• Among students surveyed, 43 percent
report that they completed an academic plan by the end of their first
academic term. Do community college
students need a clear pathway from
point of entry into college to completion?
What is the strategy for ensuring that all
students set goals and develop a plan for
attaining them? How must existing policies and staffing strategies be adjusted?
• Student participation in “structured
group learning experiences” appears
to occur relatively infrequently: 24
percent of students report participat-
ing in a student success course, 13
percent in a learning community,
26 percent in a first-year experi-
ence or seminar, and 26 percent of
developmental education students in
accelerated or fast-track developmen-
tal education. The highest frequency
of participation is reported for
college orientation, with 58 percent
of respondents indicating they had
some version of that experience. If the
college has implemented one or more of
these practices for small numbers of stu-
dents, do the results suggest expansion?
What are the considerations involved
in making that happen? Who are the
champions to do the work?
Patterns of Incongruity
Findings from the four different but
related surveys reflect a series of incon-gruities related to the implementation of
policies and programs that colleges must
address. When there is a disjuncture between students’ aspirations or needs and
their actual experiences in the community college, opportunities for improvement abound. Consider these questions:
How can colleges close the gap
between student aspirations and
results? SENSE survey data show
that 79 percent of entering students
aim to complete an associate degree,
yet nationally just 45 percent of those
students who stated their goal was to
earn an associate degree or higher have
earned an associate degree or bachelor’s
degree, transferred to a four-year insti-
tution, or are still actively enrolled at a
community college after six years.
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