NORTHEASTERN OKLAHOMA A&M COLLEGE (Oklahoma)

by Tom Hale, Counselor

In Fall, 2004, the Title III Program at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College conducted a study to compare the academic success and retention of two groups of first-time basic skills students, all enrolled in three courses: Reading (CIED 0133), Basic Composition (ENGL 0123), and College Life and Success (SOSC 1213). College Life &Success is a course required for any student who has 3 or more academic deficiencies, but it can be taken as an elective by any student.

The primary difference between the two groups was the text used in the College Life and Success course. The goal of the study was to determine if the different texts created a discernable difference in students’ academic success and retention.  Academic success was defined as a student passing the basic skills class. Retention was defined as a student registering for classes in the following semester.

GROUP 1 (ON COURSE CL&S) was comprised of 43 students who had the three classes in common. The four CL&S classes in this group used the text On Course by Skip Downing. Students for the experiment were chosen at random during spring and summer enrollment. There were an additional 29 students in the On Course sections of College Life & Success who did not need or did not take the Reading and Basic Comp classes.

GROUP 2 (OTHER CL&S) was made up of 33 students who had the three classes in common. The four CL&S classes in this group used another popular student success text. There were an additional 57 students in the “Other" sections of CL&S who did not need or did not take the Reading and Basic Comp classes.

  Other CL&S Students On Course CL&S Students

Improvement in On Course Students

Passed Reading 67% 89% +22%
Passed Composition 67% 71% +04%
Retention 73% 96% +23%

Conclusions: 

1. Students who used the On Course text achieved significantly better academic success in Reading and slightly better academic success in basic composition than students in thecontrol group.

2. Students who used the On Course text demonstrated significantly better retention than students in the control group.