ERIC Number: ED269116
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1986-Mar
Reference Count: 0
Measuring Student Outcomes through the Associate Degree. ERIC Digest.
Alfred, Richard L.
A large number of students enrolling in community colleges do not aspire to or complete the associate degree. Instead, they attend community colleges for a multitude of reasons, including job training or retraining, licensure, preparation for transfer, and avocational pursuits. Given the preponderant pattern of part-time attendance and diversity of student objectives, it stands to reason that questions would arise as to the relevance of the associate degree as a student outcomes measure. These questions differ depending upon the perspective from which student outcomes are viewed. For community college administrators, a college is "effective" when student outcomes are produced at a level sufficient to balance the costs of instruction. For educational policy makers, college effectiveness may be measured in terms of nondegree outcomes related to economic development and public service programs. Teaching faculty may have still yet another perspective on outcomes, arguing that the college is effective when it implements academic policies that restrict the distribution of rewards to students who successfully meet standards. Within the broader context of social and educational change, additional questions arise about the utility of the associate degree as an outcomes measure; e.g., In a labor market marked by increased emphasis on service and technological jobs, is the degree undereducation for some jobs and overeducation for others? Do constraints on faculty technological skill and knowledge undermine the perceived value of an associate degree? As societal conditions change, the associate degree may diminish in importance, and non-degree, short-term courses developed for specific constituencies on an "as need" basis may represent a better strategy for achieving socially desirable student outcomes. (RO)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; ERIC Publications; ERIC Digests in Full Text
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: ERIC Clearinghouse for Junior Colleges, Los Angeles, CA.