A Missing Element in the Retention Discussion. (Last Word)

By Prime, Glenda | Black Issues in Higher Education, December 6, 2001 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

A Missing Element in the Retention Discussion. (Last Word)


Prime, Glenda, Black Issues in Higher Education


The current concem about graduation rates in higher education and especially among minority students in historically Black colleges and universities is not without warrant given the high economic costs and the incalculable social costs of low retention. The recently reported trend toward increased college entrance rates among minority students brings little comfort when viewed alongside the retention statistics. Nationwide, the five-year graduation rate barely exceeds 50 percent of those entering four-year colleges and universities. The figure for Black students is more than 10 percentage points lower.

In discussions about the disparity between minority and White retention rates, politicians and academicians alike, have typically focused on levels of college preparedness, socioeconomic differences, and social interaction and adjustment as causes of minority students' low graduation rates. Consequently, attempts to foster equal opportunity have focused on policies that provide economic aid to minority students and student support services that seek to improve the interpersonal aspects of college life. A few proposals such as career planning assistance and various forms of instructional enrichment have sought to address the academic and intellectual aspects of students' college experiences. These measures, however, reflect what might be called a "deficiency model" in the problem of minority retention. They suggest that minority students are deficient in areas that are critical to persistence in college.

However, no one, in this culture of blind-faith testing, has questioned the validity of the assessment strategies used to tell students whether they are succeeding, and to make decisions about whether students are allowed to progress to higher levels. Those of us who teach, know that there is no greater determinant of a student's perception of her/his own ability to succeed than the feedback which assessment provides. Low GPAs have been cited as one of the primary reasons why students leave college prematurely. In the deficiency model, low grades mean, at best, that the student has not learned the essentials of the course but often get interpreted to mean that the student cannot learn the essentials, either because she/he does not have the ability, or has not had the necessary preparation.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

A Missing Element in the Retention Discussion. (Last Word)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?