Virginia's Middle College Program: Factors of Completion, Community College Success, and Participants' Perceptions of Student Support Services
Perry, Jason Edward
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The Middle College program, developed by the Virginia Community College System (VCCS), allows high school dropouts (herein referred to as "out of school youth"), ages 18 to 24, to increase their income and employability by pursuing a General Educational Development certificate (GED®), community college certificate or degree, and a workforce credential within a college campus environment (VCCS, 2010). The investigation presented herein analyzes selected factors related to community college success of Virginia Middle College completers who earned the GED® via the Middle College program at eight Virginia community colleges from 2006-2013. Initial foundational information was provided by the Virginia Community College Student Information System (VCCSIS) dataset. Quantitative research methods including contingency table and logistic regression were used to analyze selected factors leading to Virginia Middle College program completion and subsequent community college success, including attainment of a community college career studies certificate, a community college applied sciences degree, a community college transfer degree to a four-year college or university, and a workplace credential such as the Virginia Career Readiness Certificate (CRC). Virginia Middle College completers who achieved community college success in 2006-2013 were then administered a survey instrument to investigate the completers' perceptions of the effectiveness of the community college support services offered within the respective community college. Results indicate that age played an important role in GED completion within the Middle College program and that the younger aged participants were more likely to complete GED on time (within one year of enrollment in Middle College). A greater number of Middle College completers earned a community college career studies certificate than any other credential earned and different community colleges have statistically significant different proportions of earned degrees and certificates. With Middle College participants closely connected with staff in the program, the results of this study also suggested that coaching and mentoring further promoted success and completion of postsecondary pathways. Another finding was that attendance on college campuses apparently motivated students to complete their GED and transition to and complete a postsecondary certificate or degree.
- Doctoral Dissertations