Program to let freshmen view mid-semester grades Goal to help target students at risk of failing

The Student Retention Committee has put a pilot program into motion to help keep students at Oswego State.

The committee, which began as a retention task force by faculty assembly, evolved into the student retention committee in November 2008 as a way to improve retention of first-year students.

The program hopes to target specific student demographics at risk of failing out.

"For our pilot’s purposes I think we’re trying to see if we can help the students that historically, as we have reviewed our data, don’t do well in the fall semester and consequently don’t do well in the spring semester," said Associate Provost Rameen Mohammadi.

Only 13 percent of first-year students on academic warning at the end of their first semester return the following fall, according to data collected by the committee. Some students are disqualified and some simply choose not to return. The committee looked at freshmen in the fall of ‘07 as well as information taken from five years ago, said Mohammadi.

"What we found was if a student goes on academic warning, if their GPA is below a 2.0 in the first semester as a first year student, the likelihood of them returning the following fall was very low," said Kathleen Evans, assistant vice president for student affairs.

The college looked to first year advisement to help with students who were having academic difficulties. First-year courses were also put into place to further help students. The pilot is being integrated into both of these programs in an attempt to help students be successful.

"Sometimes the issues have nothing to do with school; they’re personal issues or family issues," said Mohammadi.

"Sometimes what we see happen is either students don’t understand what’s happening academically to them, or they have an unrealistic assessment of what’s happening at that point in the semester," said Evans.

According to information given to first-year advisers, the pilot program includes the reporting of midterm grades for first-year students to the student and their adviser. The program gives advisers a clearer picture of how students are doing and allows them to potentially alleviate concerns and struggles of the students, said Mohammadi.

"We think this is a way to get information out to give people the opportunity to make changes to their behavior and to give them strategies to be more successful," said Evans.

Advisers will only be notified if their first-year student has a C- or below in a class. Students will then be informed that they should attend an "Academic Success" workshop, held in November in the Campus Center.

"It’s a pilot in the sense that we haven’t really assumed this is the solution because we don’t know," said Mohammadi. "We don’t know if knowing at midterm is early enough to help students recover. It seemed like a reasonable first step."

"We’re going to evaluate it. We’re going to look at how it works for first-year advisers, how it’s working for students, how students participate in it and then really the question is do our interventions make a difference?" said Evans.

According to Mohammadi, it’s important students know that midterm grades are to show where they are in the midterm. If they are doing well that may not necessarily carry through to the end of the semester. Students have to remain consistent.

Midterm grades will be submitted by October 19 and students should be able to view them by October 23.