Institutional Research & Planning Blog

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.


Ethnic Diversity at ECC – How Do We Know Who We Are?

by Beth Katz

“Student equity” is a hot topic at ECC and throughout California’s community colleges. As we work to identify populations of students who are disproportionately impacted and in need of additional support, we first must understand the characteristics of the students we serve.

The California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office (CCCCO) requires ECC to report data on student race and ethnicity, using categories defined by the U.S. Census Bureau. According to the Census, “Hispanic/Latino” is an “ethnicity,” and not a “race.” A person of any race (White, Black, American Indian, etc.) can also identify as Latino. ECC collects data on student identification with 21 different ethnic subgroups when students complete their initial applications. Using that data, the CCCCO then classifies students into eight mutually exclusive “ethnic” groups, which are commonly used in equity research:

  1. African American
  2. American Indian/Alaska Native
  3. Asian
  4. Latino
  5. Pacific Islander
  6. Two or More
  7. White
  8. Undecided/Unknown

However, we know that some of these groups can be further broken down into more than one racial or ethnic subgroup. Any student who identifies as Hispanic/Latino or with a Hispanic/Latino sub-group (Mexican, Central American, South American, or Hispanic-Other) is automatically labeled as “Latino,” regardless of whether or not they identified with other non-Latino subgroups. In other words, the Latino category trumps all others. This means that the Latino category includes students who identify with two or more ethnic subgroups, and the “Two or More” category does not include any students who identify with Latino subgroups. For example, a student who self-identifies as African American and Mexican is categorized as “Latino.” On the other hand, a student who self-identifies as African American and White is categorized as “Two or More.” (Is your head spinning yet?)

The image below diagrams how the information students submit on their ECC applications gets translated into the eight CCCCO ethnic groups.


What does this mean for equity research? We found that the eight ethnic categories generally used to group students may be concealing some greater diversity. Having a broader perspective on ethnic diversity may be particularly relevant to various student outreach efforts. Because a student’s affiliation with an Hispanic/Latino group obscures associations they may have with other ethnic groups, we may be overlooking students who could be targeted for group-specific programs. For example, a program targeting African American students in Fall 2014 may have overlooked the 825 students who identified as African American and at least one other ethnic subgroup. By ignoring the subgroup classification, we would have underestimated the number of African American students. There is also significant diversity within the Asian and Pacific Islander categories. Therefore, efforts to reach out to different students may be more successful if particular Asian subgroups are targeted, rather than all students who assume the broader label of “Asian.”

Student equity outreach efforts will always rely on students to self-identify and express interest in participating in particular programs; however, this subgroup analysis helps us size up the entire population of students being targeted and could potentially be used to improve the services we provide to various student groups.

 Follow this link to read our full report on ECC Student Ethnic Groups.

Assessment Test Results Reports

by Marci Myers

The Assessment Test Results reports have been updated and are now available on our website! These reports display assessment test placements for first-time/full-time students entering El Camino College (ECC) and Compton Center in fall 2014, fall 2015, and fall 2016. Results were also disaggregated by gender and race/ethnicity to examine possible signs of disproportionate impact.

Here are some of the interesting findings from these reports:

  • In the past three years there has been a decrease in the number of assessment tests taken on-campus and an increase in the number of assessment tests taken off-campus.
  • The results illustrate the variations in transfer-level placement rates in reading, writing, and mathematics as seen in the charts below:

ECC Assessment Results by Course Group

Compton Center Assessment Results by Course Group

The full reports can be found on our website:

Assessment Test Results – El Camino College

Assessment Test Results – Compton Center

Time to Completion Report 2015-2016

by Jessica Sanchez

The newest 2015- 2016 Time to Completion Reports are available at these links:
Time to Completion – El Camino College
Time to Completion – Compton Center

These reports show in-depth information about the amount of time that our students take to complete their degree and certificate programs. A detailed summary of the Time to Completion Reports for El Camino College and ECC Compton Center is included below. (more…)

Recent Trends in Degrees and Certificates Awarded (2011-2016)

by Joshua Meadors

The newest Degrees and Certificates Reports are available from the following links:
Degrees and Certificates Awarded – El Camino College
Degrees and Certificates Awarded – Compton Center

These reports highlight the trends in degrees and certificates awarded at El Camino College and Compton Center for the academic years 2011-12 to 2015-16. These trends are discussed in relation to minimum standards and aspirational goals set by El Camino College (ECC). Detailed summaries of these reports are in the post below. (more…)

College-going and Persistence Rates of Recent High School Graduates: Findings from the National Student Clearinghouse’s High School Benchmarks Report

by Beth Katz

El Camino College (ECC) works with its feeder high schools to increase enrollment of recent graduates. The National Student Clearinghouse (NSC) recently released their 2016 “High School Benchmarks Report: National College Progression Rates,” in which they analyzed college progression and degree attainment across different types of high schools: low-income vs. higher-income; high-poverty vs. low-poverty; and high minority vs. low minority. They found striking discrepancies between these demographic groups. Students from low-income high schools were less likely to enroll in college immediately after graduating high school than students from higher-income schools. In addition, those students had lower 6-year college completion rates. The gaps in high school to college progression and degree attainment rates were larger when comparing high-poverty and low-poverty schools. Similar discrepancies were observed between high and low minority high schools.

These gaps are shown in the data from the Clearinghouse’s StudentTracker for High Schools:


What does this mean for ECC?

Of ECC’s top 10 feeder high schools, five are low-income, three are high-poverty, and eight are high minority, according to the NSC’s definitions. The NSC’s study quantifies the challenge of getting students from disproportionately impacted high schools – like those who feed into ECC – to 1) enroll immediately after graduation and 2) persist until they complete a degree. The size of the gaps between the different groups of students validates ECC’s existing efforts to work with these high schools and provides additional justification for campus initiatives that support those disproportionately impacted student groups. These efforts include opportunities for high school students to enroll in ECC classes and take college placement exams at their schools.

Reducing barriers to college enrollment and degree attainment is a daunting challenge; however, it is also an opportunity for ECC to make a meaningful impact on students from disproportionately impacted high schools in our surrounding community. ECC has the opportunity to close local equity gaps, through outreach and student support and is already working hard to make a difference.

Compton Center – Research Brown Bag Digest – November 2016

November’s session featured a much more interactive and discussion-based format than previous Research Brown Bags have, so there is not much to recap in this month’s blog post. We mostly provided a presentation that included a few activities, models, and discussion questions related to our institutional data processes and how they may be related to any given stakeholder.

The November session started with a brief activity regarding how first-time students are defined in the data (and how this may be different than our personal definitions). This was followed by a demonstration of how the information in Reporting Services and Data Mart may show slightly different numbers from each other, based on their specific definitions of first-time students.

Several of the discussion questions involved getting feedback from attendees about all the different types of data we collect and use in our departments, and we appreciate being able to learn about the issues that were most directly related to your work with institutional data. Likewise, we asked about the various software and data sources that are used in each area, and this information is also helpful in troubleshooting and getting the “big picture” of our institutional data processes.

We also presented a few visual aids to go along with the data querying demonstrations. For the most part, these were relatively simple models depicting people in the data process, how one piece of data may combine several different sources (e.g., core service completion), and how some of the information that isn’t directly available from our databases goes through a number of steps before we can provide it (e.g., course success rates).

Because of how informative this session was for both the researchers and attendees alike, we are planning to make this the topic of the December Research Brown Bag as well. So, please inform your colleagues, especially if they work on the data entry for your department or program, or if anyone is genuinely interested in hearing about where institutional data comes from and how it is categorized and processed.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Twitter Updates

Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.