selection architectures in higher education: how students, courses, and programs of study come together

Monday May 20 2024 Noon - 1 PM PT

Session Leads

  • Leon Marbach, Stanford
  • Cait Hayward, Michigan
  • Rene Kizilcec, Cornell
  • Mitchell Stevens, Stanford

The courses and programs of study college students select are the building blocks of academic progress and degree completion. Yet academic selection is a complex phenomenon, especially under elective curriculums, common in the US, which present students with serial selection tasks as they move through academic time. This paper reviews prior work in this domain, notes its assets and limitations, and provides a conceptual framework for theorizing, observing, and modeling academic selection. We offer the idea of selection architectures: the scale and arrangement of selection tasks students must complete in order to obtain degrees. To fully understand and model academic selection, researchers must consider (a) the character of specific selection architectures; (b) how students navigate these architectures; (c) and how architectures are maintained and changed by academic planners. A cumulative science of academic selection can inform the design of postsecondary programs to improve transparency, efficiency and equity in course/program selection and degree completion.

leveraging institutional level data to improve college-to-career transitions

Thursday May 9 2024 Noon - 1 PM PT

Session Leads

  • Richard Arum, Irvine
  • Oded McDossi, Haifa
  • Faith Couts, Irvine
Understanding college student career exploration, preparation and job search behavior in relationship to college-career trajectories has been hampered by a dearth of observational data. At The University of California – Irvine, we found a way to bridge this gap. We leverage detailed student-level information from the Handshake career services platform to examine student career exploration, preparation, advising on internships, job searches, employer campus visits, career fairs, and job applications, and link these data with students’ administrative, learning management systems and survey data to capture student career development in college and its impact on initial forays into the labor market. The presentation will outline the project motivation, scope, data, and initial findings.

year up! advancing a movement for economic mobility

Monday April 22 2024 Noon - 1 PM PT

Session Lead

  • Brittany Motley, Year Up
In a landscape where the gap between the need for skilled talent and the availability of job opportunities is broad, Year Up stands out as a transformative force for economic mobility. For over two decades, this national nonprofit organization has served over 43,000 young adults—90% of whom identify as persons of color with training and opportunity— to connect to jobs that offer livable wages and opportunities for growth. Through an overview of Year Up’s innovative program model, this presentation will illustrate how the organization has achieved the highest wage gains among sectoral training programs as evidenced by robust evaluations setting a benchmark for success in job training and employment support. Motley also will discuss Year Up’s future directions, including its commitment to expanding its reach and deepening its impact through research in industry to ensure that our work is what employers are demanding. Many scholars and researchers are wondering what the most important components of sectoral trainings are to replicate in other settings. Year Up does not believe the answer is simple (i.e. we need technical skills training, wrap around student supports, and coaching); however, it does contend the piece that really differentiates its program is high-quality job placement.

systemic advantage has a meaningful relationship with grade outcomes in students’ early STEM courses at six research universities

Thursday April 11 2024 Noon - 1 PM PT

Session Leads

  • Sarah D. Castle, Idaho
  • Becky Matz, Michigan

Large introductory lecture courses are frequently post-secondary students’ first formal interaction with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. Grade outcomes in these courses are often disparate across student populations, which, in turn, has implications for student retention. This study positions such disparities as a manifestation of systemic inequities along the dimensions of sex, race/ethnicity, income, and first-generation status and investigates the extent to which they are similar across peer institutions.

what we can and what we do: how differences in opportunities and their navigation contribute to occupational stratification in Sweden

Monday February 26 2024 Noon - 1 PDT

Session Leads

  • Yann Renisio, CNRS/SciencesPo
  • Emil Bertilsson, Uppsala
  • Astrid Collsiöö, Uppsala

Social stratification arises from disparities in both the range of opportunities available to people and in how people navigate those opportunities. Yet the relative influences of these two dimensions are rarely observed, as most available information is limited to realized actions. We use the case of university admissions in Sweden to overcome this observational problem. Leveraging comprehensive register and archival data, we break down the cumulative impact of access and navigation differences on the production of gender and social background stratification in university programs of study with varying social outcomes. We show that: (1) In the aggregate, social background and gender exhibit significant cumulative and non-interactive influence on the array of attainable programs, favoring women and individuals from higher social-class backgrounds (2) There is a strong and interactive effect of gender and parents’ SES on the distribution of outcomes of reachable programs (2a) an increase in SES quintile has a systematically positive effect on the median social outcome for each gender, but the spread of this effect between the first and last quintile is twice larger among men than among women (2b) While there is a very large difference between the median social outcome of lower SES quintile of men and women, in favor of women, there is no difference between men and women of the highest SES quintile (3) The number of reachable programs explain most of the difference between applicants and non-applicants, as well as the difference between successful and non successful applicants (4) Net of the space of possible outcome, men of all SES quintiles navigate their possibilities towards higher social outcomes programs than women of all SES, with little to no secondary effect of SES, except for women of the highest quintile outperforming females from the lowest ones in the navigation of their possibles.

democratizing the hidden curriculum with program pathways maps

Thursday March 7 2024 Noon - 1 PDT

Session Lead

  • Craig Hayward, California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office

Hayward will present a demonstration of the Program Pathways Mapper, a tool for clarifying curricular pathways to transfer and completion, along with qualitative data from student and staff focus groups and quantitative data showing the impact of the program mapper on course selection at the initial institution (Bakersfield College). A difference-in-difference analysis of the student success metrics of the first twelve California colleges to implement the program mapper relative to 89 that had not yet begun implementation will also be presented as evidence that the program mapper is capable of “moving the needle” on important institutional outcomes.

curricular analytics at UERU

Thursday February 8 2024 Noon - 1 PDT

Session Leads

  • Steve Dandaneau, Colorado State
  • Greg Heileman, Arizona

Dandaneau and Heileman will provide an overview of the curricular analytics research program under the auspices of the Association for Undergraduate Education at Research Universities (UERU). The organization recently received a major grant from the Ascendium Educational Group for study of how curricular structures can inform faculty curriculum oversight and, through intentional data-guided structural reform, facilitate student learning and equitable student success.

person-level modeling of intent to enroll in higher education and training

Monday January 29 2024 Noon - 1 PDT

Session Lead

  • Seth Reichlin, CollegeAPP

Reichlin’s firm, CollegeApp, combined over 200,000 survey responses with commercially-available demographic, financial, employment, and lifestyle data on 241 million US adults.  CollegeApp used machine learning to score each US adult on their intent to enroll in higher education and training; their preference for which type of institution to attend; their preference for instructional delivery mode; and their motivations for enrolling.  Based on this research, Reichlin’s talk explores the geography of who intends to enroll in higher education and training programs.

wasted education: how we fail our graduates in science, technology, engineering, and math

Thursday January 18 2024 Noon - 1 PDT

Session Lead

  • John D. Skrentny, UC-San Diego

Despite billions of dollars invested in STEM education and employer claims of shortages of STEM graduates, only about a third of STEM graduates work in STEM jobs. This talk explores the reasons why, and how returns on STEM education can be improved. It offers an overview of Skrentny’s new book, Wasted Education: How We Fail Our Graduates in Science, Technology, Education and Math (Chicago, 2023).