5 Changes Schools Are Making To Power Student Success In 2023
Student success is the number one priority for career education schools across the country. But there is no one-size-fits-all solution to ensuring every student makes it to graduation. What works for some may not work for others, and what works one year may not work the next.
We surveyed 150 career education professionals, from instructors to C-Suite, to discover the changes schools plan to make in 2023 to better power student success.
Here’s what they said:
- Better placement services
- Faster intervention with at-risk students
- More one-on-one time with instructors and counselors
- Smaller classes
- More customized coursework
Here are tips for how you can implement these changes at your school.
1. Better placement services
One of the most common solutions to improving placement services is to add more staff members to your career services team. A larger team gives you more capacity, but it’s a costly bandaid to a larger problem.
Many placement teams spend so much time calling/texting/emailing students for attestations and other confirmations that they don’t have time to take a strategic approach to student placement.
Automated placement surveys help remove the administrative burden from your staff, giving them time to focus on strategically improving placement services. While there will always be students who may be more difficult to track down than others, you can better allocate resources to those difficult-to-reach students rather than spending valuable staff time calling/texting every graduate.
When staff isn’t spending all their time on graduate communications, they can form better relationships with employers and externships and devote more time to coaching the students who need extra support.
2. Faster intervention with at-risk students
Sixty-six percent of schools struggle to pull reports from their different systems, leading to delays in student intervention. Unfortunately, by the time many academic teams have the information they need to intervene with at-risk students, those students are at even greater risk.
Automated intervention ensures that schools connect with students the moment they become at risk, not several days or even a week later. Retention tools like CourseKey continuously scan student data to look for different risk factors, like multiple absences in a row, and automatically alert staff when a student reaches a certain risk threshold. Staff has all the information they need to intervene quickly and keep students back on track. Students also get notifications, letting them know they’ve missed a critical threshold of class and encouraging them to catch up.
But it doesn’t need to be all negative. Automated intervention can help motivate students to stay on track BEFORE they become at risk. Schools can set automated encouragements to congratulate students on getting a good grade, a week of perfect attendance, or other factors.
3. More one-on-one time with instructors and counselors
As with career services, hiring new staff members is always a strong but expensive option for ensuring students gain more one-on-one time with instructors and counselors. Another way is to give your staff time back in their day by reducing administrative burden. Consider the administrative tasks your instructors and counselors currently manage. Is there something you could remove from their plate?
Student data management, like attendance and grade entry, is one of the most common administrative burdens that quickly eat up staff time. Some schools will bring on an administrative hire to manage attendance and grades, others will explore software solutions as a more cost-effective and efficient way to ease the burden on their team.
It’s simple math. The less time instructors spend on administrative duties, the more time they have for students. It’s a win-win for all as this also reduces staff burnout.
4. Smaller classes
Smaller class sizes allow for more discussion and one-on-one interaction between instructors and students. Not every student is an extrovert. Many students will feel more comfortable raising their hands and engaging in front of a smaller group of peers rather than a large class.
Unfortunately, reducing class sizes is easier said than done for many schools. Career education schools offer in-demand programs, and course sizes must meet that demand. Schools may also be size-limited and unable to spare additional rooms.
Many schools will hold courses throughout the day to manage class sizes and accommodate student schedules, including morning, afternoon, and evening classes. Another approach is to implement blended learning into your curriculum. With blended learning, you can keep your on-ground classes smaller without needing to reduce the number of students you enroll or add additional space to your building.
5. More customized coursework
Students within the same program may have different post-graduation goals. Some welding students may want to work on a pipeline, while others may be more interested in working on aircraft. Ultimately, the fundamentals may be the same, but gaining specific experience in their chosen path will keep students excited about their program and make them more attractive to potential employers.
One way to do this with minimal lift is to give them options on how they gain the skills required for graduation. For example, maybe students have to complete a certain number of specific welds plus a handful of optional welds to complete their program. Giving students the opportunity to select welds and activities that are in line with their career goals is a great way to customize coursework.
Powering student success with CourseKey
One trend emerges in powering success in 2023: Schools must make the decision to invest in software or support staff. Both have their pros and cons. A dedicated, talented hire will always bring value to the organization, but hiring is expensive. If you hire too fast, you may be fast with layoffs down the road, impacting staff morale and employee livelihood. Software does require an initial upfront investment and a period of change management, but so does training multiple new staff members. A great software company will work with you throughout the implementation process to ensure a smooth transition. Implementing operational and academic software is a cheaper, lower-risk way to power student success in 2023