New statistics show dip in success

Keith Kaczmarek, Reporter

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According to the 2012 Accountability Reporting for Community Colleges report (AARC Report), Bakersfield College is producing slightly less successful students than it was producing from 2005 to 2010.

The AARC Report tracks KCCD students and measures their success according to benchmarks like how many students are graduating or transferring to a four-year school.

At the highest point, BC’s Student Progress and Achievement Rate (SPAR) peaked at 49.7 percent, but in the 2010-2011 year it fell to 46.1 percent. This drop has KCCD officials concerned because it is lower than other schools in BC’s peer group.

That being said, not everyone agrees that these numbers reflect BC accurately. “People disagree if the peer group was chosen correctly,” said Ann Morgan, director of Institutional Research and Planning. She noted that several BC officials think that the report should reflect that BC has a large Hispanic population. “The Hispanic-serving colleges would be more comparable.”

The report notes that the most accurate predictor of success at college is the level of parents’ education, as well as student’s socioeconomic background, known as “the neighborhood effect,” and other community variables like poverty, income, and employment.

This means that BC should be more compared to colleges like Cerritos, San Joaquin Delta, Contra Costa, San Jose College, and less like Shasta, Long Beach City and Sequoias.

The indicators have administrators pushing for more stringent placement testing for classes in order to improve BC’s stats. “If students get assessed by instruments that place them appropriately, then they are probably going to be more successful,” said Morgan.

According to BC’s response to the ARRC report, the drop in the SPAR statistic “may reflect a slight age shift toward younger students, and increase in students taking basic skills classes since placement of incoming high school graduates into pre-collegiate mathematics and English courses increased for the most recent five years through 2010-2011.”

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