Community College Success Programs Term Paper

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Community College Success Programs

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Social and cultural diversity is clearly one of the United States' most promising cultural circumstances, as such cultural diversity affords the nation opportunities for growth and development beyond the status quo and if embraced opportunity for a broader world view in the modern global environment. Valuing such cultural diversity is a talking point in any discussion regarding civic social responsibility and national development and yet such discussion has not currently led to major strides in development and growth of the individuals who comprise such diversity and this is particularly true of the Latino population. In general the population struggles with many social and cultural barriers that create obstacles for overall success in immigration, be it permanent or temporary. Latino students often fit into lower socioeconomic categories and are frequently challenged by this demographic reality in their attainment of success. Baltimore in fact defines the differences between Hispanic and non-Hispanic whites by categories of lower median family income, different places of birth, challenges in language proficiency, challenged family support, lack of available Hispanic role models for high achievement in education and other areas and a differing orientation towards the dominant culture of the nation. Baltimore also points out that the broader culture of the U.S. has an established system of individual and institutional racism and stereotyping which challenges individuals in goal setting and successful completion of those goals. Baltimore goes on to express the statistical manner in which education reflects this reality for Hispanic students and future hopeful students. (Baltimore, 1995, p. 68)

Term Paper on Community College Success Programs Assignment

According to Baltimore, 75% of Hispanic high school seniors are not enrolled in college preparatory curricula, and 33% of those who do not graduate earn below-average grades in one or more of their academic courses. Nationally, 38% of Hispanics drop out of high school, and over 50% of Hispanics who enroll in college fail to graduate" (Baltimore, 1996, p. 68).

To resolve such divergent patterns of success, especially with regard to educational attainment, a marked social circumstance that does not ensure but does create many more opportunities for future success, plans of action must be implemented that respond to Hispanic challenges within the current education system. This work will offer a review of current literature that will detail successful practices for the improvement of the educational attainment of Hispanic students in the Community College environment. The community college level is not isolated from other educational levels, as each stage of education must to some degree respond to issues facing all students for achievement of success in the college environment. For this reason this work will not focus only on successful programs in community college but will also seek to understand successful programs in the earlier grades that help students achieve enrolment and potential success at an undergraduate level, as successful preparation is often the key to success in attendance and graduation for any student seeking higher education. (Byrd & Macdonald, 2005, p. 22) From this review of successes this work will then narrow focus to apply such successful strategies, as they apply to the Hispanic student population, through a greater understanding of focused and direct needs of this demographic.

Review of Literature

Hispanic enrollment in higher education has continued to grow, despite the lagging numbers as a result of the overarching message that higher education is one of the only ways in which success can be achieved in the modern world. The community college setting is also a popular option for many both Hispanic and non-Hispanic students as it offers a seemingly surmountable set of goals that further prepares the individual for greater levels of education and/or improved skills in trades. According to Byrd and McDonald the greatest concern for college aged students is preparedness. The challenge according to these two experts is not only the actual preparedness but the ability to perform on increasingly popular preparedness tests, often in the form not of free admittance with academic failure as the mark of under- preparedness as has been popular in the past but through standardized placement testing that either denies admission when failed or allows only conditional admission requiring the student to take remedial non-credit classes and allows for the review of success or failure at given periods in the academic year. (Byrd & Macdonald, 2005, p. 22) in general the question then becomes are such students under prepared as a result of a missing link in the earlier system, as a result of the biases of the testing practices or simply as a result of their own nature?

Even as a college education becomes increasingly imperative for social and economic success (Day & McCabe, 1997; Lavin, 2000; Ntiri, 2001), access to college is problematic for nontraditional or high-risk students. This situation is due to issues of academic, social, and economic readiness (Hoyt, 1999: Valadez, 1993). Increasingly, decisions about college readiness are made by standardized assessments. In the recent past, some colleges maintained open-enrollment policies that allowed nontraditional students to enter the system, but that is changing. Standardized-test-based admissions may overlook nontraditional students' historical and cultural background that might include strengths as well as deficits related to readiness for college. (Byrd & Macdonald, 2005, p. 22)

College admissions are only one obstacle that are faced by students as even before this students must feel at least capable and must be offered the opportunity to become confident in test taking skills and this is particularly important for non-traditional students.

Hoyt (1999) conducted a study to examine the influence of student need for remediation on retention rates at a community college. Based on that study, Hoyt concluded that predicting retention for underprepared students is difficult because of the many factors involved. However, the study indicated that first-term academic performance had the strongest relationship to retention, followed by student receipt of financial aid. As a result of that study, Hoyt (1999) emphasized the need for interventions that focus on the academic needs of students and for strengthening financial aid programs, particularly for high-risk students. (Byrd & Macdonald, 2005, p 23)

Sadly the current trend has been to further restrict admissions through standardized testing and increase financial barriers through raising fees, tuition and other costs beyond the current federal financial aide levels ability to cover costs. Though this is contrary to the needs of students it is a pervasive trend even at the community college level, as Martin claims because the present post college generation has decided to reduce the burden of paying for college, even though it is contrary to their own ability to obtain an adequate subsidized retirement through the earnings of future generations. Martin suggests that tuition (or sticker price as he puts it) is rising because secondary support has declined, not necessarily because costs have increased. (Martin, 2002, p. 88) This challenge leaves especially non-traditional students at a loss for how to achieve success in college, regardless of reasons for rising tuition and especially minorities, such as Hispanics because so much is often riding on their ability to pay for college. This could also explain the more recent trend of seeking education while still working full time, a challenge for any individual, but especially those who are bound by obligations to a family from a lower socioeconomic level, and with a lower median income overall. "By "raising its standards" above the level of the uneducated and by increasing its tuition so that only those with dependable incomes and ample study time can afford to attend, the community college is deserting its mission of service to the full range of community members (Rosow, 1994, p. 797)

The evidence suggests that these tactics have not only hurt the non-traditional student, they make it surprising that the growth rate, no matter how divergent of Hispanic enrollment in college has occurred at all. (Herideen, 1998, p. 11-13) One expert even suggests that such growth, regardless of its lag is a sign of success rather than a mark of collective failure, as he notes that change is progressive and immediate needs often outweigh not the desire but the ability of minorities to achieve academic success at secondary and post secondary levels. (Chavez, 1991, p. 119) Now that we know what does not work, i.e. raising tuitions and increased restrictions on placement the question is then, what does work? It would seem that the answer of many critical experts is the reversal of the trends in question, removing of barriers to attendance and achievement by reeling in or even reducing tuition, reestablishing the demand for broader financial subsidization of higher education and lastly removing subsidized testing standards as the basis for admittance. Hispanic and other at risk students must be given opportunities to achieve in a system that offers them equitable education, without demanding that they keep working full time, are barred from expressing cultural diversity, and are further restricted by admissions testing that does not tend to accurately predict their future success. Rosnow, as an educator and an expert of cross-cultural education fears that current trends in community education… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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