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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Graduation rates reveal disproportionate patterns based on gender and race

A study of Guilford’s 6-year graduation rates for the past 10 first-year class cohorts (1993-2002) for which data is available reveals a pattern of females graduating at a higher rate than males, black females consistently graduating at a higher rate than all men and at times white females, and black men generally graduating at a lower rate than white students and black females alike. Guilford’s Diversity Plan calls for quantitative and qualitative understandings of diversity in our community. Graduation and retention rates, while only one facet of statistical analysis regarding the success of an institution, are one window into the health of the academic and social fabric of the Guilford community.

Diversity Action Committee

The Diversity Action Committee (DAC) is currently engaged in research and is specifically focusing on student retention.

“The diversity action team is determined to make sure that we look after issues of diversity,” said Jordan Auleb, Community Senate treasurer and traditional student representative on the DAC, “and that Guilford is a culturally pluralistic place that celebrates different cultures and offers resources for students from different backgrounds.”

Auleb said that while the DAC works to implement quantitative or numerical goals in terms of diversity, their work and research is focused on qualitative goals that complement them.

“We are going to different units and doing research,” said Professor of Theatre Studies and DAC member, David Hammond. “We are examining what has been done and what each unit sees the challenges are so we can prioritize and then plan the action steps to be addressed in the next few years.”

While exploring graduation rates of black males, several areas need to be examined including the athletic department because according to Vice-President for Enrollment Services Randy Doss, it is common that the majority of black males come to Guilford as part of a sports team.

Doss said that of the 72 black students admitted in fall 2009, 38 were male and 34 were female, and that of the 38 males, 18 were on the football team and five more were a part of other sports. Twenty-three out of 38 entered as athletes.

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Director of Multicultural Education and DAC member Holly Wilson ’96 said that in order to implement the qualitative goals of the diversity plan, the DAC is not meant to police the community but to listen to concerns and ideas.

“As we meet with people, we will be listening and asking how can we help? What can we do?” said Wilson.

Auleb said that as outlined by the diversity plan, Guilford has a responsibility to ensure that services and resources are available to recruited students of all cultures, races and socioeconomic backgrounds.

“There is a difference between affirmative action and culturally pluralistic institution,” said Auleb. “It’s not just numbers. We are committed and need to be more committed to all students.”

The Data

The data was gathered from reports that were provided to the NCAA by the Guilford athletic department, information from registrars and from Vice-President for Enrollment Services Doss.

All sets of data were compared to each other to ensure consistency and accuracy.

According to Kent Grumbles, director of institutional research and assessment, “Whenever you see talk about graduation and retention rates in newspapers or anywhere, they are always talking about your first-time full-time freshman.”

Since this is the scale that is used nationally, the numbers that were examined represent all first-time full-time students in each first-year class, which excludes most CCE students.

“While there were lots of CCE freshmen in each entering class, most of them weren’t time first-time full-time students at Guilford,” said Grumbles. “That’s why there are very few of them who factor into the institution’s graduation rate.”

There were about one to five CCE first-time full-time students in each cohort, and they were included, along with traditional first-years in these calculations.

“The number of CCE students is so small that these numbers do not materially impact the statistics when looking at traditional students,” said Randy Doss.

The 6-year graduation rate of the class of 2003 has not yet been determined, and the data for the first-year classes entering in 2004-2009 cannot be gathered yet because six years have not passed since each class’s admittance. Therefore, the data of the cohort classes 1993-2002, is the most recent.

Six-year graduation data tracks the percentage of students who enter Guilford and graduate by the end of the sixth year since their admittance.

For instance, 55 percent of 330 students whom were admitted in the cohort class of 1993 graduated from Guilford by 1999, and 61 percent of 448 students whom were admitted in the cohort class of 2002 graduated from Guilford by 2008.

The only hole in data is that in the cohort class of 1996, three Blackwomen were admitted, but the rate at which they graduated was not reported to the NCAA; therefore, it is unknown whether their graduation rate is lower or higher than that of black males, who graduated at a rate of 43 percent.

Patterns and Challenges in Data Analysis

According to the data that explores the entering first-year classes of 1993-2002, white females have never graduated at a rate that was below Guilford’s average graduation rate for that year, while graduation rates of white males were consistently below the average, excluding the cohort class of 1993, where the total average was 55 percent, white females graduated at 59 percent and white males, at 58 percent.

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