Connect2Complete Evaluation Report

December 20, 2014

Campus Compact is pleased to share the final Connect2Complete Evaluation Report:

Connect2Complete Evaluation Report (PDF)

Executive Summary

This evaluation report summarizes the findings from quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis undertaken to assess the outcomes of the Connect2Complete (C2C) pilot project. The pilot project was conducted at nine community colleges in three states during 2012-2014 and combines service-learning and peer advocacy for low-income community college students in developmental education classes. The C2C strategy encourages academic, personal, and spiritual development; development of social networks; and development of students’ cultural identity and critical civic consciousness– all key factors for student persistence.

The data reveals that the C2C model shows promise. Over the course of the pilot, C2C students (low-income students enrolled in one or more developmental education classes) were retained at higher rates than comparison group students. Most notably, when institutions implemented the model with fidelity, retention among C2C participants was higher than a comparison group of developmental education students not in C2C. After six semesters, the persistence rate among C2C students was six percentage points higher than among the non-C2C comparison groups.  Service-learning increased C2C students’ level of civic skills and awareness expressed in part through a commitment to participating in community work and an awareness of the importance of political participation. Peer advocates, enrolled college students who serve as service-learning leaders, mentors, and advisors to C2C students, had a positive impact on C2C students’ adjustment to college, particularly in the areas of helping them sign up for courses, learn about others on campus who could help, and learn about academic support services.

The program conferred other benefits as well. C2C students experienced a reduction in personal, financial, academic, social, and other challenges over the course of their C2C student experience. C2C students reported that their affiliations with the college, their peers, faculty, and key campus resource staff became more positive during their time as a C2C student. C2C students reported an increase in academic confidence during the period of the intervention, specifically in the areas of passing courses, re-enrolling in college the next term, achieving academic and career goals, pursuing a career that will help their community, and applying to become a peer advocate. Similarly, the C2C students’ educational aspirations increased over the pilot period, regardless of site, status, gender, or race.

While C2C was aimed at increasing the C2C students’ chances for success, the evaluation also examined the impact of C2C on peer advocates’ career aspirations, sense of self as a leader, and affiliation with their college. Peer advocates reported dramatically increased confidence and changes in their self-perception, expectations, and goals due to C2C training and experience. The evaluators found the peer advocates’ growth and leadership development especially noteworthy.

Finally, C2C helped shift the culture at some of the participating community colleges so the idea that students empower each other and see themselves as change agents on campus is central to the way the college operates. Service-learning and peer advocacy became important strategies for increasing student retention rather than being implemented as add-on programs.

To Start or Continue Implementing C2C

The C2C Resource Guide provides colleges with the tools and resources needed to integrate the C2C strategy of service-learning and peer advocacy into developmental education and college success courses. The C2C Resource Guide is designed for a broad range of audiences including civic engagement professionals, faculty, student leaders, administrators and presidents. While resources contained within this Resource Guide were developed based on the unique experiences, needs and cultures of community colleges, the model has garnered interest from four-year colleges and is certainly replicable beyond the community college setting. Sign up to receive a free copy of the C2C Resource Guide here.

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