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Center for Teaching and Learning

Focused Inquiry Groups (FIGs) - Title III

Area of Inquiry

While the Chabot Office of Institutional Research data shows that only 48% of degree-seeking students persist from fall to fall, once you begin examining the factors in persistence, it becomes clear that the situation is more complex than it looks. Research from other institutions and our own internal data suggest that two factors may be key to improving student success and retention: 1) assessment, enrollment, and success in key language and mathematics classes as soon as possible; and 2) basic understandings of college operations/services.

Data on early deciders (recent high school graduates who decide to attend Chabot before June 1) shows that they are more likely than later deciders (students who wait as late as census day to apply) to persist from fall to spring of their first year (14%, OIR 2009, awaiting data on the fall-to-fall persistence). Completing orientation (including an education plan, financial aid, assessment, and early registration), completing key coursework early, familiarity with college structures and services, and personal motivation and support all appear to be contributing factors. Students who make the decision to attend Chabot late in our matriculation cycle are unlikely to complete key coursework early (do not get assessed, and even if they do, there are no sections of English available to them, and they delay math as long as possible) or to be familiar with structures/services (they do not get counseling, write ed plans, apply for financial aid—as late as they are--or even get student ids). Instead, they enroll in whatever classes they can and try to blunder through.

Our hypothesis is that if we can shepherd late-deciding students down a path that moves them into key academic work in combination with access and familiarity with the college (and its services), their persistence would be improved. This proposal combines two key theses about student persistence, one from instruction and one from student services: 1) students who experience a ‘complete’ matriculation experience will persist in greater numbers than students who do not; and 2) assessment and enrollment in appropriate basic skills classes (English and mathematics) early in the academic career improves persistence. The specifics of the supporting research can be found in handouts provided during BSI meetings for the past year (to be attached) or in the Basic Skills as a Foundation for Student Success in California Community Colleges. Finally, one of our goals is to do this with a minimum of “new” overhead, that is, wherever possible, we intend to use existing services and personnel, while simultaneously trying and tracking the success of new pedagogical practices.


  • Patricia Shannon - Title III Activities Director
  • Matthew Kritscher - Dean of Counseling
  • Marcia Corcoran - Dean of Language Arts
  • Katie Hern - Lead for English Faculty
  • Ming-lun Ho - Lead for Math Faculty
  • Dennis Chowenhill - English Faculty
  • Carmen Johnston - English Faculty
  • Alisa Klevens - English Faculty
  • Angie Magallon - English Faculty

Katie Hern - English

Angie Magallon - English

Ming-lun Ho - Math

Cindy Stubblebine - Math



Program Overview & Results

Summary of English FIG

Metacognitive Awareness of Reading Strategies Survey

MARSI Article

Assessment of Student's Reading Practices



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