Retaining students you’ve worked so hard to recruit, admit, and enroll is a priority. Here is a quick list of effective retention strategies.
Communicate that you are committed to their well-being.
Supportive messages indicating awareness of the many different kinds of challenges they face can demonstrate your awareness of the pressures students feel and can communicate your readiness as an institution to assist. Reminding students of the many student services you offer can be one way of showing your commitment
Communicate that their academic success is a priority.
Proactive attention to the skills and the mindset needed for academic success can identify students at-risk for academic problems.
Invite your new and returning students to discover the level of their own drive to succeed, motivation to learn, resilience, and creativity. Offer them a diagnostic look at the strength of their critical thinking skills. Make students aware of how a positive mindset and strong reasoning skills are essential for academic success in college and for their future sucess in their chosen profession.
We offer two diagnostic instruments to evaluate students’ thinking mindset and reasoning skills of college students: College Student Success and Critical Thinking Keys & Strategies. With either you can deliver your students a timely and powerful personal snapshot of their reasoning thinking skills and learning mindset.
- College Student Success (CSS) assessment is best used with transfer students and re-entry adult learners.
- Critical Thinking Keys & Strategies is an ideal assessment tool for use with traditional-age first and second-year students.
Offer effective programming to enhance a positive learning mindset and strengthen core critical thinking skills.
Results from a comprehensive diagnostic assessment can give students who do well the reinforcement they need to feel confident that they have what it takes to be successful in their courses. For students whose scores show area of weakness you can provide targeted skill-building and mindset-reinforcing programs. There are many approaches and configurations that this kind of programming can take, depending on your resources and campus culture.
The Critical Thinking Course Pack is used in its entirety or by selecting only the learning modules that most directly apply. A student can access this suite of self-instructional materials which target specific critical thinking skills and thinking mindset attributes.
Gather data to track your progress.
There are many metrics that can be used to track student retention and student success programming. The most important two are the year-to-year retention rate and the six-year graduation rate.
Other metrics typically gathered focus on participation rates in various student retention and student success programming efforts. Activity-focused data can demonstrate effort and reach.
One metric growing in importance is aggregated gain-score on objective measures of core academic skills. For institutions that include critical thinking as one of those vital skills, gain scores can be derived by comparing entry-level and exit-level group aggregated results.
Gain-score data can show the educational impact of student retention and student success programming, and these data can support institutional accreditation and learning outcomes reporting activities.