The On Course text is used in classes at more than 500 colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, helping to empower more than 100,000 students each year. Data reports are provided here from On Course programs at:
Submit data from your On Course program by sending it to info@OnCourseWorkshop.com.
AURORA UNIVERSITY (Illinois)
The STAR Program at Aurora University
provides support to conditionally admitted students to assist them in achieving
their academic goals and success during their first year and beyond.
The STAR Program begins each year with a
special four-day orientation specifically for the STAR students one week before
the fall semester begins. The orientation provides students an opportunity
to adjust to life on campus before the other first year students arrive and
prepares them for being a college student in and out of the classroom.
Students attend a variety of sessions and participate in activities that teach
them everything they need to know in order to succeed in college.
Some of the topics and activities that
students experience during the orientation include:
Students in the STAR Program also enroll in
the course First Year Experience – Creating Success for College and Beyond
during fall semester. As participants in the course, students develop
study strategies and make changes in the way they look at themselves and their
lives as college students.
The fall course is designed to help students
achieve success in college and in life by developing their study strategies and
following the eight On Course program principles: personal
responsibility, self-motivation, self-management, interdependence,
self-awareness, lifelong learning, emotional intelligence, and belief in
yourself. The course meets once a week for 50 minutes during the 16 week
The course was added to the STAR Program in
fall 2008. In addition to the course goals and purpose listed above, the
other reason the course was added to the program was to provide regular contact
between the STAR students and the STAR program coordinator. Prior to fall
2008, the coordinator did not have regular contact with the STAR students except
during the STAR orientation and through Academic Progress Reports from the
faculty. The course allowed the students and the program coordinator to
stay in contact at least once a week during the class. The addition of the
course had a significant impact on the first semester GPA and the fall to spring
retention of the STAR students who started in fall 2008. Below is
comparison data from the STAR program for students who started in fall 2007
without the course and the students in fall 2008, when the course was first
Data for STAR Program (2007 to 2008)
As a result of the increase in GPA and retention, the students
who begin the STAR program in fall 2009 will not only be required to take the
fall course, but beginning spring 2010, they will also be required to take a
course entitled, First Year Experience-Career Exploration for Personal Growth
and Development during their spring semester.
The spring course will be designed to help students develop
career goals and lay out a path for achieving these goals. This course
will continue the relationship that was developed between the students and the
program coordinator during the fall semester. During the spring course
students will examine their own personal interests, aptitudes, values, decision
making skills, academic plans, and career awareness. This personal, educational,
and occupational information will then be organized into an individual course of
action to help students in planning for their second year at Aurora University.
The course will meet once a week for 50 minutes during the 16 week semester.
If you have questions regarding the orientation, courses, or
the overall content and structure of the STAR Program, you can contact Travis
Ramage (STAR Program Coordinator) at (630) 844-5141 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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BALTIMORE CITY COMMUNITY COLLEGE (Maryland)
In Fall, 1999, students at Baltimore City Community College who placed in ENG 81 (the college's middle-level developmental writing course) were invited to enroll in a learning community comprised of ENG 81 and CSS 110 (College Success Seminar), a 3-credit orientation class that teaches students the 8 Success Principles found in the text On Course: Strategies for Success in College and in Life. Students successful in these paired courses moved on together to ENG 82 with the same classmates and instructor.
Due to the impressive improvement of student retention and academic success in the Learning Community, the program was expanded in Fall, 2000, to include students taking developmental reading and mathematics. These students participated in Learning Communities that paired the College Success Seminar with RDG 81 and MATH 81. Successful students went on together in the learning community to take RDG 82 and MATH 82 in Spring, 2001.
The data below show the positive impact of this program on the academic success and retention of developmental students. Three components of the learning community seem to contribute most significantly to the improvement in academic success and retention of these developmental students: 1) Students learned the On Course success principles and strategies in CSS 110, 2) Students had the guidance of a mentor who taught the CSS 110 class and coached them outside of class to apply the On Course principles and strategies in all areas of their lives, and 3) Students, during their first two critical semesters in college, felt part of a community of motivated and supportive fellow students.
Retention Rates for Developmental English Students
Conclusion: The On Course Learning Community experience continued to have a positive impact on the retention of developmental students in English 81.
Retention Rates for Developmental Reading Students
Conclusion: The On Course Learning Community experience had a significantly positive impact on the retention of developmental Reading students.
Retention Rates for Developmental Math Students
Conclusion: The On Course Learning Community experience had a significantly positive impact on the retention of developmental Math students.
Pass Rates for Developmental English Students
Conclusion: The On Course Learning Community experience had an extraordinarily positive impact on the academic success rate of development English students.
Pass Rates for Developmental Reading Students
Conclusion: The On Course Learning Community experience had a very positive impact on the academic success rate of development reading students.
Pass Rates for Developmental Math Students
Conclusion: The On Course Learning Community experience had a positive impact on the academic success rate of development math students.
Retention Rates for Developmental English Students
Conclusion: The On Course Learning Community experience had a significantly positive impact on the retention of developmental students.
Pass Rates for Developmental English Students
Conclusion: The On Course Learning Community experience had a very positive impact on the academic success rate of development students.
Three-Semester Cumulative Pass Rates for Developmental English Students
Conclusion: The positive impact of the On Course Learning Community on student pass rates was compounded over successive semesters. After three semesters, On Course Learning Community students were 348% more likely to have passed English 101 than were non-learning community students who began Eng 81 at the same time.
Pass Rates for English 101
Conclusion: The two-semester On Course Learning Community experience prepares students to continue doing well academically when they leave the Learning Community. On Course Learning Community students were nearly twice as likely to pass Eng. 101 in their first try than were non-learning community students, many of whom were taking English 101 for the 2nd, 3rd, or even 4th time.
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BAY DE NOC COMMUNITY COLLEGE (Michigan)
Reported submitted by Professor Denise Dufek
Description of Course Numbers
These early data suggest that, when Bay College students are successful in FY 101 College Success Strategies, they are more likely to be successful in their transitional courses and to persist into the following semester than are their peers who do not take or pass FY 101.
This is great news for the students and faculty of Bay College.
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BREVARD COMMUNITY COLLEGE (Florida)
Reported by Professor Mark McBride, College-Wide Coordinator for Student Success
At Brevard Community College in Florida, we asked the following question of First-Time in College (FTIC) fall term college-prep (developmental) students and college credit students:
We looked to see if the target students enrolled in (1) the following spring term, (2) the following fall term, and (3) graduated by spring 2009. Here are the results:
FTIC College-Prep Students: From First Fall Term, 2004 to 2007
FTIC College-Credit Students: From First Fall Term, 2004 to 2007
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We also compared the Academic Success Rate of students who took Communications 1 (ENC1101) without SLS and those who did take SLS 1101:
For Com II (ENC 1102), the increased pass rate was 1.2% for SLS students.
We also compared the Academic Success Rate of students who took Intermediate Algebra (MAT 1022) without SLS with those who took SLS.
We also compared the Academic
Success Rate of students who took College Algebra (MAT 1105) without SLS
with those who took SLS.
We also compared the Academic Success Rate of students who took College Algebra (MAT 1105) without SLS with those who took SLS.
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BRYANT & STRATTON COLLEGE (OH-Willoughby Hills Campus)
by Marcia Backos, Program Director
Conclusion: These data reveal the following significant outcomes after the full implementation of On Course:
1. Retention of new evening students increased by 30.4%. Retention of new day students showed a slight improvement (1.2%) after three previous semesters of decline.
2. Both the day and evening students showed a significant increase (15% and 11% respectively) in students earning perfect attendance awards.
3. Academic achievement (GPAs of 3.3 or above) for day students improved 10% while evening students improved 20.9%
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From a report by Suzanne
McCarthy, Director, Learning Support
We created two sections of our
Academic Foundations course in 2007 specifically for undeclared majors and named
it Major Discoveries. We had thirty one students enrolled between the two
classes and adopted On Course as our text and approach.
We followed the reading and
journal writing schedule prescribed in the On Course Instructor’s Manual.
We complimented this with On Course interactive activities in class.
To help students better discover their own strengths and interests we had them
complete the ACT Discover surveys and take the MBTI. We conducted nine
in-class information interviews with professionals from a variety of fields who
work both on and off campus. Each student was required to conduct three
information interviews on their own as well as complete a half day shadowing
experience in a work place. These activities were followed up with a
written reflection on each of these experiences and all of this was uploaded
into an e-portfolio.
The final was an oral
presentation with a power point or movie maker visual titled “My Next Steps.”
Many of these presentations were outstanding and truly reflected the self
knowledge and the sense of empowerment they had acquired. A sampling of
statements in these presentations included: “What I accomplish in
college is up to me” and another student wrote “Make realistic goals.
Show up. Make things happen. Never settle for anything less then [sic]
your best effort.” Many commented on their experience of writing
journals saying “It’s okay to feel big emotions.” And it is “a
good way to evaluate yourself.”
The group of 31 undeclared
students included eleven who were provisional admits (“students whose
credentials are insufficient for admission by the usual college standard may be
given and opportunity to study” -
At the end of the semester we
reviewed their transcripts. Nineteen students earned a semester GPA over a
3.0 including four with a 4.0, ten earned between a 2.0 and 3.0 and two failed
to make minimum satisfactory academic progress.
As a group the undeclared
students often seem “goal less.” From a review of their final
presentations it was evident that a few actually felt defined enough to declare
a major. For the majority they seemed to have a greater sense of self and
possibility. Some identified a general direction for study and work and
others at least acquired the skill of how to explore a career path. These
students were empowered to be successful in their overall course load based on
their first semester GPAs. This was often demonstrated by their own
vocabulary speaking of being creators and not victims, setting goals and
managing their lives as students.
Conclusion: A comparison
* Undecided students were in
various Academic Foundation courses
**Undecided students used On Course as text and curriculum
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CHAFFEY COLLEGE (California)
Excerpts from a document
entitled "Opening Doors to Excellence Using On Course to Assist Students on Probation"
submitted by Ricardo Diaz, Coordinator, Opening Doors
In spring of 2004, after an Accreditation review, one of the pressing recommendations made by the review committee was for Chaffey to address its enforcement of probation and dismissal policies and procedures. At the time, MDRC, a social and educational policy research organization, was interested in studying Chaffey’s Success Centers. Because the Success Centers were already well established and open to all students, MDRC and Chaffey administrators quickly agreed that they were not well suited for a research project that would randomly assign some students to a control group. However, MDRC and Chaffey representatives discovered there was mutual interest in developing a new intervention targeting students on academic and progress probation: approximately 3,500 in spring 2004, or about one out of every five students enrolled.
To read the entire document, click HERE.
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CUYAHOGA COMMUNITY COLLEGE (Ohio)
Excerpts from a
The math learning community attempts to increase students’ success by replacing their expectation that they cannot “do math” with the belief that they can pass their developmental courses and progress to college level study. According to faculty who teach these courses, students who enroll in developmental math are handicapped less by their actual ability to learn the material than they are by the expectation that it is beyond their grasp. Because they do not believe they can learn the material, they do not really try. Under these circumstances, failure becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
To help students overcome these obstacles, the math learning community combines instruction in mathematics with material on personal responsibility and study skills. Students who participate in this intervention enroll in two courses: MATH 0850 and MATH 0950. In MATH 0850, students are taught to assume responsibility for their success and failures. Using the “On Course” curriculum developed by Skip Downing, students are taught to see themselves, not as victims, but as creators. They are taught to set goals, to manage their time, and to set priorities. The math 0950 course instructs them in the concepts of beginning algebra. The idea is that, by helping students to take responsibility for their actions and to obtain study skills, they will become more successful in their developmental math courses, and beyond. […]
To determine whether these interventions have had an impact on students’ success, an evaluation has now been conducted. This evaluation has compared the performance of students enrolled in these interventions to a randomly selected, matched sample of students who were enrolled in MATH 0950 on each of these campuses during semesters in which the intervention was offered. In selecting this sample, students were matched on age, GPA as of the start of the semester, and hours earned as of the start of the semester. […]
[…] Looking at data on students enrolled in fall 2007, 54.4% of the students who enrolled in the learning community completed MATH 0950 with a grade of C or better. By contrast, 42.6% of those in the comparison group successfully completed this course. The fall-to-spring persistence rate for students in the fall 2007 cohort was 75.5% (74 out of 98). This compares to a rate of 66.0% (62 out of 94) for students in the comparison group. […]
In addition to the “hard data” on students’ academic performance, a survey was also administered to students who participated in the MATH 0950 learning communities during fall 2007. This survey sought to find out whether the on-course material covered in MATH 0850 had any effect on students’ confidence that they could succeed in their math courses. Questions on this survey attempted to determine whether the course as a whole had an effect on students’ sense of confidence. Questions also sought to determine the impact that specific course content had on students’ confidence in mathematics.
Results of this analysis were
quite positive. Of the 23 students who responded to the questionnaire, 91%
(21 students) said that they were somewhat or much more positive about their
chances of succeeding in math than they were at the beginning of the semester.
Students were also quite positive in their opinions on the impact that specific
course content will have on their ability to succeed. The survey contained
8 items designed to find out whether students felt that a particular content
area was likely or unlikely to affect their success in math. Students who
responded to these items overwhelmingly felt that these content areas will help
them to succeed in their math courses. The percentage of students who felt
that these content areas would likely or very likely affect their math success
ranged from 65% to 100%, with the percentage exceeding 90% in six of the eight
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EL CAMINO COLLEGE and COMPTON EDUCATION CENTER (California)
Report submitted by Kristie Daniel-DiGregorio, Rose Ann Cerofeci, and Donna Manno, drawn from research by Irene Graff, El Camino College, CA
As one of the first campuses to
adopt the use of On Course, El Camino College (ECC) has invested nearly two
decades in developing innovative applications of the On Course principles. These
efforts have transformed faculty and student learning, our campus, and our
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EL CAMINO COLLEGE (California)
Report submitted by Kristie Daniel-DiGregorio and Juli Soden, El Camino College, CA
Data excerpted from Arata, H.
Human Development 10 (HD10) is
a three-unit transferable course which provides an exploration of cognitive,
psychological, social and physical factors influencing success in college and in
life. Every year since Fall 2007, sixteen sections of the course
(enrolling approximately 300 students) have utilized the On Course text.
In Spring 2009, a study was implemented to the determine the success of students
in courses utilizing On Course, relative to those who did not experience
the On Course curriculum.
In Spring 2009, 152 HD10
students completed the On Course pre and post self-assessments. The
results below show statistically significant differences in pre- and
post-assessments for all but one domain.
Post and Pre Test Results, (Max = 80, Min = 0)
P value less than the
significance level of 0.05 (*), 0.01 (**), and 0.001 (***)
More than 1,000 students across
four terms of HD10 were studied, with those experiencing the On Course
curriculum compared with those who did not. On Course students were
slightly more successful in math overall, but less successful at the basic
skills and transfer levels (see below). However, On Course students
attempted more transfer math classes than non On Course students. On
Course students performed best at the college prep, pre-transfer level with
success and retention rates 10 points higher than the non On Course
Math Success and Retention Rates by With Comparison
A similar pattern was found for
English but to a lesser degree where On Course students were more
successful in English classes overall compared to Non On Course students,
but were slightly less successful at the basic skills level. On Course
students showed the greatest success at the college prep level whose rate was 11
points higher than the non On Course group; retention was also high at
90% for this level.
English Success and Retention Rates by With Comparison
On Course students,
overall, had higher rates of passing transfer-level course in math and English
than Non On Course students when tracked for two years after the HD 10
Goal Achievement – Percentage Passing Transfer-level Math & English within Two Years
GPA Changes Over Time
While many factors contribute
to whether or not students are successful in their college courses, it is
unclear why On Course students outperform non On Course students
in only the pre-transfer college prep courses, rather than across the board in
all levels of English and math. This issue will be examined more closely
in future studies of HD10.
from a report by Dr. Mary
Perkins, Associate Dean of Enrollment Management
In fall 2008, Elgin Community
College adopted On
Course as the text in a college success course that is required for all
first-time, full-time students. The course has been a requirement at ECC since
fall 2006. This one-credit course is called College Success, or COL 101, and its
purpose is to guide students through their transition to college by learning
essential success skills. Approximately 1,200 new students enroll in this
course annually. There are approximately 80 sections annually taught by
approximately 50 instructors. Instructors teaching COL 101 must complete
training annually and are provided with a number of tools and resources to
ensure the course is taught consistently and with high quality.
Analyses of student retention
show students who complete COL 101 are significantly more likely to return the
following term [22%-29%] and year [28%-34%] than those who did not
enroll. In addition, students who successfully complete the course are
more likely to return than those who completed earning grades of D, F, or W.
Conclusion: The On Course
approach to student success has a positive impact on the retention of new
Dr. Perkins summarizes the results as “Having taught this course using a study skills text previously and watching my students use the On Course text now, I am convinced that we are focusing on what they need. The topics of personal responsibility, self-management, self-awareness, self-motivation, and interdependence are issues that ALL students, regardless of ability level, are challenged with when they transition to a college environment. Moreover, the improvements in student success are compelling.”
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ILLINOIS VALLEY COMMUNITY COLLEGE (Illinois)
by Marianne Dzik, Dean, English, Mathematics and Education
Conclusion: The impact of the On Course program on retention became most pronounced in students' fourth semester. There, retention of On Course students was 17-18% higher than retention of students not in the On Course program.
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INVER HILLS COMMUNITY COLLEGE (Minnesota)
by Brenda S. Landes, IHCC Counselor
Research conducted by Danielle Ricard, IHCC Office of Institutional Effectiveness, shows significant improvements in the retention of students participating in these retention strategies when compared to the general population of new students. These increased retention rates hold true from fall semester to spring semester, but also from fall 07 to fall 08 (see charts below).
Based on the positive results during 07-08, Inver Hills expanded the overall number of On Course sections offered from 17 during fall 07 to 25 in fall 08. The college has also expanded the number of Learning Communities in which On Course is one of the embedded classes from 4 to 10 sections during fall semester 2008.
Since the implementation of the 1 credit On Course class in fall 07, approximately 1200 students have enrolled and successfully completed this “first-year experience” class.
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MISSION COLLEGE (California)
by Dr. Jonathan Brennan, Chair, Department of English
In Fall, 2001, Mission College began a learning community program similar to the successful one at Baltimore City Community College (see report directly above). The Mission College program linked eleven basic skills classes (English, Reading, ESL, and Mathematics) with On Course counseling classes. Whereas the BCCC learning community program is two semesters, the Mission program is one semester.
Following are the retention and academic success data from the Fall, 2001, semester of this program. Note that data for all eleven basic skills classes are reported together (rather than for separate courses).
Retention Rates for Mission College Basic Skills Courses
Conclusion: The On Course Learning Community experience had a positive impact on the retention rate of basic skills students.
Academic Success Rates for Mission College Basic Skills Courses
Conclusion: The On Course Learning Community experience had a positive impact on the academic success rate of basic skills students. The classes have demonstrated higher retention and success. Faculty members have commented that they are energized and excited by the opportunity to work with the On Course strategies. They also use their On Course strategies in a range of other classes and workshops, including athletics, EOPS workshops, transfer, motivation and other workshops, Orientation, counseling classes, and many others. I have also used them with my own colleagues in professional development presentations, especially for new faculty. The students in On Course classes are actively involved in finding solutions to their problems, and in applying their new strategies to their Mathematics, English, and Reading classes."
To read the entire Mission College report (which includes details of how they set up their learning communities), CLICK HERE.
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MOUNT HOOD COMMUNITY COLLEGE (Oregon)
by Sharon Juenemann, Learning Skills Specialist
Community College, we recently adopted On Course
as the primary text for our one-credit freshman seminar course (HD 100: College
Success). The adoption of On Course was part of an institution-wide
initiative to increase student persistence. While HD 100 has been offered
at our college for many years, this year was unique. First, the course was
offered for free, and faculty/staff across the campus were recruited to teach
the course. Our college president even taught a section! Second,
advisors actively recruited new students into the course. Finally, faculty
and staff teaching the course had a one-day On Course training in which faculty
learned about the On Course Principles, focusing on Self Responsibility,
Self-Management, Self-Motivation, Interdependence, and Lifelong Learning. We
also provided follow-up training for faculty and staff through Houghton Mifflin,
publisher of On Course.
on student persistence from Fall 2004 to Winter 2006 was collected via our
student data management system. Below are the results:
Retention Rates for Mount Hood Community College First-Year Students
all accounts, the effort was a wildly successful effort, with students from the
On Course group persisting 27% more the following term than students not taking
the freshman seminar. We also conducted a survey of students taking the
course and approximately 75% of students responded that the On Course text was
or “very helpful.”
improvement in persistence is even more impressive when other factors, such as
student drop-out proneness, are considered. The Noel-Levitz College
Student Inventory was administered to all sections of HD 100 in Fall, 2004.
On a scale that is correlated with factors contributing to increased drop-out
risk, 30% of students in the experimental group scored at or above the 90th
percentile. This is many times higher that the equivalent amount in the
comparison group whose results are distributed in a bell curve pattern with
relatively fewer students scoring in the extreme ranges.
institution continues to offer HD 100 tuition-free to all first-year students.
Our goal is that nearly every incoming MHCC student will take the course
so that all MHCC students can experience the successes that On Course students do.
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NATIONAL PARK COMMUNITY COLLEGE (Arkansas)
by Dana Murphy, Chair, Learning Accelleration
Retention Data for first-time, full-time Students who took Success Seminar using On Course
For the fall semester, 2000, National Park Community College created a one-credit hour FYE course titled Success Seminar. All first-time full-time students were required to enroll in the class, which was offered in the first five weeks of each semester. Students who were placed in two or more transitional classes (for remediation) were also required to take College Study Skills. For three years, the instructors of the course changed textbooks (using first Becoming a Master Student, then POWER Learning, and finally Cornerstone). In the summer of 2003, the supervising instructor for all FYE courses attended the On Course I Workshop. Since that time, the On Course movement has become part of our culture at NPCC. Thirteen instructors have attended OC I, and two have attended OC II. NPCC has hosted three OC workshops on its campus.
UPDATE ADDED 11/10/12
National Park Community College increased fall to spring retention of Pell Grant recipients in their student success course from 60.5% (average 2004-2007) to 73.8% in 2010- 2011. This improvement is associated with their first year success course called College Seminar that is required for all full-time, degree-seeking students. The success of the College Seminar course stems from a redesign of the course to utilize cooperative learning strategies, the On Course curriculum, and a module on fiscal responsibility. The course has also been scaled up to reach 85% of the College's students.
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NORTHEASTERN OKLAHOMA A&M COLLEGE (Oklahoma)
by Tom Hale, Counselor
In Fall, 2004, the Title III Program at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College conducted a study to compare the academic success and retention of two groups of first-time basic skills students, all enrolled in three courses: Reading (CIED 0133), Basic Composition (ENGL 0123), and College Life and Success (SOSC 1213). College Life & Success is a course required for any student who has 3 or more academic deficiencies, but it can be taken as an elective by any student.
The primary difference between the two groups was the text used in the College Life and Success course. The goal of the study was to determine if the different texts created a discernable difference in students’ academic success and retention. Academic success was defined as a student passing the basic skills class. Retention was defined as a student registering for classes in the following semester.
GROUP 1 (ON COURSE CL&S)
was comprised of 43 students who had the three classes in common. The four
CL&S classes in this group used the text On Course by Skip Downing.
Students for the experiment were chosen at random during spring and summer
enrollment. There were an additional 29 students in the On Course
sections of College Life & Success who did not need or did not take the
GROUP 2 (OTHER CL&S)
was made up of 33 students who had the three classes in common. The four
CL&S classes in this group used another popular student success text. There were an additional 57 students in the “Other" sections of CL&S
who did not need or did not take the
1. Students who used the On
Course text achieved significantly better academic success in
2. Students who used the On Course text demonstrated significantly better retention than students in the control group.
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PARADISE VALLEY COMMUNITY COLLEGE (Arizona)
The full report can be accessed at the PVCC web site by clicking HERE. (Then click on "Fall 2007 iStartSmart - Summary of Results - printable one-page document")
Retention Rates for Paradise Valley Community College Students
[NOTE: Students not in the On Course classes include all other students at the college; thus, many in the non-On Course group have been at the college for multiple semesters and might be expected to have a higher retention rate than first-semester students in the On Course group.]
679 students enrolled in a college success course (AAA/CPD 115 or CPD 150), both of which use the On Course text.
86% of the students agree or strongly agree that the course has better prepared them for success in college and in life.
88% of the students agree or strongly agree that the course has helped them to improve their self-management skills.
86% of the students agree or strongly agree that the course has helped them to learn how to take charge of their lives.
84% of the students agree or strongly agree that the course has increased their self-motivation.
83% of the students agree or strongly agree that the course has increased their self-awareness.
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ROANE STATE COMMUNITY COLLEGE (Tennessee)
Roane State Community College in Harriman, Tennessee, implemented a Study—Organize—Succeed course in Fall 2010 known as COLS 1010. The course is three-credit hours and it is a free class. Students use the 6th edition of
On Course. Due to funding from a FIPSE grant*, students are able to check out the text from Roane State’s library and use it for the entire semester. The curriculum is supplemented by the requirement that students use three specific learning strategies. Students apply two of the strategies (graphic representations in the form of concept cards and two-column note-taking) in one or more classes they are taking concurrently with the COLS 1010 class. The third strategy, keeping an organized notebook, is applied in the COLS 1010 class.
Retention Data Comparison Chart
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UNIVERSITY OF NEW ENGLAND (Maine)
by Lorraine Shire Pecchia, Learning Specialist
LAC 030 OpportUNEties for Success has been taught for four consecutive semesters with
increasing student interest and enrollment. The table below reflects GPA and academic standing.
In summary, LAC 030 is an elective course and has contributed to the
academic success and increased GPA of the students it enrolls. Attending the On Course training in May/June 2009 has added to my
confidence and pedagogy in teaching the course and adopting the textbook (by the
same name) for the curriculum. I
teach the full nine chapters in fifteen weeks. The 90% average persistence rate of LAC 030
students is higher than that of the University’s 77% for first-time full-time
undergraduates entering Fall 2008 (taken from Report on Undergraduate Persistence and Graduation Rates at UNE).
The two students who were placed on Academic Probation after taking the
LAC 030 course had been on Probation prior to taking the course. This is also true for the two students who were academically dismissed.
Student Testimonials from
“Personal Philosophy of Success” final papers
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UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA at GREENSBORO (North Carolina)
from a report by Cindra Campoff, Retention Coordinator
In Fall, 2001, UNC Greensboro adopted On Course as the text in an academic success course that is required for all students who are placed on academic probation after their first semester. This non-credit course is called Strategies for Academic Success, or SAS 100, and its purpose is to help students on probation gain the success skills they need in order to return the next semester. To be eligible to return the next semester, a student must earn at least a C+ average for that term. A student receiving lower than a C+ average is suspended and must sit out at least one full semester from UNCG. Approximately 300 students each spring semester and 50 students each fall semester are required to take SAS 100.
Before adopting the On Course text, SAS 100 attempted to retain probationary students by teaching them academic study skills. According to a report on the course by Cindra Kampoff, UNCG retention coordinator, “Students didn’t like it, they didn’t do well in their other courses, and we had a difficult time keeping instructors. Most of all, the course wasn’t really addressing why students were placed on probation. They were reporting non-academic reasons for their probation status, yet we were feeding them only academic success strategies."
In the Fall 2001 semester, course leaders adopted the On Course text, with its emphasis on motivating and empowering students to become active, responsible learners. Since that time, Professor Kampoff reports, “Due to the change in curriculum and the implementation of the motivational and empowerment model, our retention rates for these students have continued to increase each semester.”
In Fall, 2004, the UNC-Greensboro Retention Program using On Course won two prestigious awards: the Noel-Levitz Retention Excellence Award and a Program Excellence Award from the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA).
Improved Retention Rate of UNC Greensboro Students on Probation
Conclusion: The On Course approach to student success had a positive impact on the retention of students on probation.
Professor Kampoff summarizes, “The retention results and changes in students’ hope and optimism levels [mentioned elsewhere in her report] display the effectiveness of the On Course curriculum and structure of SAS 100. I am convinced that teaching On Course topics such as personal responsibility, self-management, self-awareness, self-motivation, and interdependence address the underlying reasons that students are on academic probation. Breaking away from the traditional approach of teaching a straight study skills curriculum is not easy, but the data is compelling to say the least.”
To read the entire University of North Carolina Greensboro report, CLICK HERE.
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YORK TECHNICAL COLLEGE (South Carolina)
Report submitted by Taunya Paul, Department Chair, Developmental Studies, York Technical College, SC
In Fall, 2011,
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