Community college uses coaching to boost overall retention by 18%

New case study shows impact of coaching and capacity building on student support

Illinois Central College (ICC) was looking for a way to provide a higher quality of student support and greater student impact. So in late 2019, backed by Title III funds, they partnered with InsideTrack on a four-year program that would enact a long-term academic redesign and utilize coaching to transform their work with students.

Phase I: Retention coaching during the height of the pandemic

The partnership kicked off with a year of direct one-on-one coaching, designed to increase student retention in specific ICC-targeted student populations. Launched in January 2020, the program was just a few weeks in when the entire nation — including the three ICC campuses in Illinois — shut down for COVID-19. Overnight, students had to return home and begin attending classes entirely online. Retention coaching became even more important, as colleges across the country were losing students with each new term.

InsideTrack coaches helped students navigate the ever-changing situation caused by the COVID-19 shutdown in real time. Student challenges ran the gamut from managing school, transitioning to online learning and the loss of an in-person school community to financial stress, work challenges and trouble finding time and space for studying at home. Day after day, coaches connected with their students using emails, phone calls, text messages and Zoom chats. The result?

  • 33% increase in retention among African-American students who received coaching 
  • 23% increase in retention among part-time students who received coaching
  • 20% increase in retention among developmentally placed students who receive coaching
Spring-to-spring persistence among students receiving coaching grew 18% vs. non-coached students. 

Phase II: Capacity building provides increased student support from within

During 2020, as direct student retention coaching was happening, the ICC student advising team went through InsideTrack Foundational Coach Training. Additional long-term trainings — including Coaching Quality Development, Coach Certification, Trainer and Observer Certification, and a Manager Development Program — are in progress and will continue throughout the duration of the four-year partnership. The goal is for ICC academic advisors and staff members to be able to utilize coaching to transform their work with students, enabling them to provide higher quality support and greater student impact. How is it working so far?

14.7 percentage point improvement in ICC student satisfaction after the Year 1 redesign.

A partnership for transformational impact

As the four-year partnership continues, the focus on training and development will deepen to ensure that ICC can sustain the impact on student success beyond the program. Discover more.


 

Read the Illinois Central College Study

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