Written by Stephanie Whalen, Chair, Academy for Teaching Excellence & Associate Professor, English and Interdisciplinary Studies

With emails pouring in by the dozens each day, and sometimes hour, faculty have to respond to the most urgent emails first, and others may never make it to the top of the list. One email that may be left behind is the reminder to complete Starfish progress surveys. A look at the most recent report will encourage those who have been active with the program to continue to do so and will hopefully convince those of us who may not report to Starfish as often as we’d like to make it a priority.

Each year, Student Development asks Institutional Research to look at persistence rates from Fall to Spring to determine if students who are flagged in Starfish and have that flag addressed reenroll from one semester to the next. For the purpose of this report, Title III students included are first-time in college, degree-seeking students. From Fall 2017 to Spring 2018:

  • Flagged & Concern Addressed: Title III Persistence Rate = 81.9%
  • Flagged & Concern Not Addressed: Title III Persistence Rate = 56.6% (25.3% difference)

Institutional Research also looked at completer rates for Fall 2017 to determine if students who are flagged in Starfish and have that flag addressed are more likely to earn a grade of “C” or higher. In Fall 2017:

  • Flagged & Concern Addressed: Title III Completer Rate = 64.5%
  • Flagged & Concern Not Addressed: Title Completer Rate = 40.6% (23.9% difference)

Clearly, students benefit from faculty and advisors/counselors working together to help them through their academic challenges. Starfish provides an efficient tool for faculty to flag and communicate issues to advisors/counselors that we see students are having so that we can get students help beyond the coaching we can give them in the classroom. The program allows advisors/counselors to keep faculty informed of the strategies they have recommended to students. Like any technology available to educators, this one is only effective with the human operators putting the tool to use. Starfish is working for students because of the work you put into using it. Look for more information on how to become even more effective at using Starfish coming soon.

Questions? Please contact Jamie Brashler, Student Success Systems Analyst, at jbrashle@harpercollege.edu.