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ERIC Number: ED533079
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
Finding Opportunities to Nudge Student Groups over the Finish Line: Examining Students' Five-Year Progress. Data Notes. Volume 7, Number 1, January-February 2012
Clery, Sue
Achieving the Dream
Past research has revealed that students who complete coursework in a concentrated area, defined as completing three or more courses in a specific field of study, are much more likely to have successful outcomes than those who do not. Moreover, fewer than half of students included in this research, which followed students over seven years, entered into concentrated fields of study. Of students attending Achieving the Dream's earliest participating colleges, students still enrolled after three years accumulated an average of about 60 credits. Students still enrolled during the fourth year, accumulated an average of about 70 credits; fifth year, nearly 80 credits; and sixth or seventh years, well over 80 credits. Assuming 60 credits are needed to attain an associate's degree, these students with long-term enrollments are accumulating credits above and beyond that required for credentials. Students accumulating large numbers of credits without attaining credentials or transferring could be the result of a lack of focus on a particular pathway or program of study. Credential-seeking students who complete large numbers of courses, but are not necessarily following coherent pathways, are at risk of becoming frustrated and dropping out. Many community college students, especially those who are first-generation and are from low socioeconomic status families, may not have the experience or the opportunity to receive guidance from friends and family to help them navigate and pursue coherent academic pathways. Adding to the problem, as institutional finances tighten, institutions may restrict student services, including guidance counselors and advisors. This analysis investigates students' outcomes after five years--did they complete, transfer, or were they still enrolled? If they did not complete or transfer, the number of credits the student accumulated is examined. Five-year outcomes by race/ethnicity, Pell Grant status, attendance status, major field area, and the number of developmental subjects referred to were examined to determine if differences occur by student groups. (Contains 2 figures and 7 footnotes.)
Achieving the Dream. 8455 Colesville Road Suite 900, Silver Spring, MD 20910. Tel: 240-450-0075; Fax: 240-450-0076; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Achieving the Dream, Inc.