Importance of the problem
With the intent of raising the state’s mediocre ranking among higher education institutions, the Tennessee Legislature passed into law the Complete College Act (CCA) in 2006. Setting a goal of increasing the number of college graduates by 3.5 percent annually, the law has radically reformed the way Tennessee funds its public community colleges and universities. Eliminating the old enrollment formula, which funded the institutions based on student enrollment headcounts, the CCA is a model of incentive funding, based on the retention of students and the production of degrees. Its impact on Tennessee’s higher education institutions became a frightening ...view middle of the document...
The development of student success courses (SSC) was the result of those efforts. Also known as freshman seminar, student life skills, or student survival courses, SSCs should not be confused with remedial courses. Rather, they serve to orient students with the college’s facilities and services, teach effective note taking and time management, and help with academic and career planning (Zeidenberg & Calcagno, 2007). A recent survey found that 83% of the 288 community colleges that participated in the survey offered some form of a student success course (Karp & Stacey, 2013).
Statement of the Problem
While the perceived benefits of SSCs may appear to be evident, their efficacy must be proven prior to a college’s investment in the development of student success courses. Therefore, it is imperative that statistics provide proof of their actual contribution to student achievement.
Relationship to the Problem Area
Is there a correlation between student success courses and academic achievement of community college students?
There is no statistically significant difference in academic achievement between community college students who took specifically designated student success courses and community college students who did not take specifically designated student success courses.
It has been widely assumed that student success courses correlate with students’ academic achievement. The purpose of this review of literature was to disregard those assumptions in order to perform an unbiased analysis of the results of various research studies that examined the relationship between student success courses and student academic achievement.
A comparison of student success research studies is limited because of the inconsistencies between each study in regard to the sample population characteristics (i.e. gender, race/ethnicity, age, citizenship status, English proficiency, type of high school diploma, college placement scores, etc.). Further, each institution varied on the definition of a student success course, when the course was offered, to whom it was offered, the topic content of the course, and the methods used to teach the course. In addition, it appears that many of the institutions failed to adapt the courses to...