A Quantitative Study On Student Engagement At Achieving The Dream And Non-Achieving The Dream Community Colleges Evaluated With Ccsse Data

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The purpose of this ex post facto study was to determine differences in the level of student engagement in (a) students attending community colleges that participated in the Achieving the Dream (AtD) in 2011 and 2012 and (b) students attending community colleges that did not participate in AtD in 2011 and 2012. The Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE) database was used to gather information about student experiences from AtD and non-AtD community colleges in Georgia, Washington, Texas, and Michigan. The CCSSE uses five benchmarks to compare college performance levels to national norms: (a) active and collaborative learning, (b) academic challenge, (c) support for learners, (d) student effort, and (e) student/faculty interaction. The CCSSE also conducts a diagnostic to identify institutional deficiencies and monitors institutional performance over time. The data were analyzed using a series of one-way analysis of variance to determine whether student engagement differed among students at the selected AtD and non-AtD community colleges. The analysis results indicate significant differences in student engagement at the AtD and non-AtD community colleges, but these results were mixed. The results were mixed because where one AtD college identified an increase in student effort another AtD college in that same year showed a decrease in student effort, or while one non-AtD college identified academic challenges as a non-issue another non-AtD college listed academic challenges as a major deficit. These findings indicate the need to conduct additional research on student engagement outcomes at AtD and non-AtD colleges, with the goal of identifying obstacles that hinder student success at community colleges. The results of the study contribute to the literature on student engagement practices at American community colleges. This study revealed that regardless of the mixed results, differences in student level of engagement regarding their college experience at AtD and non-AtD institutions, students who felt isolated or disconnected from the college community were less likely to engage in the academic activities, or to demonstrate high level of student effort within the learning environment. Moreover, college demographics (AtD and non-AtD community colleges) had less of an impact on student engagement based on the variations (mixture) in results.