Database measures Columbia Basin College students' success

By Ty Beaver, Tri-City HeraldMarch 12, 2013 

Columbia Basin College students who struggle with college-level math at the institution are much less likely to transfer to a four-year university, according to information from a new database.

The new data comes from the Mutual Research Transcript Exchange, or MRTE+, managed by the State Board for Career and Technical Colleges, along with an independent contractor.

The database provides information on former community and technical college students who further their education.

CBC board members said at Monday's meeting that the data reinforces the importance math and a few other key subjects play in higher education.

"I think one of the goals moving forward should be focusing on those individuals (who struggle)," said board member Sal Mendoza Jr.

Joe Montgomery, dean for institutional effectiveness, said the latest information shows the college is doing a good job.

CBC ranked seventh out of 27 community and technical colleges in the state when it came to students who transferred in the past four years, and in sixth place when it came to student transfers in the past three years. Between 55 percent and 60 percent of those who earn an associate degree transfer.

Students' math ability clearly played a role in their success, Montgomery said. More than half of students who intended to transfer to a four-year university placed at college-level math at CBC. Only about 16 percent of students who were in pre-college math ended up transferring.

CBC President Rich Cummins said the need to make sure students are proficient in math is similar to the college's Project Literacy initiative, which aims to improve a student's reading ability. Low literacy is a barrier to students, particularly when they take social sciences such as sociology and psychology.

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