Differences in Texas community college certificate completion rates by ethnicity/race, gender, and institution enrollment
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Purpose The purpose of the first study within this journal-ready dissertation was to determine the extent to which ethnicity/race-based differences were present in Texas community college completion rates specifically within workforce certificate programs. Regarding the second study, the purpose was to determine the extent to which gender differences were present in the Texas community college completion rates specifically within workforce certificate (i.e., non-degree) programs. The purpose of the third study was to investigate the extent to which differences in enrollment size influenced the Certificate I and Certificate II completion rates among different ethnic/racial groups. Method In this causal comparative study, archival data from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board were analyzed to determine the extent to which differences were present in workforce certificate programs (i.e., Level 1 Certificate and Level II Certificate). Completion rate data also were collected regarding gender, ethnicity/race, and student enrollment. These student outcomes were analyzed for the 2005-2006, the 2010-2011, and 2014-2015 academic years. Findings The only ethnic/racial group to yield statistically significant results for Level I Certificate and Level II Certificate completion rates for all years analyzed were Hispanic community college students. They had the greatest percentage point growth in Level I Certificate and Level II Certificate attainment compared to the remaining ethnic/racial groups. The statistically significant completion rates for White students decreased by more than 10 percentage points for both credentials over the 10-year period. Male students represented the majority of Level I Certificate completers for nine of the 10 years associated with this study. The completion rates for male community college students increased to 56.75% by the 2014-2015 academic year. The percentage of male community college students who obtained a Level II Certificate credential steadily increased over the 10-year period; however, female students still represented the majority of completers (i.e., 58.70%) by the 2014-2015 academic year. Certificate completion rates for both credentials among Hispanic students gradually increased across all institution sizes between the 2005-2006 academic year and the 2014-2015 academic year. Meanwhile, the Level I Certificate and Level II Certificate completion rates among White students decreased across all institution sizes.