Recent data from all 112 community colleges in California show that Napa Valley College remains above state average in student success rates, despite losing points from last year.
The Student Success Scorecard is made available through the state Chancellor’s Office and provides users the ability to track completion rates and other data related to student performance.
The current data on the Student Success Scorecard show the results for degree- and transfer-seeking students who were tracked for six years through 2012-13.
At Napa Valley College, 51 percent of students completed a degree, certificate or transfer, according to the Scorecard website. Statewide, the overall completion rate was 48.1 percent.
Last year, the overall completion rate for Napa Valley College was a little more than 54 percent.
“We think the Scorecard is an incredibly valuable tool for students and for institutions to look at ... but it doesn’t give the full picture of success at Napa Valley College,” college spokeswoman Lissa Gibbs said.
Between 5 to 7 percent of Napa Valley College students who should have been counted on this Scorecard, were not, because they transferred to either an in-state private institution or an out-of-state institution, Gibbs said. There’s a delay in reporting on those types of transfers, so those students do not get tracked for about two years, she said.
The scorecard also fails to include students who graduate from state-licensed, certificated programs — which includes 70 to 100 students from Napa Valley College’s EMT, welding, respiratory therapy, and psychiatric technician programs, Gibbs said. All four are popular programs with a high success rate.
Many welding students, for example, are hired directly out of the school, Gibbs said. They may not complete the degree, but, she said, “is that not success?”
Statewide, the overall completion and transfer rate declined by 2.6 percentage points. According to the Chancellor’s Office, the decline across California can be attributed to deep budget cuts, which caused course offerings to be slashed and limited opportunities to transfer. One of the groups most affected by these cuts were students who entered college in 2007-08.
“This was the largest group to enter our colleges, and just as they arrived at our doors they were hit with a recession that forced us to reduce credit classes by 20 percent,” California Community Colleges Chancellor Brice W. Harris said in a statement. “Students with goals of transferring competed for fewer seats at California State University and University of California. Sadly, the only transfer activity that increased was for students who could afford to go out of state.”
Napa Valley College student Monica Hurtado said that, due to the budget cuts, she’s noticed fewer course offerings in the summer, and there are a limited number of times students can take certain classes. These factors can “hinder” a student’s progress toward graduating or transferring, she said.
For Napa Valley College, one of the silver linings in the report was its completion rate for Career Technical Education students.
Out of all 112 campuses statewide, Napa Valley College ranked fourth for its percentage of students completing vocational courses, with nearly 67 percent completing a degree, certificate, or transfer. Gibbs described this statistic as “pretty impressive for such a comparatively small school.”