Education

Universities should use social credits to combine good student behavior with retention and success (Opinion)

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Student success and graduation progress are still a somewhat uncompromising challenge. In the past few decades, colleges and universities have developed interventions at every stage of the student’s academic life cycle, from first- and second-year coordinators to success centers’ professional teams and dormitory programming plans to attract students to participate in life. -Learning community.However, across the country, the six-year university graduation rate has remained at 60% Over the years, the graduation rate of black, Latino, and low-income students Still lower.

I believe that as a higher education professional, I have an unusual view of the potential problems that improve student success. Although I have a Ph.D., my educational experience is terrible to say the least. In 1994, when I graduated from high school, I was ranked 97th out of 104 people. I started my post-secondary education at a local community college because my only purpose in college was to play football. Six years later, I worked hard to get an associate degree.

The question remains, how did I get my bachelor, master and doctorate degree? The answer is simple: I want it. Yes, I got support, but I got support when I was struggling. As a young adult, my parents showed the importance of getting a college education through emotional and financial support, but I am still struggling.

Most of the research literature on improving student success focuses on identifying support mechanisms and environments that help or hinder students. The many barriers to college are well known, and as higher education professionals and policymakers, we must continue to work to eliminate these barriers. But our students must also want it, only about 60% of them really want it. The other 40% mainly spent a lot of money from themselves and all of us.

Don’t get me wrong: As you will see later in this article, I am not talking about low-income students who drop out of school due to lack of funds or the need to support their families or similar reasons. I also don’t think the other 40% should be forgotten, but the best solution for them is beyond the scope of this article.

Instead, my focus in this article is on the other 60%, and we must educate them as effectively as possible, lest students who really want a college degree continue to increase costs. If we consider how the Pareto principle applies to higher education, efficiency will be further magnified. In short, the Pareto principle is an economic law, which states that 80% of the effects are the result of 20% of the causes. In other words, 80% of our resources are spent on 20% of the student body.

Most higher education professionals—including myself, who have worked in the Residential Life Office for more than seven years—can prove that we spend a lot of time and resources dealing with student misbehavior. These behaviors are not affected by socioeconomic status, race or gender. Instead, they stem from a popular view that college experience is not a college experience without pranks. I haven’t talked to anyone my age, and they don’t have a story about going to a party in college. They certainly did not talk about full attendance or their excellent English literature professors or how they graduated in 3.5 years. Of course, except for my wife.

Popular media, such as movies Old-fashioned with Animal house, Beautify the college pranks, generations of people have been exposed to the behavior they expected when they were in college. Over time, higher education has paid more attention to alleviating bad behavior through the expansion of student affairs majors and the explosive growth of corresponding expenses.

I have been trying to change this statement and adjust the good student behaviors that lead to student success and help control costs. However, until 2019, Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang proposed a new idea that I think may help solve the behavioral problems that plague higher education. Yang proposed a social credit system in which citizens can earn, trade, or exchange social credit through good behaviors such as volunteering or helping neighbors. In a similar university system, students can earn social credits through good behavior, such as:

  • Participate in each course a certain number of times during the semester;
  • Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) before December 1;
  • Participate in diversity meetings;
  • Participate in leadership development programs or club activities;
  • Participate in student dormitory activities or student success seminars;
  • Participate in financial knowledge seminars or job fairs;
  • Volunteer to participate in activities through community development; or
  • Attended an office hour with their professor.

Colleges or universities that implement such social credit programs will have many opportunities to modify them. For example, it can initially set the number of social credits for attending a perfect course to 50, but then increase that number. The program can also provide on-site rewards for participating in certain activities. Administrators can send notifications to students on their mobile phones, and if they participate in such activities, the number of credits will double. Students who receive such messages can be randomly selected so that researchers can develop effective strategies to increase participation.

Faculty and staff can eventually participate in the program and earn social credits that can be exchanged for cash for teaching in non-traditional time. For example, they can offer a course that teaches them at 8 AM on Saturday morning, which may help alleviate the challenges of space utilization. Your imagination may generate more possibilities for exploration.

Even if the goal of such a program is to incentivize good behavior, your organization can impose penalties for certain bad behaviors. For example, is it unreasonable for minor students to deduct social credit for drinking? What if a student is taken to the hospital due to alcoholism? Colleges and universities run alcohol seminars for offenders, usually for a minimum fee-why not deduct social credits? (I can argue that deducting credits is a fairer method because it is more punitive to charge actual fees to students with low socioeconomic status.)

Ideally, students who behave positively will receive financial rewards to help reduce their total attendance costs. These students can redeem their social credits with cash or tuition discounts. Over time, as bad behaviors decrease, personnel and programming expenditures can be redistributed or reduced, thereby further reducing attendance costs.

Of course, implementing a social credit system has its own challenges. The biggest challenge is to expand the student affairs program through higher education bureaucracy and investment—not only in dollars, but also in people’s careers. However, although many managers insist on the fallacy of “if we have more money, we can create more projects to help students stick to it”, most of the funds spent on these projects over the years have not helped improve graduation rate.

The purpose of this article is not to be dismissive of the work of the student affairs majors, individuals dedicated to their majors, and the students they serve. In fact, these professionals will play a key role in helping the development and implementation of the social credit system. After being stuck in the same place for many years, this is just a request to try different things and add the social credit system to the market of ideas.

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