Four-year colleges graduate 53 percent of students in six years, concludes an American Enterprise Institute analysis of Education Department data. Diplomas and Dropouts looks at full-time students who enrolled in fall, 2001.
Looking at institutions with comparable admissions standards, there were notable differences.
•Among schools that require only a high school diploma for admission, Walla Walla University and Heritage University, both in Washington state, reported graduation rates of 53% and 17%, respectively.
•Among colleges that require high school grades averaging a B-minus or better, John Carroll University in Cleveland and Chicago State University in Illinois graduated 74% vs. 16%, respectively.
•In the “most competitive” group, Amherst College in Massachusetts and Reed College in Portland, Ore., graduated 96% vs. 76%, respectively.
Education Sector’s Kevin Carey explains how Cleveland State Community College in Tennessee boosted its success rate in Introducing a Remedial Program That Actually Works in the Chronicle of Higher Education. Nearly two-thirds of new students must take at least one remedial class, comparable to the remediation rate for community college students nationwide. Until recently, nearly half failed their remedial courses; most dropped out.
John Squires, chair of the math department, decided to try the math “emporium model” popularized by the National Center for Academic Transformation.
Instead of attending traditional lectures in basic math, elementary algebra, and intermediate algebra, remedial students come to a large computer lab where they solve math problems and, when they need help, work with on-site faculty members and tutors. Courses are arranged in weekly modules with accompanying quizzes that can be retaken until students are ready for the next step.
. . . The percentage of remedial students at Cleveland State earning at least a C in the three math courses jumped from 55 percent to 72 percent.
Test scores are up too, and students who’ve gone through the remedial program are succeeding in college-level math classes. In fact, they’re earning higher grades than classmates who didn’t require remediation.
Cleveland State’s new approach costs less and gives professors more time for direct contact with students. The flexibility saves students time and money too, Carey writes. Those who do well can complete two or three math courses in one semester. The college is redesigning its math program completely — and the English Department is planning to try the emporium model.