Beyond Access: Methods and Models for Increasing Retention and Learning among Minority Students

Beyond Access: Methods and Models for Increasing Retention and Learning among Minority Students

Beyond Access: Methods and Models for Increasing Retention and Learning among Minority Students

Beyond Access: Methods and Models for Increasing Retention and Learning among Minority Students

Synopsis

This issue presents practical models, alternative approaches and new strategies for creating effective cross-cultural courses that foster higher retention and learning success for minority students. Arguing that minority students represent various cultures and socioeconomic backgrounds, the authors discuss a wide range of issues for educators in this field, including culturally specific learning styles, work-based mentoring programs, and the role of the non-minority instructor in a minority environment. Articles critically examine traditional methods in admissions assessments, placement measures, and learning evaluation that are failing to address cultural diversity, and offer alternatives, such as a theoretical model for measuring student learning style incorporating components of motivation and engagement for inclusion with the traditional cognitive perspective. They also present a case study of one campus's efforts to create a more inclusive climate. With demographic projections indicating dramatic increases in minority student population in the following decades, the authors assert that educational programs must now develop a broader curricula that includes multicultural and multi-linguistic information. In this issue, they have provided a valuable resource for institutions meeting that challenge. This is the 112th issue of the Jossey-Bass series "New Directions for Community Colleges."

Excerpt

Romero Jalomo. Jr.

Recent studies suggest that minority students do not
perform well on standardized assessment measures
commonly used to evaluate their preparation for and
performance in college. This chapter examines student
outcomes and criticisms surrounding standardized
achievement testing and discusses strategies for employ
ing alternative assessment approaches
.

Reports on minority student preparation for and performance in college continue to yield contradictory results. While today's minority students appear better prepared for college success than the generation that preceded them, their performance on achievement tests and persistence in college leaves cause for concern. Despite inconclusive findings, minority student outcomes continue to draw the attention of external constituencies (accreditation organizations, state and local legislators, district boards, taxpayers, and parents) and internal constituencies (administrators, faculty members, institutional researchers, counseling staff members, and academic advisors) who function as stakeholders in an era of higher education accountability (Cress, 1996). Today's colleges and universities enroll a more diverse student population in terms of demographic makeup, learning styles, and academic preparation than at any other time in American history (Jalomo, 2000; Terenzini and others, 1996). However, colleges and universities remain under the watchful eye of multiple stakeholder groups to ensure their efficiency and effectiveness in delivering quality instruction.

In an era of public debate and scrutiny concerning college access, educators are challenged to provide meaningful, substantive, and conducive learning experiences to a diverse population of students. In addition, the challenge remains to select and administer appropriate measures to assess their preparation for college, skills acquisition, and college outcomes. This chapter examines how traditional assessment measures of minority student preparation for and performance in college have produced differential results, and offers suggestions for alternative approaches to measuring skills acquisition in the college environment.

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