ERIC Number: ED320637
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1990-Jul-19
Reference Count: N/A
Defining Student Outcomes Indicators at the Community College.
A wide gap exists between available information on community college students and the questions which are often posed about them. Since most available data focus on cross-sectional measures of enrollment and degrees awarded, they provide few insights into what happens to students who enter the colleges. The question-and-answer gap owes its existence to several factors, among them the harried life of the institutional researcher and the difficulty of tracking students after they have left the college. In spite of these difficulties, the demands for student outcomes information are increasing. The success of college efforts to define and use indicators of student outcomes is guided by three factors. One is the nature of indicators and the importance of understanding what they can tell about students and what they cannot. The second is the decision-making process that policy makers and researchers undergo in developing indicator sets. The third is the importance of indicators to the success of student tracking systems. To successfully use indicators, community colleges must place more emphasis on empirical evidence and less on anecdotes, add longitudinal data to the reams of cross-sectional data currently available, and make time for data analysis as well as for data reporting. In addition, the community colleges must shift from a community services mode of operation to an undergraduate education mode. The effort to define and collect data on student outcomes will have its greatest effect if matched by a renewed emphasis on matriculation, sequential learning, and program completion. (JMC)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Maryland Community College Research Group (Chestertown, MD, July 19, 1990).