Community College Pathways for Disadvantaged Students
In this paper we estimate the impacts of the “pathways” chosen by community college students—in terms of desired credentials and fields of study, as well as other choices and outcomes along the paths—on the attainment of credentials with labor market value. We focus on the extent to which there are recorded changes in students’ choices over time, whether students make choices informed by their chances of success and by labor market value of credentials, and the impacts of choices on outcomes. We find that several characteristics of chosen pathways, such as field of study and desired credential as well as early “momentum,” affect outcomes. Student choices of pathways are not always driven by information about later chances of success, in terms of probabilities of completing programs and attaining strong earnings. Students also change pathways quite frequently, making it harder to accumulate the credits needed in their fields. Attainment of credentials with greater market value could thus likely be improved by appropriate guidance and supports for students along the way, and perhaps by broader institutional changes as well.
This paper was published in Community College Review in April 2021 and can be found here.
You May Also Be Interested In
Estimating Test-Score Growth with a Gap Year in the Data
Ishtiaque Fazlul, Cory Koedel, Eric Parsons, Cheng Qian
Is Online a Better Baseline? Comparing the Predictive Validity of Computer- and Paper-Based Tests
Benjamin Backes, James Cowan