Monday, July 06, 2015
Choking on AIR
- Graduation rates at community colleges are abysmal, therefore we should encourage high-achieving students to pursue degrees at four-year institutions where they have a better chance of finding success.
- Students fail to attend colleges worthy of their academic potential mostly because they are “so unfamiliar with the postsecondary world” that they don’t know any better than to just attend the school they’re most familiar with, either through proximity or affordability.
- If only students had better information, they would make the right choice, i.e. the school with the best graduation rate.
1) My data indicate that students attending a 4-year school are inferior to students who start at a CC. They routinely fail my CC physics classes at a higher rate than our native students, and are usually behind the students who flunked out of a 4-year school and reverse-transfer here.
If your response is "selection bias", you just showed that you knowingly presented a false argument for the undermatching hypothesis.
And some of my data indicates that students believe the nonsense purveyed by snake oil salesmen and think our classes will all be easier than anything at a "real college", so they don't attend classes an overly high fraction of the time and are surprised when they fail.
2) Many of our very best students are gone after a semester. Why? They transfer to a university that SENDS THEM TO US with a guarantee that they can transfer after one semester if they earn X credits in specific classes with an X average. And if they don't quite make it, they can transfer after a year with a Y average.
Why do they do this? Can you guess what it does to their selectivity and IPEDS graduation rate if they can deflect a group of "almost superior" students out of the FTIC cohort? Yep. And that approach further messes up the stats this guy is probably using. And you should see what it does for our FTIC AA *or* transfer graduation rate!
If this guy had access to the outstanding longitudinal data in Florida, the only explanation for his non-sensical claims is that he didn't bother to ask for the fraction of high achievers who started at a CC and earned a BS without an AA. Without the answer to that question, he has zero support for his conclusion. And with those kinds of mistakes in his analysis, did he really just ask for BA degrees and not look at BS degrees? He implied as much by not contrasting those.
And where is his data table sorted by ethnicity? He provides absolutely no support for his claim that minorities who attend a CC do worse than those who start at a second-rate university when matched academically.
3) There are no English majors or Humanities majors or Engineering majors at my college. None. Anyone saying otherwise is just talking crazy talk, and this guy is talking crazy talk when he says a "General Studies" AA degree is not a technical degree. That is the degree earned by every student who wants a STEM BS, like Engineering. We don't have a single AA degree in a "technical field", and we certainly don't offer an AS in Creative Writing. In fact, I have to wonder if he looked at AS degrees at all. They rountinely earn more than BA degrees because so many of them are in nursing or other health fields that pay quite well right out of college.
4) He implies that having 46% of "low achievers" earn a certificate or 2-year degree is a bad thing for society. I think it is a triumph! He sounds like someone who does not believe in the American Dream or realize what 30% above a HS-grad income means to a kid who is the first from a family, perhaps an immigrant family, to go beyond HS.