Data Notes: Jan/Feb 2012

Finding Opportunities to Nudge Student Groups Over the Finish Line: Examining Students’ Five-Year Progress

Past research has revealed that students who complete coursework in a concentrated area, defined as completing three or more courses in a specific field of study, are much more likely to have successful outcomes than those who do not.  Students accumulating large numbers of credits without attaining credentials or transferring could be the result of a lack of focus on a particular pathway or program of study. Credential-seeking students who complete large numbers of courses, but are not necessarily following coherent pathways, are at risk of becoming frustrated and dropping out. This analysis investigates students’ outcomes after five years—did they complete, transfer, or were they still enrolled?  If they did not complete or transfer, the number of credits the student accumulated is examined, and five year outcomes by various student groups were analyzed to determine if differences occur by student groups.

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