Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs
Monday, October 25, 2010

Professor assesses college education policies

As public concern heightens over current completion rates for students at America's community colleges, faculty affiliate Sara Goldrick-Rab has systematically examined 25 years of rigorous research in search of explanations of success and remedies for dropouts.

Goldrick-Rab, professor of educational policy studies and sociology, points to key contributions made by institutional practices and to the important role that federal and state resources and policies play in shaping colleges' capacity to increase graduation rates. Community college student success depends on altered campus environments and college operations, as well as on more effective incentives for college and student performance.

This review of social science, education and policy studies, "Challenges and Opportunities for Improving Community College Student Success," includes a discussion of 14 of the most popular and well-evaluated practices currently in use at community colleges, including learning communities, dual enrollment and incentive programs, and financial aid reforms.

Goldrick-Rab's review is published in the September 2010 issue of Review of Educational Research.

A former National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellow, Goldrick-Rab is senior scholar at the Wisconsin Center for the Advancement of Postsecondary Education, co-director of the Wisconsin Scholars Longitudinal Study, and a 2010 William T. Grant Faculty Scholar. She has concentrated her research on college access and completion, affordability and financial aid, community and technical colleges, and higher education finance.

What Research Shows on Challenges and Opportunities for Improving Community College Student Success, October 4, 2010, American Educational Research Association