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ECC helps narrow achievement gap for Latino students

Latino students at Elgin Community College are excelling better than ever and closing the achievement gap between them and their counterparts, according to new data prepared by the college's Institutional Research Department for its annual feedback report to Achieving the Dream.

Latino students showed a 19 percent gain in college completion rates, between the 2006 and 2010 cohorts of new students, followed by Caucasian students at 16 percent, Asian students at 11 percent, and African American students at 5 percent.

This is in part due to new policies and interventions instituted in the 2006-07 academic year, which include a minimum competency placement requirement for most college-level coursework, a new first-year experience program for incoming students, and the formalization of the Alliance for College Readiness, a unique partnership between ECC and public schools within District 509.

“While we don't have a way to measure the direct and independent impact of these policy changes, nor the many other interventions that ECC has instituted since that time, we can infer that at least a portion of the improvements has been due to these institutional efforts,” said Dave Rudden, director of institutional research.

Latino students also have gained academic success in other areas. Data from ECC's fall 2011 cohort of new students show that 53 percent of Latino students completed their first college-level English courses within three years, which represents an increase of more than 16 percent from the fall 2008 cohort of new students where 37 percent completed their first college-level English course within three years.

Additional efforts aimed at improving student completion rates include ECC's participation in Achieving the Dream as a Leader College, which spawned the college's greater focus on student success. This also resulted in the creation of a cross-functional team of faculty, staff, and administrators known as the Student Success Infrastructure that focuses as a clearinghouse for innovative projects and initiatives geared toward helping students succeed.

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