Although about 4 out of 5 students entering community colleges intend to transfer into a four-year institution, only about 1 in 4 ever do so. And, once in a four-year institution, even fewer make it to graduation. Information about the transfer experience is essential if we expect to repair this leaky pipeline.
Adriana Ruiz, a graduate student here at UCLA’s Graduate School of Education & Information Studies, and I had a short paper published in College & University’s summer issue that looks at assessing the climate for transfer students at two- and four-year institutions.
A new survey in the CIRP suite of instruments is the Diverse Learning Environments Survey (DLE). The DLE can be utilized to study transfer students, both at the sending (community college) and receiving (four-year college) institutions and is the first national survey that integrates assessment of climate, institutional practices, and outcomes.
Our paper describes how the survey examines predisposition to transfer, perceptions about the transfer process, and the actual prevalence of actions that are more likely to lead towards a successful transfer.
On the four-year side, the DLE offers data on how the incoming transfer student is received and if he or she takes advantage of programs designed to facilitate success.
A key aspect of the DLE is that it provides actionable information for schools that want to improve successful transfers using the latest theories about why certain programs and policies work. As we conclude in the paper: “it is only through the use of theory-based actionable information which can link campus climate, institutional practices, and student learning outcomes that we can make progress in repairing the leaky pipeline towards the baccalaureate degree for all those who, regardless of the starting point of their journey, desire that goal.”