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Assessing the effect of Achieving the Dream activities at Guilford Technical Community College (NC) on student engagement and success

John M Chapin, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Abstract

Achieving the Dream—Community Colleges Count is a national project to improve the success of community college students, particularly those populations that have been traditionally underserved. Achieving the Dream (AtD) originally provided funding to 27 community colleges to encourage the development of institutional environments that improve student engagement, persistence and success. ^ Student engagement has been documented as a key factor for improved student persistence and success. Astin (1985) proposed a “theory of involvement” to explain how students develop. Tinto (1993) further built upon Astin's work by documenting techniques of student involvement that produced improvement in student learning. This study examined the implementation of AtD initiatives to improve student engagement at Guilford Technical Community College (NC), one of the original community colleges selected for the project. The study period was from the academic year 2003-04 through the academic year 2006-07. ^ A causal-comparative quantitative study was completed utilizing two sources of data: (a) the Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE) and (b) student cohorts drawn for the AtD project during the academic years of the study. The CCSSE data was used to determine changes in student engagement during the study period. Data from two administrations of the CCSSE were used; one from 2005 involving 874 students and a second from 2007 involving 850 students. The AtD student cohorts were analyzed for changes in student persistence and academic success. The 2003 through 2006 student cohorts were comprised of 2492, 2623, 2679, and 2789 students respectively. ^ The results were interpreted to mean that improvement generally occurred in student engagement and in student persistence. Importantly, the AtD targeted groups (high-risk) evidenced distinct improvement with engagement and persistence. Analysis of academic success revealed only marginal improvements in semester GPA during the study period. These results are useful to the eighty-four community colleges now participating in the Achieving the Dream project. ^

Subject Area

Education, Community College|Education, Administration

Recommended Citation

Chapin, John M, "Assessing the effect of Achieving the Dream activities at Guilford Technical Community College (NC) on student engagement and success" (2008). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3308325.
http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/dissertations/AAI3308325

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