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ERIC Number: ED500897
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Mar-1
Pages: 21
Abstractor: Author
A Different Slant on Cohorts: Perceptions of Professors and Special Education Doctoral Students
Unzueta, Caridad H.; Moores-Abdool, Whitney; Donet, Dolores Vazquez
Online Submission, Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Miami, FL, Mar 1, 2008)
To improve student completion rates in higher education, faculty are using cohort educational models (CEM); however, very few studies were found regarding CEMs effects in educating culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) doctoral students in the field of special education. This study investigated two questions: (a) Are there differences for students in the doctoral experience when they are part of a cohort, as differentiated from not being part of a cohort? and (b) What motivates students to continue in a cohort doctoral program, as differentiated from those continuing independently? Participants included six CLD doctoral students (three in a CEM, three not in a CEM) and three professors (attending or serving as faculty at a Carnegie-designated research extensive university in a multicultural, urban area in the southeastern USA). Researchers included three CLD female special education doctoral students (two in a CEM, one not). The qualitative case study method was used to explore perceptions of cohorts, experiences, and the effects of cohorts on participants. Findings included: (a) organizational efficiency and benefits to student learning outweigh concerns; (b) the cohort structure definitely impacts students who are pursuing their doctoral degrees independently, (c) the cohort structure impacts professors. Non-CEM doctoral students perceived their educational experiences as being very different from that of CEM students. Benefits of a CEM included inter-student support, a flexible learning model, support for CLD learners, opportunities for building trusting relationships, ease in class scheduling, and opportunity for maturation. Presence of the cohort affected the non-CEM students and professors negatively in several ways. Although CEMs are strong mechanisms for supporting students, they call for an awareness of group cohesion within cohorts to effectively engage the students in the academic process to address the retention problem of doctoral students, decrease the disparity between CEM and non-CEM students, and improve graduate studies programs. Interview Protocol is appended. (Contains 1 table and 1 figure.)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Speeches/Meeting Papers; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A