Scorecard has Citrus Improving

(Joe Moreno/Clarion)

By Jessica Soto | News Editor

The Student Success Scorecard has been released for the second year by the California Community Colleges Chancellors Office and this year Citrus gets an improved rating.

The scorecard is required by the 2012 Student Success Act and provides the public with cumulative data of the state’s 112 community colleges through each academic year.

A year ago, Citrus was advertising being a college of completion when the scorecard said otherwise, coming in at nearly 5 percent below the state average for completion in the 2012-13 academic year.

However, the 2013-14 scorecard shows Citrus at only 1.7 percent below the state average, which is 48.1 percent.

The numbers reflect a cohort of students from 2007-08 and tracks their progress over the course of six years.

The cohort is given six years to achieve an outcome in terms of degrees, certificates or transfers.

“Our own comparative studies of students availing themselves of the more recent success strategies have shown an increase in student performance and outcomes,” said Geraldine M. Perri, Ph.D., superintendent/president of Citrus College.

There are five categories shown on the scorecard: Completion – percentage of degree, certificate and/or transfer-seeking students who complete a degree, certificate or transfer-related outcomes.

30 Units – percentage of degree, certificate and/or transfer-seeking students who achieved at least 30 units.

Persistence – percentage of degree, certificate and/or transfer-seeking students who enrolled in three consecutive terms.

Remedial- percentage of credit students who started below transfer level in English, mathematics and/or ESL and completed a college-level course in the same discipline.

Career Technical Education – percentage of students who completed more than eight units in courses classified as career technical education in a single discipline and completed a degree, certificate or transferred.

In order to be a part of the cohort reflected in the scorecard students must have earned a minimum of six units with their first three years of college and attempted at least one math or English course.

There were 2,225 students tracked for the 2014 scorecard.

In the Persistence, 30 Units and Completion categories students are broken down into two other sections: prepared and unprepared.

This is determined by the students placement in their math and english classes.

Persistance is the category in which Citrus has surpassed the state average by 0.3 percent with a 70.8 percent average, meaning the cohort from 2007-08 has continued to enroll consecutively for three semesters or more.

“This metric is considered a milestone or momentum point. Research shows that students with sustained enrollment are more likely to succeed,” said Lan Hao, Ph.D., director of institutional research.

Citrus trails the state average by 0.4 percent in 30 units with an average of 66.1 percent.

“Credit accumulation, 30 units specifically, tends to be positively correlated with completion and wage gain,” Hao said.

However, the numbers are revealing something different.

The completion rate for Citrus is far below Citrus’ 30 units and Persistence percentages by almost 20 percent or more.

This is the case for the statewide average as well as other community colleges such as Mt. San Antonio College, Pasadena City College and Chaffey College.

“The students are different, what their differences are not reflected, and they may not be accurately reflected. So I think there are a lot of variables,” said Mariana Vega, former student trustee. “I don’t think it’s fair to point out one thing, given that it is a scorecard that reflects such a broad population.”

“In looking at our unique variables we also see that we have unique opportunities, so that two percent increase can be grown from that starting point,” said Steven Bluitt-Flowers, former legislative liaison of the Associated Students of Citrus College.

With a completion rate of less than 50 percent for the state in the last two years, the college of completion initiative may have a hand in helping raise the percentages.

Citrus pledged to be a part of the Community College Completion Corps (C4) in 2012. Supplemental instruction programs, the Writing Cafe and Early Alert/College Success Workshops give students a higher chance of passing classes.

The addition of a waitlist for registration in fall 2012 improved students’ ability to register for classes while still using the priority registration process.

“This innovation improved course access for both new and continuing students and will decrease time-to-degree, thus increasing completion rates,” Perri said. Continuing efforts to improve completion rates, Citrus is planning to open the Institute for Completion (IFC).

“The intent of the IFC is to identify gaps through research, implement proven completion strategies, secure external funding to support college completion, and to support professional development. I do believe it will contribute to increasing the college’s student completion outcomes,” Perri said.

“I think it’s a great start to find out our opportunities and weaknesses. To find out where our weaknesses are and how we can turn them into opportunities for the college and for the students,” Vega said.