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Data Confirms It: Success Seminar Works

Submitted by on May 15, 2011 – 12:00 pm

Presented by Janice Rogers and Clare Thompson-Ostrander, the June educational report focused on the College Success Seminar which was launched as a pilot last fall.

The seminar was created by the First Year Experience Committee, a group that was formed to develop strategies to help new students who test into two developmental courses succeed in college.

Taught by faculty and staff from across the college’s departments, the College Success Seminar has three components: self-discovery, study skills, and NECC resources.

Since this was a pilot, the college was very interested in measuring the progress of students in the classes, according to Thompson- Ostrander, to determine what was working well and what wasn’t working. Success was measured through student surveys after each module of the class, in focus groups, and through a careful review of how the enrolled students were performing in both the College Success Seminar and their other courses.

According to Thompson-Ostrander, students who successfully completed the seminar in the fall of 2010 earned a g.p.a. that was .5 points higher than eligible students who elected not to take the seminar. They were also far more likely to return for the spring semester, at a rate of 90 percent as compared to 76 percent.

The College Success Seminar is part of Northern Essex’s participation in Achieving the Dream, a national initiative to help students succeed. The pilot will continue this fall and, if it proves to be successful, plans will be made to offer it to a wider group.