Funding and support from Achieving the Dream has allowed Northern Essex to carefully review and measure current practices and develop new initiatives to help improve student outcomes such as retention and graduation rates.
As a result of its participation in Achieving the Dream, the college has created math tutoring centers in Haverhill and Lawrence; introduced supplemental instructors in challenging courses; developed a College Success skills course; expanded and improved academic advising services; and made several new policy changes with an eye toward student success.
"These efforts are already showing results," says Glenn. As one example, Glenn sites the 25 percent increase in students who successfully completed Basic Algebra II, a developmental course, and then College Algebra or College Algebra & Trigonometry (college level courses). The success rate rose from 49 percent in 2006-07 to 64 percent in 2009-10.
"With the PRESS for Completion grant, the college will expand the number of faculty and staff involved in initiatives such as the College Success Seminar, Supplemental Instruction, and an evolving Early Alert system to help new students. We will also research challenges to student academic performance and strategies to address those challenges," according to Bill Heineman, vice president of academic affairs.
Northern Essex is the only state college located in the lower Merrimack Valley region of Massachusetts.