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2015-16 Student Success and Equity Gaps


by Beth Katz

Recently, Institutional Research and Planning conducted an analysis of student performance in the 2015-2016 academic year. Jean Shankweiler, El Camino College’s (ECC) Vice President of Academic Affairs, and Barbara Perez, Vice President of the ECC Compton Center, shared this data with faculty and staff at the Spring 2017 Flex Days.

This post summarizes the performance of ECC students and progress toward meeting campus-wide goals for student success, and highlights equity gaps between the various ethnic groups.

How did ECC students do in the 2015-2016 academic year? The overall course success rate was 68%. What does that mean? Of the 124,281 course enrollments, 84,624 resulted in passing grades (A, B, C, or Pass). The remaining enrollments were divided between failing grades and course withdrawals.

How does this compare to previous years? The success rate was essentially unchanged when compared to the previous year. In fact, the success rate has varied between 69% and 70% since the 2010-2011 academic year.

Where do we want to be? ECC has an ACCJC Institution-Set Standard of 65% for its student success rate and an Institutional Effectiveness Outcome goal of 73.7% by the year 2019-2020. While we have consistently met the standard, we have not yet met our goal.

How did the different ethnic groups perform? The success rate varied greatly across the different ethnic groups. Only two student groups exceeded the success rate goal: White students (78%) and Asian students (79%). Three groups met the standard of 65%, but not the goal: students categorized as “Unknown or Decline” (71%), “Two or More” ethnicities (69%), and Latino (65%). The remaining three groups performed below the goal and the standard: Pacific Islander (63%), American Indian/Alaska Native (61%), and African American students (57%).

What would it take to meet our goal? Campus-wide, nearly 7,000 additional passing grades would have been needed to increase the overall success rate from 68% to 73.7%. That means converting nearly one out of every five failing grades or withdrawals into passing grades.

What would it take to get all ethnic groups to meet that same goal? An additional 5,469 passing grades would have been needed to increase the success rate for Latino students from 65% to 73.7%. In other words, one out of every four failing grades or withdrawals received by a Latino student would have needed to be a passing grade. The challenge is steeper for African American students. An additional 2,744 passing grades would have been needed to increase the success rate for African American students from 57% to 73.7%. That would have meant converting nearly 4 out of every 10 failing grades or withdrawals received by African Americans into passing grades. Further, African American students would have needed an additional 1,282 passing grades just to meet the standard of 65%.

How do we get there? Many campus initiatives are working to close these equity gaps by providing support to disproportionately impacted student groups, as well as the general student population. Where will get the 7,000 additional passing grades that we need? While it is important to help all student groups improve, given the composition of ECC’s student body, the college will not be able to meet its overall success rate goal of 73.7% without improving the performance of significant numbers of Latino and African American students.


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