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SMART

Students Mentored by Academic Retention Teams

Statement of Institutional Commitment to Retention

Moberly Area Community College is committed to providing a learning environment and support system that encourage students to achieve their educational goals. Whether a student is engaged in a single course or a full program of study, MACC is dedicated to student success.

Definitions

Retention rate: The percentage of first-time, full-time certificate or degree-seeking freshmen in the fall who return the following fall semester, less any graduates or other acceptable exclusions (i.e. death, serious illness/injury).

Student retention: The return of both part-time and full-time certificate or degree-seeking students from fall to fall as measured at census date.

Basic Assumptions

  • Student-faculty interaction has a strong impact on student satisfaction and retention.
  • Contacting the student within the first few weeks of classes is the key time frame in assisting and retaining students.
  • Attendance and grade point averages correlate with retention.
  • Suspended and probationary students are at risk of dropping out and need targeted retention strategies.

Brief History

In spring 2009, MACC’s retention committee piloted a Campus-wide retention program, Students Monitored by Academic Retention Teams (SMART), focusing on at-risk students. SMART is an intervention strategy designed to assist students who are exhibiting academic deficiencies or other behaviors impeding their success in the classroom. Faculty members were asked to identify at-risk students in their classes and then submit an electronic referral form noting specific concerns for each student. Upon the instructor's submission of this form, the identified student was contacted by an advisor via phone within 48 hours of the initial faculty request to discuss issues jeopardizing his or her academic performance, to strategize potential solutions, and to identify useful resources. After a student received assistance, a follow-up email was sent to the reporting faculty member outlining the assistance offered and strategies recommended to the student. Initial feedback from this program was very positive and led to the permanent adoption of this program for the fall 2009 semester.

Additional Retention Strategies employed by MACC

  • Use of COMPASS/ACT scores in determining appropriate course placement
  • Appropriate and targeted academic advising
  • Comprehensive orientation sessions for new students
  • Utilization of active learning strategies in classroom instruction
  • Continuous assessment of student learning through various methods

Performance indicators of retention efforts at MACC

  • GPA trends of students participating in the SMART program
  • Positive faculty feedback of the SMART program
  • Higher course retention within classes impacted by the change in COMPASS placement scores
  • Increased semester-to-semester and fall-to-fall persistence rates for all students
  • An increase in classroom participation of students involved in the SMART program and those impacted by the change in placement scores
  • Retention rates above the state and the national averages for community colleges