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Title V Research Tools

Title V Research Tools Background

The Hartnell College Title V Research Tools were developed through a Title V grant. The basis for the development of the tools was to provide a mechanism by which faculty and staff could make data driven decisions about how our academic programs are working. At the point in time when the tools were developed, the college did not have an office of institutional research. The collaborative Title V grant project between Hartnell College, the lead institution, and nearby Gavilan College established Student Access & Success Research Centers at each college. The project identified key student gateways in the educational process focusing on English language skills, information competency, and computer literacy.

After reviewing completion rates for courses, certificates, and degrees, faculty identified courses in basic skills (English and ESL), math and science that appeared to be functioning as “gatekeepers.” A programmer funded by the grant developed a series of tracking tools that allow tracking of students through a sequence of courses, including these “gatekeeper” courses.

Three specific tracking tools measure different aspects of student persistence and success. One tool identifies as a cohort a group of students who passed a target course in a particular semester, and then indicates the number of students in that cohort who persisted (enrolled) in a second target course and were successful (A, B, C, or Pass) in completing that course. A second tool identifies a cohort of students who pass a target course in a particular semester and then indicates whether they were successful (A, B, C, or Pass) in any subsequent course. A third tool specifically tracks “C” students and identifies as a cohort students who pass a target course with a grade of “C” and their subsequent persistence and success in a second course. A fourth tool will provide information regarding feeder high schools and English, Math, and ESL courses taken by first-time Hartnell students.

By using these tools, it has been possible to identify and track student cohorts in such courses as: English 253 (Fundamentals of Composition and Reading) and their persistence and subsequent success in English 101 (Intermediate Composition and Reading) and English 1A (College Composition and Reading) over a period of years. In addition to having the ability to track courses that are in a sequential order, these tools allow for examination of data from courses that may be prerequisites or that may be needed to provide prerequisite skills. For example, are students who have taken beginning chemistry more successful in subsequent courses in biology?

These tools are available to all faculty so that any faculty member can track a cohort of students through a sequence of courses and disciplines over multiple terms. Training and individual assistance have been provided for faculty and they now use these tools as part of the program review process.