Purpose: The purpose of this study was to identify and describe California community college student perceptions of the cohort model as compared to students enrolled in the traditional model, and to determine if a significant difference exists between grade point averages in core classes, retention rates, and completion rates of those students enrolled in either model.
Methodology: This study employed a mixed methods comparative case study design that incorporated archival, quantitative and qualitative data associated with 2 California community college cohort programs. In Round 1, archival data were collected from each college. In Round 2, 8 variables were placed in 2 Likert scale surveys for both traditional and cohort model students. In Round 3, in-depth focus group interviews were conducted with a total of 64 traditional and cohort students to understand experiences of the 8 variables. Finally, the quantitative and qualitative data were analyzed.
Findings: Traditional model students indicated that experiences with enrollment and a guaranteed graduation date were negative. They also reported that because of a lack of experience, they were unable to identify either positive or negative experiences working with counselors, peers, or with teams. Cohort model students indicated that their experiences with enrollment, working with peers, working with teams, having preselected classes, and working toward a chosen major were positive. Both traditional and cohort students shared positive experiences working with a chosen major and described how the programs had a positive impact on their lives.
Conclusion: There was a statistically significant difference between traditional students and cohort students reflected in GPA, persistence, and completion. Qualitative and quantitative data further supported the hypothesis that students who participate in a cohort model do significantly better than those enrolled in the traditional model. Additionally, the implementation of the cohort model on a broad basis within the California Community College system would help the system achieve its stated goals of improved retention and degree/certification completion.
Recommendations: Based on the findings from the study, 5 recommendations were put forth to further expand the understanding of the cohort model and how it may contribute to the success of California community college students.
|Commitee:||Johnson, Jalin B., Schwerdtfeger, Patrick|
|Department:||School of Education|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-A 82/2(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Adult learning theory, California community college, Cohort model, Completion, Persistence, Traditional model|
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