Dissertation

Adt Cohorts-what Keeps Them from Working: a Mixed Methods Approach.

The purpose of this explanatory parallel mixed methods study was to identify the perceived barriers and success strategies that students experience when pursuing a California associate degree for transfer (ADT). Quantitative data about students enrolled in the ADT cohort was retrieved from the district data management system and the qualitative information was gathered through focus group discussions. Findings of this study highlighted success strategies that students identified as important. These included counseling (education plans), help with registration, staff that helps to keep them engaged, guaranteed classes, cohorts, and a sense of community. The barriers they identified were lack of services, such as timely access to a counselor; the scarcity of innovative teaching strategies, and the ability of the institution to accommodate students who needed to step out of the strict educational plan pathway either to take a remedial or prerequisite class or for personal reasons. For students who had left the program, 50% had to take a remedial or prerequisite class and could not rejoin the cohort group after completing that class. When the students did reengage in their education, they continued with the educational plan developed as part of the cohort and were making progress towards graduation. As a result of the findings, four recommendations were made, including: reviewing and updating the Master Plan of Higher Education in California (1960), iv creating a college-wide cohort learning community for all disciplines; developing a pathway for non-traditional students who may be working, attending colleges on a part-time basis, or who need additional refresher or remedial course work; and a call for further research into policies, practices, and procedures to transform the culture of colleges into an environment that fosters success at every level.

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