Student Success at Mid-Atlantic Community College
According to multiple studies, the lack of community college student success in many forms is a significant problem for many colleges and universities (Braxton et al., 2004; Braxton et al., 2000; Tinto, 1986, 1993). Data suggests the problem is most significant in the country’s community colleges, where persistence and retention rates have remained low for decades (NSCRC, 2021). The causal forces of low persistence and retention rates differ (Braxton et al., 1997; Hart, 2017; Tinto, 1993). To address student persistence and retention issues, community colleges across the country have implemented different types of student support strategies to increase student success (Askelson et al., 2020; Bailey et al., 2015; Brint, 2003). I use a pseudonym for the client organization for this Capstone study, Mid-Atlantic Community College (MACC). MACC’s Office of Research and Assessment (ORA), also a pseudonym, is this project’s primary stakeholder. The ORA is interested in better understanding the experiences of MACC students to inform improvements to student support and programs aimed at increasing student success. To better understand the problem of practice, I developed three research questions. Research question 1 investigates how students access and use MACC’s resources that support student success. Research question 2 documents students’ recommendations to improve MACC’s resources, and research question 3 describes student narratives surrounding their successes and challenges in their community college experience. To answer these questions, I conducted and analyzed 14 in-depth interviews with eight MACC students.