Scorecard shows struggle toward completion


The completion rate of Citrus College students has declined over the last year and remained three percentage points below the state average.
The scorecard focuses on a specific cohort of students, whose success is measured over a six-year period. The students for this year’s cohort enrolled in 2008-09 and were tracked through 2013-14 academic year. The scorecard subdivides student population by gender, age, and ethnicity.
The overall completion rate of the Citrus College cohort declined slightly from 46.8 percent to 44 percent, according to the fifth annual scorecard released April 15 by the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office.
In the academic world, preparation is required to earn any type of success. In the race for completion, California community colleges are making strides to better prepare students for the hurdles they face in their education.
The annual scorecard is posted for each of the states 112 community colleges. The cohorts progress is tracked in areas such as remedial instruction, job training programs, retention, and persistence rates.
Citrus students’ success rate in math is 30.2 percent. In English it’s 44.3 percent. The average student enrolling at Citrus College tests into remedial math or English classes. These numbers are almost identical with state averages at 31 percent for math and 43.4 percent for English.
Placement in remedial classes is the identifier in labeling students as prepared or unprepared students.
“The biggest concern that jumps out at me on the scorecard, is that Citrus has more unprepared students than the state average,” said Geraldine M. Perri, Ph. D., superintendent/president of Citrus College.
Scorecard indicates that 82 percent of students enrolled at Citrus College were unprepared for college level work. Statewide average for unprepared students was 75 percent.
Creating partnerships with K-12 public school is one way to address this problem, Perri said. Connecting the local schools’ teaching of math and English to college level expectation will aid younger students in their transition to college.
Students who have the foundational remedial skills classes have a much higher chance of completion than unprepared students.
“It’s all about our students, and that’s what I keep thinking about,” Perri said. “What do they need? What do they want? How can we facilitate for them so they are successful in reaching their goals?”
By contrast, Career Technical Education students did better overall. The CTE completion rate was 63 percent, 12 percent higher than the statewide average. The Citrus College CTE score placed third in the state and first in Los Angeles County.
“CTE is a good model. These students are required to have an educational plan as part of a first course that they take,” said Perri.
“Not everybody on campus that year is counted for that cohort. Students from that cohort that meet all these identifiers represent 9.8 percent less than 10 percent of the student population that year,” said Lan Hao, Ph. D., director of institutional research and planning.
Qualifications to be counted in a cohort include factors such as: if the student enrolls for first time at that school: start date: student completed 6 units in that year; if a student attempted a math or English class in the first 3 years at that college.
The transparency of these Chancellor’s office reports allows the public to track a college’s performance outcomes and if college programs are accurately addressing the educational needs of students. Access Citrus College and any community college’s scorecard in the state at http://scorecard.cccco.edu/scorecard.aspx.
The Steering Committee, led by Perri, has been reviewing research articles on completion and determining the strategies that Citrus may implement.
“[This] is not common at other colleges,” Hao said. “We want to do things that are cutting-edge, research-based and basically enhance the dialogue.”
The Research and Planning Group for California Community Colleges has defined six factors that Perri believes may contribute to student success.
“Students have to feel that they are valued in class in terms of contribution,” Perri said. “Our culture is one that values students and their voice.”
To further investigate the pathways to student achievement, Hao organizes study focus groups to hear their perspective.
“This is a systemic approach in addressing the issue,” Hao said. “There is a student effort factor that would impact engagement, ultimately impact student success.”
Students need to view the scorecard as an internal reflection on own their educational performance and persistence Hao said.
“I would boil down success at Citrus to two main components: an absolute belief in yourself and your capabilities, and a great support system,” said Student Trustee Farihah Chowdhury.
Students and administration need to continue working together to improve completion rates.
“I think Citrus has already taken great strides in becoming and maintaining its status as a college of completion,” Chowdhury said. “Citrus is composed of an incredible team of innovators and intelligent leaders who are so invested in the success of students. They just have to continue doing their jobs.”

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Jaclyn Spencer is a second semester staff writer on the Clarion. She is journalism major who hopes to transfer to University of Southern California or Cal State Fullerton to purse a Master’s degree in Communications. Spencer dreams of one day becoming a producer in the broadcast or entertainment industry.


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