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Points of Interest

Stubborn Distributions

This Points of Interest shows that while there is an increase in the number of students completing transfer English courses, the proportional distribution of grades remains stubbornly consistent.
October 9, 2019
Christopher M. Mullin
Tags: 2. Enroll in college-level math and English., Differential Capacity of Institutions

Systems are undertaking change and the total number of students who benefit is increasing. For example, in California community colleges the number of students completing transfer English in Fall of 2018 with a grade of C or higher was 17,802 more than the year prior and 35,298 more than in Fall of 2015.

At the same time, the distribution of students who pass the course with a grade of C or higher has remained nearly the same. The data suggest the same is true for other grades as well. As the authors of the study observe, “[T]his one percentage-point increase in W grades suggests that even as students are being placed directly into transfer-level English at a higher rate, they are not withdrawing from the courses any more than they were under the previous placement system” (p. 27).

This Points of Interest shows that while there is an increase in the number of students completing transfer English courses, the proportional distribution of grades remains stubbornly consistent.