Half of STEM graduates in US went to community college at some point #CSEdWeek

December 11, 2014 at 8:32 am 7 comments

Interesting claim from the American Association of Community Colleges — thanks from Cheryl Kiras for this: http://www.aacc.nche.edu/Publications/datapoints/Documents/ScienceCred_102814.pdf  Here’s another reason why it’s important to care about all of the education pathways, and to look to community colleges for more (and more diverse) computing undergraduates.


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7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. alanone1  |  December 11, 2014 at 8:51 am

    But what does it mean besides tracing the pool? Are the community college grads comparable to their opposite numbers? If so, or if no, this would be significant. But this has no indication of whether this is a dilution or an augmentation.

    • 2. Mark Guzdial  |  December 11, 2014 at 9:52 am

      I’m not sure what question you’re asking, Alan. Community colleges are much less expensive, so students often start there for economic reasons. Many low-SES students don’t even consider universities — community colleges are what they see as the target for post-secondary education. So, the reality is that that’s where the students are.

      I’m running a Transfer Summit for Georgia today. Only about 25% of all community college students who say that they want to transfer actually do transfer. Universities make it very difficult for students to transfer in.

      If we want to make a university education more accessible to more diverse students, transfer from community colleges is key.

      • 3. alanone1  |  December 11, 2014 at 9:57 am

        I mean that — especially these days — a degree is no guarantee of knowledge or competence, from pretty much anywhere. For example see the NAEP assessments of reading abilities of graduates of four year colleges and universities.

        It would be good to have a sense of what degrees generally mean from various sectors of “college level education”.

        It they are similar, and if they are above threshold, then this is an interesting and important statistic. If they are similar and neither is generally above threshold, this is also important (and dismal).

        Etc., for the other two possibilities.



  • 4. Diana  |  December 11, 2014 at 1:36 pm

    A better question, to me, is how many of those students started at a community college and transferred to a 4-year institution. These numbers are startlingly high – we get maybe 3 students a year from community college. But we have a large number of students from here who go home for the summer and take a summer school class from their local community college, and some students take calculus from a community college their senior year in high school. So, in our school, a much higher percentage of students are our students taking classes at community college than are community college students transferring here.

    When we talk about forming a pipeline (something that is a great idea and very, very time-consuming and difficult to do), we need to have numbers that reflect the target population.

    • 5. Mark Guzdial  |  December 11, 2014 at 1:51 pm

      The data that I’ve seen is that, from the community college side, too few students transfer.

      Data on Transfers from Community College

    • 6. Michael S. Kirkpatrick  |  December 11, 2014 at 5:22 pm

      Same for us. While we do get a significant number of majors (10-15%) that transfer in from CCs (we work closely with them), I would say we get 3 times as many take CC classes to fulfill gen ed requirements.

  • 7. gasstationwithoutpumps  |  December 11, 2014 at 6:24 pm

    I don’t have our transfer figures, but I think we have a lot more students taking an occasional community college course than transferring from community college. But even that role is an important one for community colleges, as it is often the highly impacted courses (physics, chemistry, calculus) that our students end up taking in community colleges, just so that they have a chance of graduating on time.


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