<br><h3> Chapter One </h3> <b>Introduction, Context, and Overview</b> <p> <p> CREATING THE CONDITIONS THAT FOSTER STUDENT success in college has never been more important. As many as four-fifths of high school graduates need some form of postsecondary education (McCabe, 2000) to be economically self-sufficient and deal effectively with the increasingly complex social, political, and cultural issues of the twenty-first century. Earning a baccalaureate degree is the most important rung in the economic ladder (Bowen, 1978; Bowen and Bok, 1998; Boyer and Hechinger, 1981; Nuez, 1998; Nuez and Cuccaro-Alamin, 1998; Pascarella and Terenzini, 2005; Trow, 2001), as college graduates on average earn almost a million dollars more over the course of their working lives than those with only a high school diploma (Pennington, 2004). Yet if current trends continue in the production of bachelor's degrees, a fourteen million shortfall of college-educated working adults is predicted by 2020 (Carnevale and Desrochers, 2003). <p> The good news is that interest in attending college is nearly universal. Nine of ten high school completers plan to continue their education, with 71 percent aspiring to earn a bachelor's degree (Choy, 1999). And the pool of students is wider, deeper, and more diverse than ever. Women now outnumber men by an increasing margin, and more students from historically underrepresented groups are attending college. On some campuses such as California State University, Los Angeles; the City University of New York, Lehman College; New Mexico State University; University of Texas at El Paso; and University of the Incarnate Word, students of color who were once "minority" students are now the majority; at Occidental College and San Diego State University, students of color now number close to half the student body. <p> The bad news is that enrollment and persistence rates of low-income students, African American, Latino, and Native American students, and students with disabilities lag behind white and Asian students; Latino students trail all other ethnic groups (Gonzales, 1996; Gonzalez and Szecsy, 2002; Harvey, 2001; Swail with Redd and Perna, 2003). The educational pipeline is leaking badly. In a widely cited report, the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education (2004b) indicates that only sixty of every one hundred ninth graders graduate from high school; forty immediately enter college, twenty-seven are still enrolled their sophomore year, and only eighteen complete any type of postsecondary education within six years of graduating from high school. These figures underestimate the actual numbers of students who earn high school degrees because they do not take into account all the students who leave one school district and graduate from another or who earn a GED (Adelman, 2006a). But even if the estimates are off by as much as 10 to 15 percent, far too many students are falling short of their potential. <p> The quality of high school preparation is not always consistent with what colleges expect. In 2000, 48 percent and 35 percent of high school seniors scored at the basic and below basic levels, respectively, on the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Only five states—California, Indiana, Nebraska, New York, and Wyoming—have fully aligned high school academic standards with the demands of colleges and employers (Achieve, 2006). Just over half (51 percent) of high school graduates have college-level reading skills (American College Testing Program, 2006). This latter fact is most troubling, as 70 percent of students who took at least one remedial reading course in college do not obtain a degree or certificate within eight years of enrollment (Adelman, 2004). <p> Rising college costs are another obstacle to baccalaureate degree attainment. From 1990 to 2000, tuition jumped at private universities by 70 percent, at public universities by 84 percent, and at public two-year colleges by 62 percent (Johnstone, 2005). Those hit hardest by cost increases can least afford it. Charges at public institutions increased from 27 to 33 percent between 1986 and 1996 for families in the bottom income quartile but only from 7 to 9 percent for families in the top quartile. For each $150 increase in the net price of college attendance, the enrollment of students from the lowest income group decreases by almost 2 percent (Choy, 1999). As Levine and Nidiffer (1996, p. 159) observed, "The primary weakness of both colleges for the poor and financial aid programs is their inability to help poor kids escape from the impoverished conditions in which they grow up.... The vast majority of poor young people can't even imagine going to college. By the time many poor kids are sixteen or seventeen years old, either they have already dropped out of school or they lag well behind their peers educationally." <p> Once in college, a student's chances for graduating can vary widely. For example, about 20 percent of all four-year colleges and universities graduate fewer than one-third of their first-time, full-time, degree-seeking first-year students within six years (Carey, 2004). Data from Florida community college students as well as institutions participating in the national Achieving the Dream project suggest that about 17 percent of students who start at a two-year college either drop out or do not earn any academic credits during the first academic term (Kay McClenney, personal communication, April 20, 2006). Only about half of students who begin their postsecondary studies at a community college attain a credential within six to eight years. An additional 12 to 13 percent transfer to a four-year institution (Hoachlander, Sikora, and Horn, 2003). Only about 35 percent of first-time, full-time college students who plan to earn a bachelor's degree reach their goal in four years; 56 percent achieve it in six years (Knapp, Kelly-Reid, and Whitmore, 2006). <p> Three-fifths of students in public two-year colleges and one-quarter in four-year colleges and universities require at least one year of remedial coursework (Adelman, 2005; Horn and Berger, 2004; U.S. Department of Education, 2004). More than one-fourth of four-year college students who have to take three or more remedial classes leave college after the first year (Adelman, 2005; Community College Survey of Student Engagement, 2005; National Research Council, 2004). African American and Hispanic community college students who take remedial courses are far less likely to complete their degrees or transfer than their peers who do not (Bailey, Jenkins, and Leinbach, 2005)—in marked contrast to white community college students for whom remedial course enrollment does not seem to significantly decrease their likelihood of completing a credential in six years. As the number of required developmental courses increases, so do the odds that the student will drop out (Burley, Cejda, and Butner, 2001; Community College Survey of Student Engagement, 2005). Remediation is big business, costing more than $1 billion annually (Bettinger and Long, 2005; Camera, 2003; Institute for Higher Education Policy, 1998). <p> Of the 45 percent of students who start college and fail to complete their degree, less than one-quarter are dismissed for poor academic performance. Most leave for other reasons. Changes in the American family structure are one such factor; more students come to campus with psychological challenges that, if unattended, can have a debilitating effect on their academic performance and social adjustment. <p> Consumerism colors virtually all aspects of the college experience, with many colleges and universities "marketizing" their admissions approach to recruit the right "customers"—those who are best prepared for college and can pay their way (Fallows, Bakke, Ganeshananthan, and Johnson, 2003). Some evidence suggests that both two-year and four-year institutions have deemphasized the recruitment of underserved minorities (Breland and others, 2002); many state-supported flagship universities are admitting students mainly from high-income families (Mortenson, 2005). These trends will have deleterious consequences for American society at a time when more people than ever before are enrolling in colleges and universities and the country is becoming more racially and ethnically diverse. <p> Whatever the reasons many students do not achieve their postsecondary educational goals or benefit at optimal levels from the college experience, the waste of human talent and potential is unconscionable. What can colleges and universities do to uphold their share of the social contract and help more students succeed? <p> This report is an abridged version of work performed for the National Postsecondary Education Cooperative to synthesize the relevant literature and emerging findings related to student success, broadly defined (Kuh and others, 2006). Our purpose is to provide an informed perspective on policies, programs, and practices that can make a difference to satisfactory student performance in postsecondary education. (Appendix A explains research the methods used for this report.) <p> The monograph is divided into seven sections with an extensive bibliography. We take a cumulative, longitudinal view of what matters to student success, recognizing that students do not come to postsecondary education as tabula rasae. Rather, they are the products of many years of complex interactions with their family of origin and cultural, social, political, and educational environments. Thus, some students more than others are better prepared academically and have greater confidence in their ability to succeed. At the same time, what they do during college—the activities in which they engage and the company they keep—can be the margin of difference as to whether they persist and realize their educational goals. <p> The following questions guided our review: <p> What are the major studies that represent the best work in the area? <p> What are the major conclusions from these studies? <p> What key questions remain unanswered? <p> What are the most promising interventions before college (such as middle school, high school, bridge programs) and during college (for example, safety nets, early warning systems, intrusive advising, required courses, effective pedagogical approaches)? <p> Where is more research needed and about which groups of students do we especially need to know more? <p> <p> We use a "weight of the evidence" approach, emphasizing findings from high-quality inquiries and conceptual analyses, favoring national or multi-institutional studies over single-institution or state reports. Of particular interest are students who may be at risk of premature departure or underperformance such as historically underserved students (first generation, racial and ethnic minorities, low income). We are also sensitive to changing patterns of college attendance. For example, more than half of all students start college at an institution different from the one from which they will graduate. Increasing numbers of students take classes at two or more postsecondary institutions during the same academic term. Equally important, most institutions have nontrivial numbers of undergraduate students who are underperforming, many of whom are men. Identifying and intervening with these students are essential to improving achievement and persistence rates. <p> <i>(Continues...)</i> <p> <p> <!-- copyright notice --> <br></pre> <blockquote><hr noshade size='1'><font size='-2'> Excerpted from <b>Piecing Together the Student Success Puzzle: Research, Propositions, and Recommendations</b> by <b>George D. Kuh Jillian Kinzie Jennifer A. Buckley Brian K. Bridges John C. Hayek</b> Copyright © 2007 by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Excerpted by permission of John Wiley & Sons. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.<br>Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.