Thursday, July 22, 2010

Key Characteristics of Higher Ed Schools that Graduate More Students

Grant Makers for Education report
From Access to Success: A Funders Guide to Ensuring More Americans Earn Postsecondary Degrees

"Postsecondary institutions that graduate significantly higher percentages of students share several key characteristics:
1. They use data consistently and from the start, reviewing performance data starting in the first six weeks of the semester. They act quickly on the data to get students (and faculty and staff) the support they need, from the first moment it’s clear they need it.
2. They’re redesigning the courses where they lose a lot of students, often introductory classes that have become early barriers rather than
early entry to college success.
3. They require what matters: anything that contributes to student success——such as attendance in lectures, labs and tutoring sessions——becomes required. When students know they are held accountable for particular activities, they are more likely to complete those activities, and thus more likely to graduate.
4. They clearly assign responsibility for student success. At the department level, at the advisory level, at the leadership level——people look at, talk about and act on student progress, because they know they are accountable for it.
5. Their leaders focus on student success as an institutional priority, with presidents and provosts making it clear in their speeches, in meetings and throughout the institution’s activities that improving graduation rates is the very core of their institutional mission.
6. They don’t give up on students, which keeps students from giving up on themselves. Schools reach out to students who have left, asking them to come back and providing the supports they need to succeed once they return."

Quote from report, p, 4, retrieved July 22, 2010

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