Study That Algebra!



What makes a community college student focused enough to stay in school and finish?

Apparently being poor makes a student more directed, as does having at least one parent who attended some college.  Completing a higher form of algebra while still in high school is also a characteristic of sufficiently directed students.

These are some of the findings of a new study titled On Track To Complete: A Taxonomy of Beginning Community College Students and Their Outcomes 3 Years After Enrolling.

The study, published by the National Center for Education Statistics within the U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences, deals with the characteristics and outcomes of students classified as "strongly directed," "moderately directed" and "not directed."

The study found that strongly directed students were more likely than not directed students to be low income but less likely to be from families in which neither parent had achieved any postsecondary education." (The study found that 39 percent of students whose parents never went to college were strongly directed, whereas 55 percent of students whose parents never went to college were not directed.)

Study results also show that a higher percentage of students designated as strongly directed completed mathematics courses beyond algebra 2 than moderately directed

students (38 percent versus 31 percent).

The study didn't deal with implications, but maybe the lesson for youth advocates is when it comes to working with youths whose parents never went to college, do what a college-educated parent would do on their behalf, be it providing advice or support.