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UPDATE: COC receives mixed grades in Student Success Scorecard

Posted: April 11, 2013 1:07 p.m.
Updated: April 11, 2013 5:50 p.m.

College of the Canyons sophomores Erica Watson, left, and Jon Butler take a break between classes on the Valencia campus Thursday. Signal photo by Dan Watson

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Students at College of the Canyons are statistically more likely to receive a degree or certificate, or to successfully transfer to a four-year institution, than their peers at other state community colleges, according to data released this week by the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office.

About 56.3 percent of all COC students completed some sort of degree, certificate or transferred to a four-year institution, according to data contained in the new California Community Colleges Student Success Scorecard.

Statewide, the completion rate was only 49.2 percent.

The data released Tuesday is for the class of students who enrolled in 2006 and was tracked for six years, ending in the 2011-2012 academic year.

Under the study, any student who first enrolled in 2006, and who received a degree or certificate or transferred to a four-year institution during the six-year tracking period, counted toward a college’s completion rate.

Student completion is of particular importance to COC, said college spokesman Bruce Battle.

“Completion is what it’s all about — whether students are coming here and doing what they need to do,” Battle said.

COC also measured above the state average in the “30 Units” metric, which tracks how many students received at least 30 college credits over the six-year tracking period. COC’s class came in at 68.2 percent, while the statewide average was 66.4 percent.

One area where COC came in lower than other state community colleges was in the persistence rate of its students.

This metric tracked how many students enrolled in courses for the first three consecutive terms during the six-year tracking period.

This means that if a student started in either the spring or fall semester of 2006, but missed one of the next two semesters, that student would not be counted as “persistent,” according to Ryan Fuller with the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office.

At COC, the persistence rate was 57.2 percent, compared to 65.8 percent for the state.

Battle said college officials are examining the data to see why it is that the college reported a lower-than-average persistence rate.

The scorecard itself is a new initiative from the California Community Colleges with the goal of taking information related to student persistence and completion and providing easy-to-understand breakdowns by age, gender and ethnicity, according to state Chancellor Brice W. Harris.

Harris said the goal of the scorecard is for colleges to be able to track their own progress and highlight areas of strength and areas that need improvement.

“The purpose of this is for individual colleges to be able to benchmark themselves and improve over time,” Harris said in a conference call Tuesday.

The new report could also be helpful for prospective students, Battle said.

“I think more and more people want to know what they’re getting into,” Battle said. “They want to know, ‘Is this college going to be the right place for me?’”
On Twitter @LukeMMoney


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