ERIC Number: ED370626
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1994
Class, Culture, and Ideology in a Rural Community College: A Report to the Spencer Foundation.
Despite the open-door policies of community colleges, studies have shown that minorities and students of lower socioeconomic backgrounds graduate and transfer at lower rates than students from higher socioeconomic groups. To examine the interplay between institutional culture, ideology, and socio-historical forces shaping student perspectives and behaviors, interviews were conducted with students at a small, rural community college in the southeastern United States. The county in which the college is located had a population of approximately 76,000 (68% White and 31% African American) and which had a wide disparity in income. Although the attitudes of the faculty and staff were generally positive and caring and the quality of teaching was considered good by students, retention, graduation, and transfer data indicated that developmental students were particularly susceptible to academic failure. The interviews revealed that these students were often poorly prepared for college-level academic work and resented being forced to take courses that repeated their high school curriculum. Also, developmental courses were often overcrowded and offered few opportunities for teacher-student interaction. Other factors not related to the college were the lack of encouragement for lower socioeconomic students from families and the tendency of high school personnel to track them into non-academic vocational programs. To effectively serve all students, colleges must go beyond providing access and examine curricula, instructional approaches, and assessment practices in order to reduce differences among the diverse student body. (Contains 20 references.) (KP)
Descriptors: Academic Failure, Access to Education, Community Colleges, Developmental Studies Programs, Diversity (Institutional), Equal Education, Institutional Role, Rural Schools, School Holding Power, Socioeconomic Background, Socioeconomic Influences, Student Attitudes, Student Behavior, Student Characteristics, Two Year Colleges
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Spencer Foundation, Chicago, IL.
Authoring Institution: North Carolina State Univ., Raleigh. School of Education and Psychology.