Human resource development of Hispanic students in a large Hispanic-majority community college in south Texas: student entry characteristics as predictors of successful course completion and retention in face-to-face and distance education



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Hispanic student success within community colleges is critical to our future national economy and as such, was pertinent to this Human Resource Development (HRD) research. In this ex-post-facto study, the researcher examined the student entry characteristics of 2,523 Hispanic entering freshmen enrolled anytime between Fall 2000 and Fall 2005 who attempted History, English Composition, or College Algebra for the first time in either face-to-face or distance education courses at South Texas College. The following student entry characteristics of the Hispanic students in the study population were examined for their impact on successful course completion and retention: age, country of elementary education, custody of minors, disabilities, English as a second language, gender, high school diploma type, high school GPA, hours of employment, income level indicators, intent to continue employment, intent to transfer, intended length of enrollment, marital status, number of credit hours, parents? education, participation in workforce programs in high school, reason for attending, recent migrant work, resident status, and veteran status. The resulting profile of Hispanic distance education student characteristics was found to be similar to common characteristics noted in the literature for other distance education non-Hispanic populations. Furthermore, the researcher identified significant student entry characteristics for predicting the risk of failing to successfully complete courses or to re-enroll. Finally, the researcher provided suggestions for further research regarding Hispanic student performance and success in higher education as a responsibility of the work of Hispanic human resource development within community colleges. This study provides empirical findings related to the student entry characteristics construct found in current theoretical models of retention in commuter institutions of higher education. The researcher recommends expanding this research to other elements of theoretical models of student departure such as the external environment and the internal campus environment. Doing this will support the further refinement and development of the theory and confirm its applicability to local institutional populations.