year university in a career technical or vocational field.
The scorecard tracked 2,496 first-time students at Grossmont College and 1,102 first-time students at Cuyamaca College who started in 2006-07 and took a college-level math or English course within three years. About 80 percent of those students were unprepared for college, meaning they needed to take remedial classes.

Over the past five years, Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges showed improvement or maintained progress in four of the five areas measured -- persistence, the 30-unit rate, remedial English and math progress rates, and career technical education completion rate. The drop in completion rates is the result of more than 1,600 courses that the college district was forced to eliminate because of state budget cuts, and the reduced number of slots available for students transferring to four-year universities. Students who were unable to find the courses they need were more likely to become discouraged and not finish their education.

Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges offer all incoming students with an assessment, orientation and educational plan so that they can make the best use of their time and effort at the colleges. East County high school students who make full use of the opportunity for assessment and orientation are given priority in enrolling at the colleges.

Both colleges have programs – the First Year Experience at Cuyamaca College and the Freshman Academy at Grossmont College – that provide mentoring and guidance for new students, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds or who are the first in their family to seek higher education. The Umoja program at Grossmont College program serves educationally and economically disadvantaged students, and provides instructional and Student Services support to help students reach their goals. All of these programs have proven to increase the  number of students who pass their courses and continue their education.

Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges are also developing SB 1440 transfer degrees that will map a straight shot for students transferring to San Diego State University and other California State University colleges. Grossmont College has 16  SB 1440 degrees approved or under review by the state Chancellor’s Office, while Cuyamaca College has 14.

“Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges are committed to helping our students succeed,” said Bill Garrett, president of the district’s Governing Board. “We’re very pleased to make this information on the student success scorecard available to the public so they can see our progress and keep us accountable.”

To review the Student Success Scorecard, go to http://scorecard.cccco.edu/scorecard.aspx. An analysis of the data for Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges is available at www.gcccd.edu. Go to “About Us” and then “Student Success Scorecard.”