Cerritos College
Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

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Cerritos College leading the pack in student success changes

Talon Marks Online News
Talon Marks Online News

Talon Marks Online News

Cerritos College is ahead of the curve in implementing upcoming statewide student success reforms, according to Dean of Academic Success and Institutional Effectiveness Bryan Reece.

A reform package was adopted by the California Community Colleges Board of Governors on Jan. 9, which will implement changes to all community colleges in the state in regard to student success.

Some of the plans that are to be put in place have already been implemented by Cerritos College, according to Reece.

“I think some colleges are going to be in a spot where they now look at the plan and now they start thinking about how to implement it; we have mature activities and projects that meet many of the goals in the success plan,” he said.

Statistics released by the college on Sept. 15 showed that student success rates have risen over the course of three years, ranging from 2008 to 2011.

Student success increased by 3.9 percent, starting at 66.48 percent in 2008-09 to 70.4 percent in 2010-11.

Retention rates also increased during the same timespan, beginning at 81.76 percent in 2008-09 to 84.07 percent in 2010-11, an improvement of 2.3 percent.

The Counseling, Fine Arts and Humanities and Social Sciences Divisions were part in the increase in student success, increasing their success rates by 5.4 percent, 7.6 percent and 6.6 percent, respectively.

One of the recommendations put in place by the task force is to increase college and career readiness within the K-12 educational system, with emphasis on helping high school juniors and seniors.

According to Reece, Cerritos College is currently working with the ABC Unified School District in creating a system to prepare students for the college’s assessment tests.

“We did a pilot [program] last fall and students that took this course got higher scores on the assessment tests, on average, they jumped an entire course.

“For example, before, if they were assessing into Math 20, they were now assessing into Math 40.”

One recommendation that Cerritos is currently in progress of meeting is to require incoming students to declare a major at the time of enrollment.

Reece said, “The main idea here is to have every student make an educational plan, and with developing an ed plan, you have to declare a major. Instead of coming in here with no idea of what you want to do, come in with some idea.”

Other recommendations include incentivizing good student behaviors, which is currently taking place at Cerritos by giving priority enrollment to students with higher grade point averages and improving the education of basic skills, which was met by analyzing basic skills data in students as well as creating a success center on campus.

Chemistry major Jeremy Macias uses on-campus resources available to improve student success such as the new math center, located on the bottom floor of the library.

“It’s pretty effective because they have actual professors tutoring at certain hours and other times there are students [tutoring],” Macias said.

Undecided major Zachary Cota believes that a more traditional method of achieving student success is simply communicating with instructors and using them as additional resources.

“If I need any help with my classes, I can always go to my teachers during their office hours. I’m taking a semi-independent math class where I can go and get help for my math work any time I want,” Cota said.

The deadline for the board of governors to submit the plan to the state legislature for review is on March 1.

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Cerritos College leading the pack in student success changes