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Subject:

The New Diagnostics/College Enrollment Hits All-Time High, Fueled by Community College Surge

From:

Dan Kern <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 30 Oct 2009 07:39:45 -0500

Content-Type:

multipart/related

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (327 lines) , image001.gif (327 lines) , image002.gif (327 lines)

The New Diagnostics 

October 30, 2009 

About a week into any class at Rio Salado College, officials can make a
pretty good guess as to which students will succeed and which ones will not.


The Arizona community college, where more than half of the 64,000 students
pursue their degrees online, has devised a system of predictive modeling
that officials believe can forecast, with 70 percent accuracy, how likely it
is that a student will achieve a "C" grade or higher (the threshold for
transferable credits) in a given course. The tool -- one of several of its
kind -- is intended to help instructors to identify at-risk students early
enough that they can intervene.

"We're trying to really understand the true behavior of the student based on
reality," says Adam Lange, the programmer analyst at Rio Salado who designed
the system, "and then use that information to be able to make informed,
data-driven decisions about how we can help students."

At a time when higher education is increasingly taking place online (even
when students are in a traditional classroom), colleges have more data on
student engagement than ever before. Learning management systems are widely
used, in online and classroom-based courses alike, as places where students
interact with their professors, their course materials, and each other. But
unlike traditional classrooms, these environments can keep a detailed log of
everything that happens there, providing information for these new
diagnostic tools.

"We're dealing with a virtual mountain of data," says Lange. "And a lot of
these data are behavioral data. real-time data that comes from our LMS. This
is really valuable information. It tells us a lot about the students."

Such as when, and how frequently, students are logging into the course home
page. Rio Salado uses more than two dozen metrics during that first week to
predict how well that student stands to fare over the entire course, but
some of the most effective are the most basic: Has the student logged into
the course home page during that first week? Did she log in prior to the
first day of class? Other predictive metrics, such as whether a student is
taking other classes at the same time, whether she has been successful in
previous courses, and whether she is retaking the course, are culled from
the college's student information system.

The predictive modeling system uses these metrics to separate students into
three color-coded categories: high-risk (red) students, medium-risk (yellow)
students, and low-risk (green) students. The instructors of each class are
notified a week in about the "yellow" students in their class, so they can
then reach out to those students and try to get them on track. The college
says it does not currently intervene in the cases of "red" students, citing
limited resources (although officials there say they are working on
developing a system to address the needs of those students).

While intervention methods among faculty vary, this can entail making
themselves available for questions and extra help, encouraging the students
to check the course page more frequently, pointing them to tutoring and
other support services, and even contacting them by telephone, according to
Shannon Corona, chair of the physical science faculty at Rio Salado.

What the professors don't do is tell the students whether they have been
labeled at-risk. "If we alert students directly, they may not know
intuitively what they need to do to improve within our online learning
environment," said Lange. "On the other hand, faculty can lead at-risk
students down the right path and find the best strategies for each student."

Rio Salado differs in that respect from Purdue University, which has run
similar predictive modeling program since 2006, and does keep students in
the loop. At an "actionable analytics" symposium last month, John Campbell,
the associate vice president of Purdue's advanced computing center, said the
"at-risk" students generally took that information as either a motivational
kick in the rear or were prompted to quickly drop the class -- and were
grateful in any case. A double-blind study conducted during the first two
years of the Purdue's program, called Signals, revealed that 67 percent of
students who learned they were in the middle- or high-risk categories were
able to improve their grades.

On Thursday, SunGard Higher Education announced
<http://www.reuters.com/article/pressRelease/idUS228685+29-Oct-2009+BW200910
29>  it is partnering with Purdue to market the Signals system to colleges
everywhere.

Like Rio Salado, Cappella University, a for-profit online university that
has used a comparable system for the past three years, does not tell
students about their risk status. Kim Pearce, the director of assessment and
institutional research at Cappella, says low national graduation rates
suggest that students might not be vigilant enough to redirect themselves on
their own. "I think the general national dissatisfaction with our graduation
rates . is partially based on the idea that [students] are exclusively in
charge of their own learning experience." However, Pearce does predict that
Cappella will eventually start informing students when its computers
forecast a bad outcome. Lange says Rio Salado will likely do the same.
Neither has yet gathered enough data to quantify the effect of their
inventions on student success.

Still, "We're confident enough in the modeling and the interventions that
we're going to continue," Pearce says. 

Rio Salado, Purdue, and Cappella appear to be at the front end of what
campus computing expert Kenneth C. Green this week called the
<http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2009/10/27/lms> "third phase" of
e-learning: the point at which colleges and technology companies shift their
attention toward finding ways to mine and utilize all the data created by
interactions between professors and students on virtual learning platforms.
That technology, Lange says, is changing the practice of predicting student
success from instinct and generalization to genuine science.

"The knowledge of predictive modeling and of data driven approaches just
wasn't out there, and now it's just sort of creeping its way into higher ed,
especially in distance learning," he says.

"Online is a data rich environment," says Pearce.

"It's just a matter of time before everybody starts using the data that are
available to them," she says.

-  <mailto:[log in to unmask]> Steve Kolowich 

Related Stories

*
<http://www.insidehighered.com/advice/academic_career_confidential/mangum10>
Views of the Classroom
October 28, 2009 
*	 <http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2009/10/28/lewandowski> The
Kids Are All Right
October 28, 2009 
*	 <http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2009/10/27/lms> E-Learning's
'Third Phase'
October 27, 2009 
*	 <http://www.insidehighered.com/advice/instant_mentor/weir15> Let's
Review
October 23, 2009 
*	 <http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2009/10/23/edschools> Mediocre?
Not Us!
October 23, 2009 Bottom of Form

Post a JobC Copyright 2009 Inside Higher Ed 

 

Sources:
http://www.insidehighered.com/layout/set/print/news/2009/10/30/predict

 

 

http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2009/10/30/predict

 

 

Fall 2008 Enrollments Broke Records

Just under 11.5 million students were enrolled in a college or university in
the fall of 2008, and 39.6 percent of all Americans aged 18 to 24 were
enrolled -- both figures that set records, according to an analysis released
Thursday by the Pew Research Center.
<http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1391/college-enrollment-all-time-high-community
-college-surge>  Community college enrollments accounted for almost all of
the gains over the previous year, consistent with the enrollment booms they
experience when the economy falters.

Source:  http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2009/10/30/qt#212011

 

 

College Enrollment Hits All-Time High, Fueled by Community College Surge

by Richard Fry, Senior Research Associate, Pew Research Center
October 29, 2009

The share of 18- to 24-year-olds attending college in the United States hit
an all-time high in October 2008, driven by a recession-era surge in
enrollments at community colleges, according to a Pew Research Center
analysis of newly released data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Just under 11.5 million students, or 39.6% of all young adults ages 18 to
24, were enrolled in either a two- or four-year college in October 2008 (the
most recent date for which comprehensive nationwide data are available).
Both figures -- the absolute number as well as the share -- are at their
highest level ever.

http://pewresearch.org/assets/publications/1391-2.gif

Enrollments have been rising over many decades at both two- and four-year
colleges, but the most recent annual spike has taken place entirely at
two-year colleges.

In October 2007, some 3.1 million young adults, or 10.9% of all 18- to
24-year-olds, were enrolled in a community college.1 A year later, that
figure had risen to 3.4 million students, or 11.8% of all 18- to
24-year-olds. By contrast, enrollments at four-year colleges were
essentially flat from 2007 to 2008.

This new peak in college enrollment has come in the midst of a recession
that has driven the national unemployment rate to its highest level in more
than a quarter of a century and has had an especially harsh impact on young
adults. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a smaller share of 16-
to 24-year-olds were employed in September 2009 -- 46.1% -- than at any time
since the government began collecting such data in 1948.

Community college enrollments have long been considered somewhat
countercyclical; that is, they tend to rise as the economy worsens. One
reason is that community colleges are less expensive than four-year
institutions -- they average $6,750 per year (including tuition, fees, and
room and board) in the net price for full-time students, compared with
$9,800 for four-year public colleges and $21,240 for four-year private
colleges.2

Despite the higher costs of four-year institutions, their enrollments have
not dropped during this recession. Rather, they have held steady -- and have
been able to do so despite tuition increases averaging 4.9% per year beyond
general inflation from 1999-2000 to 2009-10 at public four-year colleges and
universities.

Changes in the labor market and the overall economy are not the only factors
that affect college enrollment levels. Another important factor is the rate
at which young adults complete high school. Here, too, Census Bureau data
show that a new milestone has been reached.

http://pewresearch.org/assets/publications/1391-1.gif

According to census figures, a record 84.9% of 18- to 24-year-olds had
completed high school as of October 2008, up from 75.5% in 1967 and 83.9% in
2007. Along these same lines, there is a record low in the share of young
adults who are high school dropouts -- 9.3% in 2008, less than half the
figure (19.8%) in 1967 and down nearly a percentage point from 10.2.% in
2007.

Continue reading the
<http://pewsocialtrends.org/pubs/747/college-enrollment-hits-all-time-high-f
ueled-by-community-college-surge#prc-jump> full report at
pewsocialtrends.org.

  _____  

1. Technically, not all two-year colleges are "community colleges." But 96%
of 18- to 24-year-olds enrolled in two-year colleges are enrolled in
community colleges, so this report refers to two-year colleges as community
colleges.
2. The net price refers to the published tuition, fees and room and board
and then deducts grant aid from all sources and federal tax benefits.
Financial aid in the form of loans to students or parents is not subtracted.

Source:
http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1391/college-enrollment-all-time-high-community-
college-surge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dan Kern

AD21, Reading

East Central College

1964 Prairie Dell Road

Union, MO  63084-4344

Phone:  (636) 583-5195

Extension:  2426

Fax:  (636) 584-0513

Email:  [log in to unmask]

 

http://www.studentveterans.org/

 

Veterans Day 2009: http://www1.va.gov/opa/vetsday/

 

www.vietnamwomensmemorial.org

 

Cowardice asks the question, 'Is it safe?' Expediency asks the question, 'Is
it politic?' Vanity asks the question, 'Is it popular?' But, conscience asks
the question, 'Is it right?' And there comes a time when one must take a
position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it
because one's conscience tells one that it is right. (Martin Luther King,
Jr.) 

Instruction begins when you, the teacher, learn from the learner. Put

yourself in his place so that you may understand what he learns and

the way he understands it. (Kierkegaard)

 

To freely bloom - that is my definition of success. -Gerry Spence, lawyer
(b. 1929)    [Benjamin would be proud, I think.]

 


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