Lack of Advising Impedes Path for Student Graduations
April 13, 2005 5:03 PM
Students who’ve stayed in school too long aren’t wasting their time or units, a SF State administrator reported to the Academic Senate on Tuesday.
Helen Goldsmith, SF State’s associate dean of undergraduate studies and a member of the five-person Facilitating Graduation Task Force, reported the group’s preliminary findings in their investigation of why many students don’t graduate within six years of their admission.
The task force was formed at the request of Provost John Gemello in January in response to a California State University system effort to investigate how to remove obstacles and roadblocks on a student’s path to graduation.
A review of more than 300 student transcripts belonging to continuing SF State students who’ve exceeded their degree unit requirements found that most students were progressing toward their degrees and were not wasting time or units, Goldsmith said.
However, many SF State students still aren’t graduating fast enough.
According to university statistics, from the fall semester of 1998 to spring of 2003, just 38.5 percent of the university’s first-time freshmen graduated. This ranked the university 18th of the 23 CSU system campuses.
“It’s not very pretty,” said Goldsmith about the university’s graduation rate. “We’re pretty low.”
Statistics from the CSU Institute of Analytic Studies show that Cal State Fullerton, whose six-year graduation rate is almost 10 percent higher than SF State’s mark, has more than 57 percent of its freshman requiring extra remedial math or English courses in 2003.
At SF State, 63 percent of all freshman in 2003 required the same courses, while 16 percent of freshman required remediation at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, whose graduation rate of 64.6 percent is tops in the CSU system.
The task force - which has yet to complete its work - made four preliminary recommendations.
The university recommends that students receive advising at each step when they enter the university, declare a major, reach upper division status and are getting ready to graduate. Students on academic probation are also required to get advice, but not enough students are getting the advice they need, she said.
“The five prongs of academic advising are important but we don’t have teeth in any of them, except when a student’s on academic probation,” Goldsmith said.
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