3 Tips to Increase Hispanic Student Success
Nearly one of every five college students in the United States is Hispanic. However, according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, enrollment data from Fall 2020 showed that COVID drove a 5.4 percent decrease in the number of Hispanic undergraduates. Unfortunately, we saw this trend continue into the 2021 and 2022 admissions cycles. Moreover, of those who are enrolled in two-year or four-year institutions, only slightly more than half of Hispanic students will actually finish college. Upswing is on a mission to increase graduation rates by helping you learn more about how to support your Hispanic students.
In order to find the most effective ways to support the retention and persistence of Hispanic students, we completed a study of 100k students who identify as Hispanic or Latino in 100 different subjects across 70 Upswing partner schools. We’ve compiled three valuable tips based on the data we found.
Tip #1: To increase overall retention rates among Hispanic Students, increase focus on support for developmental writing over other developmental courses such as math.
Our study found that Hispanic students who fail a writing course are twice as likely to drop out than if they fail a math course.* Due to the importance of writing across all subjects, we’ve seen that students who struggle with developmental writing tend to not do as well in their other courses. The ability to communicate effectively is such a foundational skill in academics and struggling with communication can cause students to lose encouragement quickly. Failing a math course is not as large of an overall barrier to perseverance as we’ve seen in comparison to writing courses.
But how do you provide support, especially to those students who may not be on campus or need help after hours? Upswing’s Writing Lab and Assignment Review are designed to provide 24/7 support and guidance to improve students’ writing skills. Instructional videos are available to coach students through every stage of the writing process including pre-writing, drafting, revising, and editing. The Writing Lab also offers in-depth information about citations, various writing formats, and much more. With our asynchronous Assignment Review, students can submit papers and receive feedback from writing experts within 48 hours!
Tip #2: Requiring just two supplemental tutoring or instructional sessions per semester can increase Hispanic persistence by more than 10%.
Extra academic support such as tutoring sessions has been proven to increase the persistence of Hispanic students. Our study found that students who didn’t receive supplemental support were three times as likely to fail their courses than those who received at least two interventions over the course of a semester.*
What can you do to increase supplemental sessions among your students?
- Work with developmental writing professors to require that all papers be reviewed prior to submission.
- Create student ambassadors to promote free writing resources on campus during key periods like midterms or finals.
- Adjust learning center hours (or use Upswing on-demand tutoring services!) to increase access to support.
- Offer ”study halls” to review papers at your on-campus writing or learning centers with food for those who come.
- Put a face to a name. Rather than telling students to simply come to the learning center for help, put up marketing materials featuring a particular tutor, their hobbies, and why the students should meet with them.
Tip #3: Beware of the “Crutch effect”
The crutch effect is when students rely too heavily on tutor support. When a student meets with a tutor too often, there’s a risk that the tutor completes too much of a student’s work resulting in the student retaining little to no knowledge. When students use tutors or writing services as a crutch, they don’t learn to problem-solve effectively. When the over tutored student gets to their senior level courses, such as their capstone, there isn’t really any tutor support anymore, so they fail because they never learned how to work through problems and develop solutions themselves.
How Upswing Resolves the Crutch Effect
- Upswing is alerted when students are seeking frequent help in one subject. We also provide reporting to admins so you can keep an eye on how often students are requesting tutoring sessions or submitting assignments for review.
- When we identify the student, we then review the individual sessions to see what was discussed in those sessions.
- If a student continues to use the platform too frequently, we alert the school admin and the professor if possible.
Upswing is effective at increasing student persistence, has a substantive impact on student academic success, and improves graduation rates. In short, our data shows that Upswing works, and it works well. Students motivated to use the platform will find their overall grades improving and even moderate usage (approximately three to four times a semester) is enough to improve students’ letter grades, from B’s or C’s, to A’s or B’s.
The reality is that academic interventions will not solve every student’s challenges, but it is our hope that this data provides actionable insights that can be used as a step in the right direction for colleges across the country. To learn more about how Upswing can help your institution reduce barriers to graduation for students from historically marginalized backgrounds, schedule a demo today!
*Source: Upswing Sisense Data 2021-2022