Project Succeed is a campus-wide initiative funded by the U.S. Department of Education. Its focus is to improve the 5-year graduation and retention rates and close the achievement gap for Under-Represented Minorities (URMs) across all majors at San José State University (SJSU). There are three major goals: strengthen SJSU’s core academic performance in retention and graduation; provide an improved supportive environment for URM students; and enhance the delivery and integration of academic and co-curricular support services.
For Fall 2015, newly matriculated students in the College of Business, College of Engineering, and Child and Adolescent Development Department (CHAD) were assigned schedules that included at least two shared classes with other students in their declared majors. A total of 1,272 new freshmen (37%) of the class participated in the block scheduling program. The block scheduling approach had a significant difference in student retention among engineering freshmen as compared to previous years and led to more retention of freshmen after one year. For students in the College of Business, the one-year retention rate for Fall 2015 freshmen was 88% compared to 87.4% for Fall 2014 freshmen. For students in the College of Engineering, the one-year retention rate for Fall 2015 freshmen was 90% compared to 87.5% for Fall 2014 freshmen. For CHAD students, the one-year retention rate for Fall 2015 freshmen was 90.3% compared to 81.4% for Fall 2014 freshmen. There was also a difference in the retention of URM students. In this paper, we will discuss the techniques and strategies used in block scheduling the engineering students in Fall 2015 and Fall 2016. Also, we will discuss the results of student opinion of block scheduling.
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