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Persistence & Retention

Student Persistence and Success Plan(SPSP)

Student success at Gaston College is defined as graduation. In an effort to increase students’ successful course completion and progress to graduation, the college has an early alert intervention program called Student Persistence and Success Plan (SPSP). The system provides a tool for faculty and staff to report risk factors that could impede a student's academic success. At-risk academic performance includes attendance, homework completion, motivation, engagement with courses, and grades.

How the Student Persistence and Success Plan works:

  • Review the performance of the students in your classes. It is helpful for the review to be early in the semester.   
  • Students who are demonstrating a behavior that could impact their success in the course should be notified by filling out the SPSP form through WebAdvisor. It is very helpful if you discuss the form with the student.
  • Based on the SPSP information provided by the instructors, academic support staff and advisors can help students access appropriate resources for academic success.

The purpose of the early alert intervention is to:

  • Provide students with feedback concerning their performance in a course(s), in a way that individual grades do not always convey;
  • Provide students with suggestions/strategies for their improvement in individual courses (e.g. class attendance, completion of assignments, individual conference with instructor, etc.);
  • Provide student performance data to administrators/academic advisors/counselors who are monitoring/mentoring students enrolled in specific programs;
  • Provide the administrator/academic advisor/counselor the opportunity to help students access resources for academic success (e.g., tutoring, supplemental instruction, conference with instructor, time management, and study skills) and reposition for academic success; and
  • Enable the college to better identify and intervene with the students and other designated students at an earlier point.

Some risk factors include:

  •    Delaying entry into college
  •    Not having a regular high school diploma
  •    Having children
  •    Being a single parent
  •    Being financially independent of parents
  •    Working full-time while enrolled
  •    Lack of student engagement
  •    First-generation college student

The effect of these risk factors is cumulative. The more risk characteristics a student has, the greater the chance that he or she will drop out of college. It also should be noted that many of these factors are clearly related to finances. According to recent surveys, the need to earn more money to support their families and/or to meet college expenses is a primary factor in students dropping out, working more or changing to part-time status.

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