Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

July 14, 2013

Beyond the numbers

Officials say Ivy Tech graduation rates don't tell whole story

(Continued)

"We call those students every semester,” King said.

Some come back eventually. Others do not. Those students count against the college’s graduation figures. So do students who start at Ivy Tech and transfer to another institution to finish.

“A lot of those students would be surprised to know they’re being counted as failures,” King said. “They achieved their goals.”

Officials say they’re not making excuses, though. They know there’s room for improvement in the numbers.And every day they’re working at it.

Ivy Tech has implemented more than 20 new academic initiatives statewide. Many are being piloted in this region.

Just 58 percent of students statewide who enroll in Ivy Tech Community College’s freshman composition course pass it on the first try, officials said. So this year, the region piloted the English 111 Gateway program.It extends a student’s one-on-one time with teachers. Writing centers with certified tutors are available for students. Every Ivy Tech student has to take the course. It’s important they make it through it, King said.

“If they don’t pass that course, they’re, well, they’re shut down,” she said.The college revamped its remediation courses, hired a retention advisor and implemented an early alert system.

Under that system, if a student misses too many classes or is struggling with grades, teachers can send out an alert. The student’s academic advisor gets the alert and sets up a meeting with the student to find out what’s going on.Those small things meant a lot to Miller.

She said it was exhausting going to school and caring for two young kids. But Ivy Tech helped her succeed – even if it wasn’t as quickly as the state would like.

“Ivy Tech is there for you,” she said. “They allowed me to fit them around my schedule. They stayed with me. They supported me.”

Lindsey Ziliak, Tribune education reporter, can be reached at 765-454-8585 or at lindsey.ziliak@kokomotribune.com

 

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