An Exploration on How Institutional Practices and Support Systems Support or Hinder Community College Basic Skills Students Transitioning to Postsecondary Education: A Case Study (Doctoral Dissertation by Christie Knighton – Adult Basic Education)
Abstract: Many jobs in the United States have shifted to requiring education beyond high school credentials. Many potential workers are enrolled in pre-postsecondary education, or basic skills. A small percentage of students transition from basic skills to postsecondary education. Research identifies key institutional practices and supports have shown to increase transitions, but most prior research only looks at one or two practices. This single case study used an equity lens to explore how institutional practices and support systems supported or hindered student transitions from basic skills to post-secondary coursework in a comprehensive community college. An explanatory case study was used to begin to explain how and why institutional practice and support systems in place either support or hinder student transitions. Five propositions were identified and used to narrow the scope of the study and acted like a blueprint during the data collection and analysis. Sub questions were included for each study proposition to surface institutional racism and inequality regimes at the institution. Data from interviews, observations, and document analysis were used in this study. A transition receptive culture is presented that may be used by practitioners and college administrators in developing practices and policies that support students in transitioning from basic skills to post-secondary coursework.
Dr. Christie Knighton is a faculty member at Highline College. She teaches in the Adult Basic Education Department.
Xu, D., & Ran, F. (2019). Noncredit Education in Community College: Students, Course Enrollments, and Academic Outcomes. Community College Review, 48(1), 77–101. https://doi.org/10.1177/0091552119876039
Abstract: This study examines the characteristics, course enrollment patterns, and academic outcomes of students who started their college careers in noncredit courses. Method: Drawing upon a rich dataset that includes transcript and demographic information on both for-credit and noncredit students in multiple institutions, this study explores the demographic and academic profiles of students enrolled in various fields of noncredit education, their course performance in noncredit programs, their educational intent upon initial enrollment, and their transition to the for-credit sector among degree-seeking students. Results: Our results support recent evidence from qualitative studies and studies from a single institution that students enrolled in noncredit programs tend to be adult learners and are typically from a lower socioeconomic background than credit students at community colleges. Yet, more than half of the noncredit students drop out of college after their initial term, even among students who expressed intent to transition to credit-bearing programs. The idiosyncratic patterns of course enrollment and transition to credential programs seem to suggest that there is no general structured pathway or institutional support for credential-seeking noncredit students.
Rossi, R., & Bower, C. (2018). Passed to Fail?: Predicting the college enrollment of GED passers. Adult Education Quarterly, 68(1), 3–23. https://doi.org/10.1177/0741713617721970
Abstract: Utilizing a data set of over 900,000 enrollees in adult basic education programs in New York State between 2005 and 2013, we examine the college enrollment of GED® passers. Upon enrollment in an adult basic education program, participants were asked whether they wanted to attend college after completion; almost 13,000 students both indicated a desire to attend college and subsequently passed the GED exam. Roughly half of these students reported attending college within 12 months. We use logistic regression to predict which students attended college based on a number of demographic variables and proximity to a community college. Counter to prior research, we find that none of these variables are practically significant predictors of college attendance. Students of different races who are and are not employed, receiving public assistance, single parents, and living close to a community college (among other factors) are virtually equally likely to attend college. We discuss other possible explanations and recommend that future research examine non-cognitive and other factors.
Mellard, D., Krieshok, T., Fall, E., & Woods, K. (2013). Dispositional factors affecting motivation during learning in adult basic and secondary education programs. Reading and Writing, 26(4), 515–538. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11145-012-9413-4
Abstract: Research indicates that about a quarter of adult students separate from formal adult basic and secondary education (ABE/ASE) programs before completing one educational level. This retrospective study explores individual dispositional factors that affect motivation during learning, particularly students’ goals, goal-directed thinking and action based on hope theory and attendance behaviors, and self-perceptions of competency based on affective domain attributions about external and internal obstacles to learning and employment, and demographic factors. Among 274 ABE/ASE students, those learners who made an education gain in 1 year significantly differed from those who did not in only a few dispositional or demographic variables; and by educational level they significantly differed in a wide variety of dispositional and demographic variables. These findings suggest researchable questions and programmatic considerations that may lead to future innovations that improve learner persistence.
Bremer, C. D., Center, B. A., Opsal, C. L., Medhanie, A., Jang, Y. J., & Geise, A. C. (2013). Outcome trajectories of developmental students in community colleges. Community College Review, 41(2), 154-175.
Abstract: This analysis explores student outcomes related to taking developmental English (i.e., reading and/or writing) and math classes in three community colleges in three different states, using institutional data from 7,898 students who began college in the fall of 2009 (Cohort 1) or fall 2010 (Cohort 2). We examine the outcome trajectories of students at each college, considering their enrollment in developmental courses in their first term at college as well as other variables. Several factors helped students persist into the second term of college, and a subset of these was also significantly related to continued persistence, graduation, and higher overall grade point average (GPA). Older students, White/non-Hispanic students, and occupational students were more likely to graduate. These groups, and women, also had higher cumulative GPAs. Math ability at the time of college entrance was a powerful predictor of student success. The utility of reading placement as a predictor, and the utility of developmental English, reading, and writing (DERW) classes as an intervention, were both limited to retention into the second term and/or second year. Financial aid and tutoring were much more clearly related to student success than was developmental coursework.