When we set this year’s goal to increase the term to term persistence by 3 percent and our fall to fall retention rate by 2 percent, we understood that step one would be understanding the impact of our student success initiatives in order to determine where we should lean in with more resources, or simply allocate resources more strategically. Using that understanding, we could focus our efforts to make sure students are making the most of what is available to them.
Impact analysis has been historically difficult at Monroe. With no way to set up control groups, nor to isolate impacts of various interventions, we could only see which students attended and which didn’t. We also weren’t considering factors that made students naturally more likely to succeed, regardless of their participation in a specific student success program. The Civitas Learning Impact application has changed this by giving us the ability to implement prediction-based propensity score matching in order to take out selection bias and match comparable students.
To date, we’ve used Impact to measure the effect on persistence of 30 initiatives across our campus like our previous Center for Academic Reading (CAR)- now part of the Tutoring and Academic Assistance Center (TAAC), our Math Learning Center, and our Flexible Pre-Algebra DevEd Course.
The analysis for CAR revealed a 5.9 percentage points (%pp) positive impact on student persistence and a return on investment (ROI) of 3.4 percent. For the Math Learning Center, we saw a 4.9%pp overall lift on persistence and 42 percent ROI for the college — when a program costs us $320,000 annually, those numbers are thrilling to see. It lets us know that we are making a difference for our students in a way that is productive for Monroe Community College.