Institutional Research & Planning Blog

Research Brown Bag Recap – August 2016

In case you didn’t know, the Office of Institutional Research has begun hosting “Research Brown Bag” sessions on the 2nd Tuesday of each month. Generally, these are informal Q&A sessions to help understand institutional research and answer any questions about how the research process can contribute to your work.  We’ll be posting a summary of each session to this blog, recapping the topics we covered and websites we shared.

The last session covered an in-depth tour of the Institutional Research & Planning (IRP) webpage, where most of our reports and data are published. We strongly encourage you to visit the IRP website because it includes a lot of publicly available information.

The other agenda item involved using DataMart, a software service provided by the Chancellor’s Office that lets you query institutional data much like we do in the research offices.  DataMart contains the same Management Information System (MIS) data that we use on campus, so you can guarantee it is reasonably accurate. After learning the basics of DataMart queries, you should be able to find information related to a number of things, including student outcomes, enrollment, services, instructional programs, and more general institutional data. More advanced techniques allow you to disaggregate the data according to demographic characteristics like age, gender, and ethnicity.  DataMart is great for finding detailed information about a specific type of outcome, but any requests to examine data across multiple categories will still likely need to go through Institutional Research or IRP.

We also provided a brief tutorial for using Doodle, a free online scheduling tool.  There’s no sign-up required. Basically, you can enter any number of proposed meeting times, and Doodle will generate a link you can give to the meeting attendees so they can vote on or list their availability.

During the last session, someone asked about a map that displays all of the potential “feeder” schools in our area. Although we weren’t able to find the original website mentioned during the brown bag, there are some alternatives that still provide this information.  One suggestion was to use Zillow, which does provide an option for searching for schools in the surrounding area, and GreatSchools also provides a useful map that can be organized according to the unified school districts.  If you have any additional suggestions for websites that let you search for schools, feel free to comment on this post.

There was also a question about finding success and retention data in case faculty would like to see this information for the specific courses they have taught.  This information is available in a few places, but the most immediate source is the Success and Retention page of the IRP website, where you can open disaggregated reports to see the rates for a given course during a given term. If you want to disaggregate these results further than what’s shown on the webpage, you can use our customizable data tool available through the MyECC portal (go to “Areas” then “Institutional Effectiveness” then “Institutional Research and Planning”).  If you would like comparative or trend analyses that are beyond the scope of these online tools, feel free to complete a Research Request.

There were also various suggestions for what kinds of content people would like to see us post on the blog in the future.  Some suggestions were:

  • brief professional development opportunities (e.g., YouTube clips or web guides)
  • current issues in institutional research (local, regional, statewide, and national)
  • in-depth Q&A for specific topics that came up during the Brown Bag (feel free to use this blog post to ask questions as well!)
  • brief summaries of committee meetings attended by IR or IRP

We can’t make any promises just yet, but please feel free to provide any additional suggestions for the type of content you’d like to see on these blog posts.  Our next Brown Bag is scheduled for Tuesday, September 13th, and we welcome any suggestions you have for topics that you’d like to see us cover.

Stay tuned for future Brown Bag Recaps and other research-related blog posts!

Distance Education Report and Survey Results

by Jessica Sanchez

The Institutional Research office has been working on a project throughout the 2014-2015 academic year to assess Distance Education (DE) at El Camino College (ECC) and the Compton Center. These reports chronicle the recent growth of online course offerings and enrollments at ECC and the Compton Center and compare academic performance in these courses with their traditional classroom counterparts. These reports include a plethora of information on success, retention, course offering, student demographics, and performance.

One interesting find is the growth of online courses, particularly hybrid courses. Hybrid courses are those where students have weekly meetings on campus with online content included in the course. Figure 1 below shows hybrid section offerings at ECC tripled from Fall 2014 to Fall 2015. Sections (and consequently seats), have also increased considerably. The full report includes figures for trends spanning from Fall 2011 to Fall 2015 as well as Spring 2011 to Spring 2015.

IMAGE 1

Traditional and DE course success and retention was compared across all disciplines. Findings show that there is plenty of variation among courses. Further analyses, as well as expert input, can help pinpoint courses that need revision. These data can help steer the conversation of DE towards interventions and professional development that will increase course success rates.

Figure 2 shows that over half of students that took DE courses at the Compton Center over the 2014-2015 academic year were not first timers. Similar enrollment patterns were found for ECC (not shown here). These students are continuing to take advantage of the DE offerings at ECC and The Compton Center. The figure also shows that half the students that were enrolled in DE courses were also enrolled in on campus courses. This is interesting because it shows that students are supplementing their course load with DE courses.

IMAGE 2

In addition to the update of the DE performance reports, distance education students at both campuses were surveyed about their experiences at ECC and the Compton Center. Students seem to be content with the DE courses they have taken at ECC and the Compton Center. When students were asked what reasons would keep them from taking DE courses in subsequent semesters, 61% of respondents said there was no reason for them not to take a DE course in the future. When asked if they would be interested in completing a degree or certificate completely online, 76% of students said they would be interested in doing so. This is promising since the campuses are looking into expanding the online services and number of sections offered.

When asked for further comment, students were forthcoming with their experiences. One student stated, “I think online courses act as great refresher courses for older adults who want to return to school. Also, online courses are beneficial to adults who work full-time.” This is not surprising and various respondents had similar thoughts. However, it was also notable to have a student write, “My online experience so far has been amazing. I took another course before this one and I thought it was really cool how I was able to finish a class online at my own pace. Since I am a full time student at ECC it gave me a chance to do good in my face to face classes as well as my online class. I would definitely recommend it to students who have a tight schedule.”

This is just a small sample of the information that is available in these reports. Be sure to follow these links to the El Camino College Distance Education Report, as well as the Compton Center Distance Education Report. Results for the El Camino College Distance Education Student Survey Results and the Compton Center Distance Education Student Survey Results are also available on the Institutional Research Website.

 

 

Time to Completion Report 2013-2014

by Joshua Meadors

The 2013-2014 “Time to Completion” report for El Camino College and Compton Center is now available. You can access it here. This report looks at the amount of time students require between first enrolling and finally completing their educational goals at El Camino College (ECC) and ECC Compton Center.

Students at both locations tend to require more than the two years that are expected to be necessary to complete their degree and certificate programs. In fact, a majority of the students (53%) require at least twice the “normal time” to complete a given program. (“Normal time” just refers to the calculated amount of time necessary to complete a program, based on the program’s required coursework and the assumption the student maintains full-time enrollment.)

Frequency of Units ECC

To earn an Associate degree at ECC or Compton Center, students must complete at least 60 degree-applicable units. According to the chart above, the majority of students at ECC earn somewhere between the 60 units required for a degree and the 90 units that put them at risk of losing financial aid. However, most students (85%) are earning more units than necessary for the given degree. Students at ECC typically earn 81 units before receiving their degree, implying they are taking at least two semesters’ worth of additional coursework for that degree.

Frequency of Units Compton

According to the chart above, the majority of students at Compton Center are also earning between 60 and 90 units prior to receiving their degrees. Many students (78%) are also earning more units than necessary for the given degree. On average, Compton Center students earn 75 units by the time they complete their program, implying they are taking at least one semester of additional coursework.

For both locations, the closer students were to having 60 units at the time of completion, the more likely they were to have completed their programs within shorter amounts of time. In general, younger students and students who did not take excessively more than the required 60 units tended to complete more quickly than other students. Younger age groups (i.e., below 24 years) tended to earn program awards at quicker rates, and the vast majority of students earning between 60 and 90 units were also students who were between 20 and 24 years of age.

The data revealed a few possible explanations of student characteristics that may be related to completion time. For example: further analyses indicated that, compared to students who were tracked into “Basic Skills” courses, students who were not tracked into “Basic Skills” courses completed in significantly shorter amounts of time (both in general and in terms of what percentage of “normal time” was required), although there were no significant differences in these students’ GPA or units earned.

To read the full report, just click the following link:

[Time to Completion 2013-2014: El Camino College and Compton Center]

El Camino College Assessment Test Results (Fall 2013 and Fall 2014)

by Eboni Martin

It’s the beginning of a new school year and the second week of classes! This means that prior to the start of the new school year, lots of incoming students trickled through the Assessment and Testing Center to take an assessment test. Before starting classes, students are encouraged to take an assessment test in reading, writing, math, English as a Second Language (ESL), or chemistry. Assessment tests are important for placing students into classes at the right level. We recently released reports examining 2-year placement trends for incoming first-time/full-time students at both El Camino College (ECC) and El Camino College Compton Center (Compton Center).

The reading, writing, and math tests place students in a variety of levels depending on test performance. For this report, placements are grouped into categories of similarly-leveled courses. These groups are 1) transferlevel—courses that are equivalent to courses at a 4-year institution, 2) collegepreparatory—courses that immediately precede transfer-level courses, and 3) basic skills—courses defined by ECC as basic skills courses (in most cases, more than one level below transfer).

The course in which a student is placed can be very important. A student placed into a transfer-level course begins several semesters closer to a degree or transfer than a student placed into a basic skills course. For example, a student who places into the most remedial math class offered at ECC (basic arithmetic) is three levels below degree credit and four levels before transfer credit courses. This translates to at least three terms of math before a student can take a course to satisfy the math requirement for a degree and four terms of math before the student can take transfer-level math.

At ECC, there are several interesting findings. First, there was a decrease in the number of students who took a placement test on-campus and subsequently enrolled at ECC in 2014. In comparison, there was an increase in the number of students who took an assessment test off-campus and subsequently enrolled at ECC in 2014. This may be due to the ongoing efforts of the college towards strengthening its relationship with feeder high schools and the community. Similar to the ECC main campus, there was also a decrease in the number of students who took a placement test on-campus and subsequently enrolled at Compton Center in 2014. This decrease may be due to students now having the option to assess off-campus.

Second, this report illustrates the disparate levels of college preparation that incoming students possess. As shown below, over the past two years at ECC, transfer-level placement rates varied widely between Reading (49%), Writing (41%), and Math (13%). At Compton, transfer-level placements rates also varied widely between Reading (31%), Writing (23%), and Math (2%).

ECC Reading Test writing testmath test

Furthermore, the analysis by subgroup (ethnicity and gender) illustrated several examples of possible disproportionate impact. At El Camino College, women were less likely than men to be placed into transfer-level reading and math. As the following charts display, both African-American and Latino students at ECC were less likely than White students to be placed into transfer-level and more likely to be placed into basic skills reading, writing, and math. African-American and Latino students were also less likely than White students to be placed into English 1A.

reading ethnicity writing ethnicitymath ethnicity

At Compton Center, there was no evidence of disproportionate impact for African-American and Latino students on the reading or writing placement test. Additionally, disproportionate impact for African-American and Latino students could not be tested for on the math placement test because the reference group (White students) at Compton Center was too small. Although disproportionate impact was not found based on ethnicity, a large percentage of African-American and Latino students did place into basic skills reading and basic skills math.

To minimize disproportionate impact, ECC and Compton Center will continue to support programs aimed at increasing English and math achievement. For example, the Summer Math Academy (SMA) equips students who place into basic skills and college preparatory math with tools to help them succeed in their math courses. After completing the SMA, students are given the option to re-take the math placement test. More information can be found here: El Camino College SMA and Compton Center SMA.

These findings underscore the fact that ECC and Compton Center serve a student body with varied levels of college preparation. To read the full reports, as well as many other student outcomes reports, click here.

2015 Career and Technical Education Outcomes Survey

by Tanysha Laney-Kirk

Results from the 2015 Career and Technical Education Outcomes Survey (CTEOS) is available for El Camino College, please click here to review the report. The purpose of the survey is to uncover student perceptions of their CTE program, employment outcomes and how their coursework and training relate to their current career. El Caminos’ skill-building students were contacted to participate in the survey if they met one of the following conditions in 2012-13 and did not enroll in 2013-14: completed a certificate of 6 or more units, earned a vocational degree, or completed 9+ CTE units. A total of 2,055 students were contacted in early 2015, with 534 responding for a total response rate of 26%.  The Office of Institutional Research and Planning is developing tactics to increase the response rate for future studies.

Findings indicate that CTE studies and training result in positive employment outcomes as the majority of respondents are employed, working in the same field as their studies or training and working full time.  Moreover, respondents stated that their hourly wage increased 24.6% after completing their studies/training at El Camino College. Below are other noteworthy findings detailed in the report:

  • 70.4% reported finding a job after finishing their studies
  • 78.7% found a job within six months and 61.5% found a job within three months
  •  92.3% were satisfied/very satisfied with the education and training they received at El Camino College
  • Nearly 70% of respondents are employed for pay (Figure 1 shows the results)

Employment Outcomes

Please note that results for the 2015 CTEOS for Compton Center are available here. Findings for the Compton Center are similar to El Camino as completing CTE studies and training related to positive employment outcomes. For instances, the majority of respondents indicated being employed, working in the same field as their studies or training, and working full time. In fact, respondents reported increasing their hourly wage by 50% after completing their studies at Compton Center.

Academic Profiles (a.k.a. Peer Institution Reports) for ECC and Compton Center (2014)

By Joshua Meadors

The 2014 Academic Performance Profiles are now available for both El Camino College (ECC) and ECC Compton Center.  You can find them here and here.  The Academic Performance Profile (a.k.a. Peer Institution Report) provides a sense of how ECC and the Compton Center are performing in comparison to a group of community colleges with similar institutional characteristics. You can also think of it as seeing what the academic trends look like across these peer institution groups. The reports cover the past five years of available data (from 2009-2010 to 2013-2014).

ECC Enrollment

ECC’s peer institutions include: Cerritos College, Long Beach City College (LBCC), Mount San Antonio College (Mt. SAC), Pasadena City College (PCC), and Santa Monica College (SMC). While these schools are unique in many aspects of the data, there appear to be some uniform trends. One example is the declining enrollment seen over the past years, which could be related to the 2007-2012 budget cuts in California higher education that restricted enrollment for each institution.

With the exception of course success and retention rates, ECC tends to perform near the middle of its peer group, rather than at the top or bottom. However, ECC also tends to transfer the highest proportion of its students to schools like California State University and the University of California. Likewise, ECC is the only institution to exhibit continuously improving persistence rates over the five years, and it has some of the most consistent transfer velocity rates.

COM Enrollment

Compton’s peer institutions include: Cerritos College, Los Angeles Southwest College (LASC), Merritt College, and West Los Angeles College (WLAC). More so than ECC’s peer group, there seem to be trends that affected these institutions similarly, such that performance measures tend to move in a consistent direction until the 2012-2013 academic year. For most of these institutions: enrollment gradually declined until Fall 2012, then increased; course success rates gradually increased until Fall 2012, then decreased; and the number of students completing their programs within three years hit its peak during the 2012-2013 academic year. As with ECC’s peer group, these trends may be explained by the previous funding cuts to higher education in California, at least in terms of the declining enrollment.

Compton itself tends to perform near the middle or towards the bottom of its group of peer institutions. But while Compton’s performance is historically the lowest on some of these measures, it typically shows more growth and improvement than any other peer institution. Likewise, Compton’s academic performance rates seem to be continuously improving, rather than the declines or fluctuations seen at other schools. In other words, Compton tends to make progress even when its peer institutions are facing declines.

There are plenty more tables, charts, and graphs than the ones above, so if you’d like to read the reports (or just look at the data), the links are posted below:

El Camino College 2014 Academic Profile

ECC Compton Center 2014 Academic Profile

Degree & Certificate Trends at ECC and Compton Center (2009-2014)

By Joshua Meadors

The new Degrees & Certificates report is here!  It covers the trends in awards received by El Camino College (ECC) and ECC Compton Center students from 2009-10 to 2013-14. Although the number of awards at both locations has decreased compared to the previous year, 2013-14 still yielded the second highest award count in the past five years.

At ECC, the number of degrees decreased by 3% and certificates decreased by 21%.  However, the number of Associate of Arts for Transfer (A.A.-T) degrees grew substantially, with 118 A.A.-T degrees awarded for the 2013-14 academic year.  Each of the three majors awarding A.A.-T degrees (i.e., Psychology, Sociology, and Communication) showed an increase compared to the previous year, even though the previous year (2012-13) was a peak year for awards distributed at ECC.  There were relatively small changes in the number degrees and certificates awarded by any given major, but some of the largest increases occurred among majors offering A.A.-T degrees and STEM-related majors.

At ECC Compton Center, the number of degrees decreased by 7% but there was no change in the number of certificates.  Similarly to ECC, Compton Center also showed an increase in the number of A.A.-T degrees awarded, despite the previous year being a peak year.  Although the number of degrees and certificates awarded by each major in 2013-14 has remained relatively stable compared to the previous year, there has been significant five-year growth in degrees and certificates awarded by virtually every major at the Compton Center.

Overall, ECC is showing a five-year growth of 43% in terms of awards distributed, and ECC Compton Center is showing a five-year growth of 53% in terms of awards distributed.  Combined, both locations show a five-year growth of 52% for degrees awarded and 19% for certificates awarded (44% for all awards distributed), indicating considerable student progress has been made over these past few years.  Only time (and more data) will tell what the future holds for trends in ECC and Compton Center award distributions, but both locations are nevertheless on course to meet their established goals by 2019-20.

Five-year trends for awards at both locations

As you can see from these charts, there’s plenty more data than we could ever fit into a blog post, so be sure to check out the official report!

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