MDRC: Learning community raises grad rate

Learning communities helped students complete a degree at Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn, according to MDRC’s  Opening Doors demonstration. In their first semester, groups of 25 students took an orientation course, English and a course required for their major; they also received enhanced counseling, tutoring and textbook vouchers.

Compared to a control group, students in Opening Doors Learning Communities were 4.6 percentage points more likely to earn a degree within six years. Furthermore, the cost per degree earned was lower for students who’d been in a learning community.

An earlier MDRC report found only modest short-term results for learning community programs aimed at developmental education students. However, Kingsborough’s program was more comprehensive and included both college-ready and remedial students. In addition to linking three courses and providing counseling and tutoring, the college extended some services into the trailing summer or winter intersession. In addition, the program recruited students intending to enroll in college full time. College leaders provided unusually strong support.

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[...] college students placed in a first-semester “learning community” were more likely to earn a degree than a control group, a new study reports. Groups of 25 students [...]

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