Student Focus Groups Reveal Barriers to Community College Success

Getting through community college is a struggle for millions of students.

Balancing work and school is harder than many expected. Many arrive on campus surprised to learn they aren’t academically prepared. And, without a clear goal or needed guidance, more often than not, students don’t make it to the finish line.

To get at the heart of the college-completion challenge, researchers recently spoke directly with students—those currently enrolled in a community college, some who had completed a degree or certificate, and others who had dropped out. The resulting report, Student Voices on the Higher Education Pathway, is part of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’sPostsecondary Success Initiative, Completion by Design, in partnership with New York City-based Public Agenda and West Ed, a research and development agency.

The hope is that effective and sustainable solutions can be identified by keeping students’ voices and experiences at the center of reform plans, according to the report. The research that provided the information for it was conducted in March through 15 focus groups of 161 individuals ages 18-29. When asked about factors influencing their college decision, attitudes toward completion, experience with remedial classes, and institutional supports and barriers, five themes emerged: (Read more.)

Via Caralee Adams, Education Week.

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