Follow Prakesh as he does analysis for his director of academic advising to discover the percentage of their students that are required to take math and/or English gateway courses and if there’s a benefit to student retention when student’s complete required gateway courses in their first year.
In this tutorial, we discuss how to use the cohort-level analysis ready file.
Prakesh is our institution’s Director of Institutional Effectiveness.
Yesterday, Prakesh shared information about the three Analysis-Ready files with the Student Success Council. He also shared that once a subset of students who need intervention are identified on the dashboards, analysis ready files can be used to identify the students in that subset by name. Analysis ready files can also be used to take us to deeper insights with student level detail.
Ram, the Director of Academic Advising, regularly uses the Gateway Course Completion Dashboard to better understand student outcomes related to Gateway course completion in the first year of college.
Ram is excited to learn that the Cohort-Level Analysis-Ready File identifies individual Math and English gateway courses which allows the institution to study which courses better contribute to student success.
Ram visits Prakesh and asks if he could help him better understand gateway course attempts and completes, and if successful completion in a student’s first year of college impacts retention.
Prakesh, downloads the Cohort-Level Analysis-Ready File, and familiarizes himself with the dataset.
The first several fields are student and institution identifying information. Of those, only Student ID is needed.
The next two columns provide the year and term of the student’s first term at the institution.
The next three columns give information about the student’s age at the time of entry into the institution, their enrollment type, and enrollment intensity in their first term,
The Math and English Placement columns identify which students were placed into math or English developmental or college-level classes by the institution. And the Dual and Summer Enrollment column indicates whether the student was a prior dual or summer enrollment student.
The next five columns provide demographic information about the student and if the student was granted a Pell Grant in their first year, and the next five columns give information about the attendance, credential type sought, program of study, and GPA in the student’s first year.
The next eight columns provide information on the number of credits attempted and earned over four years.
The next eight columns provide information about Gateway math and English courses. First is an indicator of whether the courses were required, then if the student attempted the courses in their first year of college, if they completed the courses in their first year, and the grades they earned.
The next four columns provide information about developmental math and English courses attempted and completed in the student’s first year of college.
The next two columns are flags for retention and persistence,
And the next six columns provide information on the year the student earned their bachelor’s or associate’s degree either at the institution or at another institution.
The final column, Time to Credential, is a calculated field showing the number of years it took the student to complete their credential.
Prakesh is now ready to answer Ram’s questions. His first question is, “What percentage of students are required to take gateway math and/or English courses in their first year?
Of those students, what percentage complete these courses in their first year of college?
While the Gateway Course Completion Dashboard could provide big picture insights, Ram wants to understand Math gateway requirements separately, and in combination, with English gateway course requirements.
Prakesh uses the variable, “Cohort”, with these Gateway variables to answer those questions.
Prakesh learns that, for 2019-20, approximately 22% of students were required to take a math gateway course. Of those, 6% completed that course in their first year of college. However, in the 2013-14 cohort, 31% of students were required to take a math gateway course. And, of those, 11% completed that course in their first year of college.
He also learns that, for 2019-20, approximately 36% of students were required to take an English gateway course. Of those, 23% completed that course in their first year of college. Both values have remained consistent since the 2013-14 cohort.
And approximately 18% of students in the 2019-20 cohort were required to take both math and English gateway courses. Of those, 9% completed those courses in their first year of college. These values declined compared to the 2013-14 cohort. Prakesh can see that the percentage of students needing gateway math courses upon entry has declined by 5% between the 2013-2014 cohort and the 2019-2020 cohort. He is sure that will be good news for that team. However, the new efforts to advise more students into gateway math in their first year are not yet showing results.
The second question that Ram asks is “Are students, who complete their required gateway courses in their first year of college, more likely to retain in the following term compared to those who do not complete their required gateway courses?”
Using the same variables as before, Prakesh adds the Retention variable.
Prakesh learns that, of the 2019-20 cohort, 65% of students who completed their required math gateway course in their first year of college retained in the second year. This retention rate is up 3 percent compared to the 2013-14 cohort. However, only 58% of students who did not complete their math gateway course in their first year of college retained in the second year. Compared to the 2013-14 cohort, the retention rates remained consistent.
Of students who completed their required English gateway course in their first year of college, 67% retained in the second year compared to 63% in the 2013-14 cohort. Of those who did not complete their required English gateway course, only 52% retained in 2019-20 which was consistent with the 2013-14 cohort. Prakesh identifies a valuable insight that students who take their gateway courses in their first year have consistently higher retention rates for both math and English.
Prakesh drafts a report summarizing this information and emails it to Ram.
Ram shared the results with his academic advisors who will now strongly encourage students to enroll in, and complete, their gateway courses in their first year of college.
Prakesh also sends the report to Elise, the institution’s provost. She shares those results with faculty teaching math and English gateway courses. They are excited to see that course completion contributed to increased retention and ask if they could see this data disaggregated by race and gender. Elise says she will follow-up with Prakesh to get that data for them.
In summary, the Cohort-Level Analysis-Ready file can be used to better understand course completion rates among various student groups like first-generation, race and ethnicity, and Pell status.
These data can be merged with other Analysis-Ready files or institutional data to construct a powerful student success research dataset.