Institutional Research & Planning Blog



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.

Compton Center – Research Brown Bag Digest – October 2016

Due to unforeseen circumstances, we took a slight detour for the October session. This session was held in a computer lab, and we took the opportunity to cover the Professional Learning Network.

The Professional Learning Network (PLN) is a one-stop shop for a variety of resources available to anyone working in community colleges. That means all California Community College faculty, staff, administrators, and trustees have access to these resources, which range from detailed articles about upcoming statewide initiatives, to strategies and best practices offered by other community colleges, to brief video tutorials covering a number of software and professional development topics.

One major benefit of the PLN is that these resources are shared throughout the California Community College system, and they are created by other professionals working in community colleges across the state. Briefly, here is a walkthrough of the PLN site:

The Resources page is the primary way to find information in the form of articles, presentations, models, and templates shared by other community college professionals. You can search for materials by category or by specific tags. This is also where the Acronym Dictionary is located. If you ever wondered what something like “IEPI” stands for, the PLN provides an explanation and a link to the appropriate webpage.

The Learn page is where PLN members can take advantage of some of the partnerships with training services. Primarily, the Learn page gives you free access to (an extensive library of detailed instructional videos on various software tools and skills) and Grovo (a library of short “micro” video lessons covering a number of software tools and services as well as general professional development).

The Connect page is a web forum, offering the opportunity to post a topic and discuss with other professionals on the PLN.

The Speakers Directory is a curated list of speakers who have given (usually keynote) presentations at various California Community College conferences and events. If you’re looking for a particular speaker or someone to speak on a particular topic, you may be able to find details and contact information here.

The Calendar lists all previous and upcoming events that are relevant to California Community College professionals. These include various conferences, meetings, and workshops, and you can find more information about any given event by clicking its entry on the calendar. Likewise, you can submit events to the calendar yourself if you’d like the announcement to reach PLN users.

The Initiatives tab is just a consolidation of all the Resources associated with a given initiative. Currently, the PLN is consolidating information and submissions regarding three major initiatives: Common Assessment (CAI), Education Planning (EPI), and Online Education (OEI).

Last but not least, the Share page is where you can go to upload material to the PLN. If you have any material you would like to share, just enter the title and a brief description. The PLN support team will review submissions and upload the material as long as it is appropriate.

As always, please feel free to provide any questions and comments about the material, or additional suggestions for the type of content you’d like to see on these blog posts. The next Brown Bag is scheduled for Tuesday, November 8th, and we welcome any suggestions you have for (educational) topics you’d like to see us cover.

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