ERIC Number: ED392996
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1992-Jun
Reference Count: N/A
SPARK: Student Participation And Retention Keys. Demonstration Project Report.
The Student Participation And Retention Keys (SPARK) project at Blue Ridge Community College sought to determine why adult basic education (ABE) and General Educational Development (GED) students dropped out of the college's basic skills program and how student retention could be improved. With input from current and former students, a survey form was developed and sent to 192 randomly selected nonreturning students from the program year 1990-92 (55 percent of the 348 people who did not return to classes after their last enrollment); 64 surveys (33 percent) were completed and returned. Students ranked the following as the chief reasons for not continuing in classes: money problems, starting a job, lack of transportation, and work schedule changes leading to conflicting job/class times. Other students had finished the GED or had moved. After the survey was completed, an advisory interview form was developed and used as a framework for structured interviews with students, and as a basis for an advisory program to provide information and advice about the programs at the college and supportive services available from local agencies. The program's goal was to increase the retention rate by 20 percent; the achieved increase was 9 percent. This increase was achieved, however, during a year when enrollment increased 6 percent in basic skills classes. The project results showed that many of the factors that promote school dropout are beyond the reach of student retention programs, but that focusing on meeting student's needs can have a positive impact on basic skills programs. (KC)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: North Carolina State Dept. of Community Colleges, Raleigh.
Authoring Institution: Blue Ridge Community Coll., Flat Rock, NC.