At the end of the Fall semester, 2009, we completed the first semester pilot of our newly developed Early Alert system. While the focus was clearly on the system and the process, there was certainly an effort to respond to student needs (i.e. those students in the pilot cohort). You can learn about the development of the software and implementation of the pilot project by clicking here. We also had a control group that held many of the same characteristics as the pilot group (except that they were not pre-allied health students).
We looked at how students in both groups performed throughout the semester (i.e. success rates and withdrawal rates). As you will see in the report below, compiled and written by Jennifer Ulz, our Institutional Researcher, there was no statistically significant difference between the number of withdrawals in the two groups, nor the final GPAs of the students in the two groups.
This is not a primary concern, however. Again, our objectives in getting the project off the ground were:
- Getting the software implemented
- Getting faculty & staff comfortable with the software (and working out any bugs they found)
- Developing an effective and efficient intervention & communications mechanism
We achieved #1. What we didn’t achieve last semester regarding #3, we think we’ve ironed out in the interim. And, for #2, we need the feedback of the faculty and staff who utilized the system: To what extent did they think it worked?
We will follow up this report with a more extensive version…drilling deeper into the end-of-semester student data; providing faculty feedback; highlight changes made to the software, etc… In the meantime, take a look at Jennifer’s report below and give us your thoughts and feedback.
Early Alert Cohort – Fall 2009 first-time students with a GOT healthcare major who were enrolled in at least two of the following courses:
|ACA 115||CHM 131||ENG 075||MAT 050||MED 121|
|ACA 118||CIS 070||ENG 085||MAT 060||OST 080|
|BIO 163||ENG 095||MAT 070||PSY 150|
|BIO 168||ENG 111||MAT 080|
Forty (40) such students were identified at the beginning of the fall 2009 semester.
Comparison Group – Fall 2009 first-time degree-seeking students with a major other than GOT healthcare who were enrolled in at least two of the above courses. Forty (40) of these students were chosen randomly, also at the beginning of the semester.
Retention – Fall to Spring
Of the 40 students in the early alert cohort, 28 (70.0%) were enrolled in a curriculum class at the beginning of the spring 2010 semester. Of the 40 students in the comparison group, 31 (77.5%) returned in the spring semester. This difference in retention is not statistically significant (Chi-Square test, p=.4459).
Grade Point Averages
The following table shows statistics for the fall 2009 grade point averages for the two groups.
The difference in the means of the two groups is not statistically significant (T-Test, p=.6707).
Course Success and Withdrawal
The number of course successes (grades of A, B, or C) and withdrawals (WD, WD*) were counted for each of the two groups. The results of this calculation are shown in the following table
|Total Courses||Success||Success Rate||Withd.||Withd.
Again, these two groups are not significantly different in the percentage of successes (Chi-Square test, p=.7804) or withdrawals (p=.6060).
Conclusions and Observations
- None of the above assessments – retention, grade point average, success and withdrawal rates – show any significant differences between the early alert cohort and the comparison group.
- These students should also be tracked through the spring semester and into next fall with these same assessments.
- An assessment will also be done for the spring 2010 early alert cohort and comparison group. This may help determine if changes to the process are improving the system.
- Are the characteristics of the first-time GOT health science majors the same as the first-time students in other majors? If not, this would affect the comparison between the early alert cohort and the comparison group. A similar comparison of groups from the fall 2008 semester (before the early alert initiative) might be useful.