Recent Research Reports
In this report we examine the academic record of students who took more than two courses or nine equated credits, contrary to normal LaGuardia policy (most had permission, however). These students represent only 3% of all students taking Session 2 courses. We examined the GPA of students enrolled in the 2010-11 academic year. These students, who self-select for a high course or credit load in Session 2, appear to be doing well academically, while earning more credits and moving closer to graduation.
In this report we found that 20% of the students registered for LaGuardia classes in Spring 2012 had registered for at least one course that did not fulfill any of their degree requirements, according to the DegreeWorks data fields. In this report we show the proportion of students who are taking non-required courses within each academic major.
In this study we looked at a group of students who began together as a freshmen cohort and made steady progress, but some of whom then slowed down. Even though all students had earned at least 30 credits after three semesters, those who then earned fewer than 12 credits in their fourth semester (but more than zero), were 16% less likely to either be retained or graduate in the fifth semester. Slowing down may be a sign of approaching difficulty for some students.
This paper describes an interactive model that simulates retention data from LaGuardia Community College and the College of Staten Island. The model mathematically mimics the findings in Michalowski’s interview-based research on LaGuardia students: 1) Stressful life events happen to everyone at about the same rate; 2) A low level of preparation makes it harder to stay in college and graduate; 3) Students who experience an intervention are more likely to graduate; and 4) The more a student studies, the more likely it is that the student will graduate. The model may be used to help students and advisors understand the relationship between time spent studying, working and seeking help and probabilities of graduation.
This report presents the relationships between absence rates, GPA and next semester return rates. We show that rates of absence from classes negatively correlate with GPA for those college-level classes in which attendance was regularly taken. Rates of absence and GPA separately and together predict whether a student will return for the next semester. In fact, GPA and absence rate combined predict return rates quite well. Non-return is very well predicted by very high rates of absence and low GPA, but few students in any semester are in that category. When GPA is high and absence rates low, non-academic factors still come into play and predicting retention is compromised.
In this study we examine the last date of attendance of students in the Fall 2011 semester who failed to return for the Spring 2012 semester (and who did not graduate or transfer). The results show that the great majority of students decide to stop attending after the end of the semester. Loses during the semester are smaller, but not trivial, however.
In this study we demonstrate that students who eventually dropout are much more likely in any given semester to be taking one or more semesters off in their academic careers, compared to those who eventually graduate. Stopping out and attending part-time appear to be symptoms of pressures that will eventually prevent a student from graduating. A third symptom that may also be related to the amount of time available for school and studying is cumulative GPA. We also show how financial pressures appear to be a primary motivating force for students to stop out.
For this study we asked students why they had not registered for the coming semester, three weeks in advance of the first day of classes. We targeted students who were enrolled in the current semester. Approximately half who did not intend to register gave finances as the primary reason. About one-quarter had difficulties with LaGuardia, and another one-quarter had academic or life challenges beyond LaGuardia.
This report examines the one-semester return rate of enrolled degree students with GPAs greater than or equal to 3.00. We found that in every semester around 15% of this high GPA students did not return in the follow semester and never graduated.
At LaGuardia, most entering students are asked to take an initial questionnaire to identify areas in which they need extra help. The survey results can be used to shape and implement intervention efforts. In this paper we study the impact of help-seeking behavior on students' retention. After controlling for demographic variations and academic preparation, we found that students more willing to ask for assistance were more likely to be retained to the following semesters. Help-seeking was also positively associated with other longer-term retention predictors, such as grade point average and first semester credits earned.
In this video we compare students who are required to take differing numbers of developmental or pre-college-level (non-degree) courses. The more courses a student must take at the developmental level, the less likely the student is to graduate. We tested several theories as to why this might be. We found that developmental students do not drop out any faster than non-developmental students, nor do they have lower GPA's. They do, however, take longer to accumulate credits toward a degree, exposing them to the same problems that all our students face each semester on their way to graduation. The longer the path, the higher the exposure.
In this study we looked at New York State Department of Labor wage records of LaGuardia students. Among LaGuardia degree students beginning as freshmen, employment and constant dollar wages fell from 2004 to 2012, when the number of semester enrolled at LaGuardia was held constant. Nevertheless, students who began as freshmen became increasingly more likely to be employed, and they appeared to work more hours, the longer they attended LaGuardia. Students who were not working appeared more likely to graduate in any given semester.
In this paper we look at differences in drop-out rates (defined as not returning the following fall semester) among first-year students by first-year courses taken. We first looked for courses with high numbers of students who dropped out after taking each course and high numbers of students who dropped out after failing the course. We then looked for courses where the rate of dropping out was high after failing the course, indicating that course failure was somehow communicating to students that they should not be in college. We also looked at these rates normalized after deducting the rate for those who passed the course. We also re-ran the rates excluding failures where the student stopped attending and received a WU, failing grade. While freshman seminar and developmental course failure lead to large numbers of students dropping out, introductory courses in the humanities and social sciences had the highest net rates of drop out after failure. These courses may be particularly disheartening for students to fail.
Only 22% of LaGuardia’s 2,227 graduates from 2010‐11 were counted in any CUNY Performance Management Report’s six‐year graduation rate measure, because of disqualifications of transfer students, spring semester start dates, time to graduation, and initial part-time status. The paper also examines the role of various predictors of the number of semesters necessary to graduate, including test results, average credit load, GPA, financial aid, the number of majors, and the number of failed courses.
In this report we examine the disposition of the 45% of students who began the Fall 2010 semester with at least 45 earned credits and did not graduate within two semesters. Slow rates of earning credits (part-time status) meant that many of these students are still attending. Nevertheless, 14% who began with at least 45 credits transferred to another college during the year, while 10% stopped attending.
The six-year graduation rate of new students (freshmen and transfer-in students) for Fall 2005 is 27.2%. Students who tested out of basic skill requirements graduated at a 36.6% rate, while those requiring basic skills coursework graduated at a 23.1% rate. We also discuss a failed attempt to find comparable national data.
This report notes the declining proportion of students who come to LaGuardia with a GED. This report also notes that students with GEDs are less likely to graduate than students with a high school diploma, although that gap may be decreasing. The study indicates that inferior math preparation is the cause of the gap and that GED math preparation may be improving.
This video presents statistics on graduation rates for students in a cohort and then the rates for this cohort split into two groups : those who end their LaGuardia career with a 2.00 GPA or better and those who end with a GPA under 2.00. It ends with a look at how these graduation rates would have to change to move LaGuardia toward a goal of a 50% improvement (4 1/2 minutes).
This video presents statistics on graduation rates for students in a cohort and then the rates for this cohort split into two groups : those who end their LaGuardia career with a 2.00 GPA or better and those who end with a GPA under 2.00. It presents the numbers of students by semester of enrollment who must be helped to stay in college in order to meet this goal (2 1/2 minutes).
Using semester by semester reports from the National Clearinghouse on the Fall 2005 new student cohort, we determined whether members of the cohort were enrolled and whether they had graduated. Besides the 28% who graduated from LaGuardia, another 8% had graduated from other institutions without having graduated from LaGuardia first. Although eight years have gone by, 10% of that cohort is still enrolled without degrees. The potential graduation rate is therefore 46%, if all those still enrolled graduate.
In this study we show that, if all students who tried twice to pass their developmental courses and failed had passed instead and gone on to graduation, our graduation rate would increase by six percentage points. Far larger numbers of students drop out before trying twice to pass developmental requirements, while many also drop out after successfully completing their developmental requirements.
In this set of tables, we present data on student characteristics by major, including: proportions by gender, proportions by race ethnicity, average proportion full-time, average credits attempted, average equated credits attempted, average age, average proportion foreign born, average proportion non-native English speakers, average cumulative GPA, average credits earned, average credits attempted, proportion of students with transfer credits, earned credits distribution, proportion passing each developmental test, proportion passing all developmental tests, and proportions of students changing in and out of each major.
In this paper we examine the number and timing of major changes by the new student cohort from Fall 2005 over their first six years at LaGuardia. Students in this cohort had on average 1.4 majors during the six years. Only 13% changed major after the start of the second semester. Liberal Arts majors did not dominate the “change out” statistics among student major changes.
This paper combines the results of two other papers detailing progress-toward-degree measures (also shown in this section of the IR&A website). A simple scoring mechanism was used in this paper to rank the success of various academic majors in moving students toward their degree. The measures include average rates of student graduation within a year, retention to the next year and earned credit accumulation.
This paper shows the success of various academic majors in graduating or retaining students during the academic year 2010-11. Students were grouped according to credits earned at the start of the year. The measure for students beginning with 45 or more credits was graduation within the year. Retention to Fall 2011 was added for students in brackets with beginning earned credit levels below 45.
This paper gives the average rate of credit accumulation over two semesters by major. To make comparisons among majors more relevant, students who began within certain credits-earned levels were examined separately. For the categories below 30 credits, credit accumulation measures included equated credits, allowing the inclusion in the comparison of students making progress against developmental requirements in the two lower brackets.
In this report we show the average number of credits, including developmental and failed credits, a graduate attempts and earns by major, as well as the number of credits earned by the average graduate at other institutions. The graduates in some majors take larger numbers of developmental courses. The number of credits lost to failure also varies by major.
We matched a random sample of Fall 2009 students against 87 Federal Work Study (FWS) program students enrolled that semester. The return/graduation rate of the FWS students was 77%, while the return rate for the control group was 74%. The random sample was selected to have a proportionally similar distribution among ranges of GPA, F-1 visa status, basic skills requirement completion, 2009-10 credit load, earned credit level, and financial aid award.
We matched a random sample of Spring 2011 students against 631 College Discovery program students enrolled that spring semester. The one-semester return/graduation rate of the CD students was 79%, while the return rate for the control group was 74%. The random sample was selected to have a proportionally similar distribution among ranges of GPA, F-1 visa status, basic skills requirement completion, earned credit level, Spring 2011 credit load, and financial aid award.
We matched a random sample of Fall 2010 students against 214 students employed part-time (for at least two weeks during the 2010‐11 school year) on campus (but not employed in the Federal Work Study program) and enrolled that semester. The one-year return/graduation rate of the on-campus-employed students was 86%, while the return rate for the control group was 77%. The random sample was selected to have a proportionally similar distribution among ranges of GPA, F-1 visa status, basic skills requirement completion, 2010-11 credit load, earned credit level, and financial aid award.
The retention of the 945 students attending orientation from Spring 2011 to Fall 2012 was 81%, while those not attending orientation were only 70% retained. Note: it is impossible to determine from this study the impact of orientation itself. Students who elect to attend orientation are expected to be more likely to continue.
Return Rate of Students Attending Fall 2011 Orientation
This report compares the second semester return rates of freshmen and new transfers of those who attended New Student Orientation against those who did not for students beginning classes in fall 2011. The return rates for those attending orientation was 85%, while it was 76% for those who did not. While selection bias is evident in the numbers, further analysis demonstrates the positive effect of the orientation sessions themselves.
In this paper we present the results of five “Cell Matching” studies. The interventions included: working part-time on campus, Fall 2009 Federal Work Study, Fall 2010 Federal Work Study, participating in an accelerated basic skills (USIP) course, and the College Discovery program. Only the Fall 2010 FWS group showed no impact from the intervention. Cell Matching studies randomly pull control groups from the general population with distributions of retention-related comparisons similar to those in the intervention group.
In this study we matched a random sample of Fall 2010 students against 1,214 students who had ever attended and passed an accelerated basic skills (USIP) course and were also enrolled that semester. The one-year return/graduation rate of the USIP was 79%, while the return rate for the control group was 77%. The random sample was selected to have a proportionally similar distribution among ranges of GPA, F-1 visa status, basic skills requirement completion, 2010-11 credit load, earned credit level, and financial aid award.
Nearly 16% of the 6,654 new students in academic year 2007-08 were eventually placed one probation, some more than once. First-time students were twice as likely to be placed on probation than students who transferred in. Among all students placed on probation, 47% successfully got off probation. Nevertheless, only 9% of students placed on probation graduated through fall 2011 compared with 27% of those never on probation.
Allowing advanced students in good academic standing to take courses in addition to a COOP internship when they are close to graduating appears to be a sound policy. While the numbers of students graduating after the session is somewhat lower than expected, the number of courses passed, of those not dropped, is very high. Only 21 courses were failed out of a total of 412 that were completed, a pass rate of 95%.
In this study we attempted to compare the persistence of 14 students who received small scholarships for child care in Spring 2012 to a similar control group. All of the scholarship recipients either returned for the next semester or graduated. The control group returned or graduated at an 81% rate.
While the Solomon Scholarship recipients did not return for the next semester or graduate at rates significantly higher than a control group, the scholarship recipients did attempt and earn more credits in Spring 2012. The scholarship recipients attempted 13 and earned 11 credits, while the similar control group attempted 11 and earned 9.
This study looks at the impact of the Single Stop Office at LaGuardia. Single Stop assists students in applying for public benefits and provides legal and tax preparation help. This study examined whether students who were assisted in obtaining public benefits were more likely to remain in school, progress toward a degree or achieve a degree than similar students who had not worked with the office. The comparison group was selected to be similar to the treatment group along characteristics known to predict retention and graduation. The Single Stop students were more likely to return the next semester and attend full-time.
This report examines the impact of LaGuardia Foundation Scholarships on the retention and graduation rates of students who had earned 45 or more credits before receiving the scholarships. These students were matched against a control group. The Fall 2011 and Fall 2012 scholarship recipients were combined. Next semester retention or graduation rates for students receiving scholarships were significantly higher than for the similar, comparison group of students.
In this study the strong, positive retention impact of choosing not to avoid the freshman seminar in the first semester is evaluated. While it is not possible to separate the impact of the seminar itself from student self-selection, the positive traits exemplified by self-selection match other studies of students who attend pre-enrollment orientation and request help appear to have the same effect. Using logistic regression and controlling for ethnicity and financial aid awards, we found that the probability of re-enrolling in the second semester was 50% greater for students who took freshman seminar.
Destination Graduation focused on 1,741 students during Fall 2011 who had earned 45 or more credits, had changed majors no more than once, were in degree programs, had at least a 2.00 GPA and had fulfilled all developmental requirements. 84% of these students either graduated in Fall 2011 or came back for Spring 2012 classes. Students with the same characteristics in Fall 2010 (before Destination Graduation focused on such students) graduated or returned at an 81% rate.
We compared students having earned 45 or more credits and who received LaGuardia Foundation supported scholarships to help them finish their degrees against a control group of students with similar academic progress and retention characteristics. The scholarship-receiving students were significantly more likely to be retained into the next academic year, earn more credits, get a higher GPA and return as full time than students in the control group.
Although the sample size was too small to give statistical significance, students given scholarships performed better than a control group of similar students on graduation rate, GPA and course load.
In this study we attempt to determine whether fulfilling the urban studies requirement early in a student’s academic career offers any advantage in terms of graduation, retention, GPA, credit load or credits earned success. No statistically significant results were obtained.
Colleges like LaGuardia utilize special programs, featuring intensive counseling to keep high risk students from dropping out. Concern about the costs and rates of success of these programs led to the analyses in this paper. Here we explore, using tables and graphs, the relationships among the proportion of the population selected for treatment, the cost of the intervening treatment, the efficacy of the treatment, and the accuracy of the selection criteria. These variables determine the overall cost of the intervention and the number of successes resulting from the treatment. In the cases examined, we found, while accuracy of selection represented by R-squared values was very helpful in improving the success rate of treatment when going from 0.1 to 0.2, the improvement from 0.2 to 0.3 was much less helpful. Greater impact on overall budget and the number of successes is driven by the proportion of the population selected for treatment.
We looked at CUNY Office of Institutional Research & Assessment records of students who had transferred from LaGuardia to other CUNY colleges (both four‐year and two‐year) beginning Fall 2007. LaGuardia students who transferred before earning their degree lost on average 5.8 of 46.5 credits, while those with degrees lost 6.6 of 68.3 credits. The data does not provide information on whether the transferred credits had been applied toward degree requirements, however.
Using National Clearinghouse data, the transfer destination colleges of 20 years of Barnard Intercollegiate Program (ICP) participants were studied. Three hundred LaGuardia students were listed as former participants. Two hundred graduated from LaGuardia and, of these, 67.5% transferred to four-year colleges. In all, 185 of the 300 transferred to another college.
This paper contains a series of graphs showing the number and proportion of students who transfer from LaGuardia before receiving their degree. It looks at the Fall 2006 cohort and the semester-by-semester numbers.
This graph shows the 26% higher baccalaureate graduation rate of students from the Fall 2005 new student cohort who transferred to four-year institutions AFTER earning a LaGuardia degree than those who transferred early. Students were followed using Clearinghouse data for eight years after their Fall 2005 entry to LaGuardia.
This report presents a portion of an assessment of an office at LaGuardia. The Grants Development Office surveyed clients on the effectiveness of the service they provided during both the grant development and grant management phases of their work. This report gives the results of the survey along with additional suggestions and kudos provided by responding clients.
This paper tests whether the University, CUNY community colleges and LaGuardia improved their performance over time as measured by the PMP (Performance Management Program). If producing and publicizing these measures was a reasonable way of managing a university, then we would expect to see broad improvement. The paper shows that 40% of the measures at all three levels from LaGuardia up to the university demonstrated improvement. Given the heavy emphasis on year-to-year improvement, 40% seems reasonable. Nevertheless, there is so much uniformity among the trends that LaGuardia did not appear to "improve" any more than the average community college.
This presentation attempts to use the CUNY PMP (Performance Management Process) indicators to chart the relationship between a general decrease in the proportion of student course hours taught by full-time faculty and other indicators of quality. No relationships were noted. Enrollment increase was clearly a driving factor. Turning the PMP indicators into indexes allowed aggregation of similar indicators to smooth trends.
In this study we gathered quarterly wage data on the cohort of new students who entered LaGuardia in Fall 2005. The New York State Unemployment data does not include wages earned out of state or under the table. We found that the highest average wages belonged to students the year after graduating with a baccalaureate. These students more than tripled their pre-college earnings in the year after graduation. The second highest average wages belonged to students in the year after earning an associate’s without going on to receive a baccalaureate. The year after graduation these students made more than five times what they made in the year before initial matriculation. The students with the highest average wages in the year before Fall 2005 were the students who did not graduate. Those with the lowest pre-college earnings went on to get baccalaureates. Students who are still attending without a degree have made more, on average, while attending college than the other groups. Among groups of majors, STEM baccalaureate graduates had the highest average wages.
In this paper we demonstrate a methodology for finding the cost for each type of college “output”: graduate, early transfer, and drop-out. The methodology uses average total Educational and General cost per credit for each year in a student’s academic career and applies that cost to each credit attempted in all the years before the student leaves (“becomes an output”). Each graduate produced during academic year 2010-11 cost $35,519 on average over their entire academic career, while 2010-11 drop-outs cost on average $19,107. A comparative analysis of national figures is also included.
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