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ERIC Number: EJ1004143
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Jun
Pages: 28
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 69
ISSN: ISSN-0361-0365
Classifying Community Colleges Based on Students' Patterns of Use
Bahr, Peter Riley
Research in Higher Education, v54 n4 p433-460 Jun 2013
In this study, I draw on Bahr's ("Research in Higher Education" 51:724-749, 2010; New Directions for Institutional Research S1:33-48, 2011) behavioral typology of first-time community college students to examine college-level variation in students' patterns of use of 105 community colleges in California. I find that students' patterns of use vary greatly across the colleges, and, further, these patterns tend to cluster in such a fashion that colleges may be classified based on dominant or disproportionate patterns of use. Using "k"-means cluster analysis, I identify five types of community colleges, including "Community Education Intensive," "Transfer Intensive," "Workforce Development Intensive," "High-Risk Intensive," and "Mixed Use." I describe each of these community college types and then investigate whether the patterns of student use that characterize the identified types appear to be primarily a consequence of institutional policies and practices or, conversely, a product of localized community demand and the associated circumstances and choices of the students who attend a given college. The evidence, though limited, tends to support the latter: variation in patterns of student use across institutions appears to be primarily a product of localized community demand. Finally, I draw on established performance indicators to examine the implications of the identified patterns of student use for observed institutional performance. I find that institutions that differ in terms of dominant or disproportionate patterns of student use also differ significantly and systematically on a number of measures of institutional performance.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California