College Access & Persistence


College Access and Persistence

The School of Education has several faculty with expertise in college access and persistence. Find more about our research in college access and success here.

Thriving While Black
One Researcher Seeks Answers from Those Who Have Beat the Odds

Though African Americans make up more than 7 percent of high school graduates in California, less than 3 percent graduate eligible for admission to the University of California. In fall 2014, only 500 African and African American students were admitted to a UC campus.

PhD student and education researcher BernNadette Best-Green wants to know why.


CANDEL Alum Co-Authors Guidebook on Teaching Men of Color

Khalid Akil White (EdD ’14) has co-authored Teaching Men of Color in Community College: A Guidebook (by J. Luke Wood, PhD; Frank Harris III, EdD; Khalid White, EdD).

Research Paco Martorell

Study: Failing a Placement Exam Does Not Discourage College Enrollment
By Caralee Adams

Paco Martorell, assistant professor of education, is a co-author of a study that found high school students who are identified as in need of remediation are no less likely to enroll in college than students who score just above the remediation cutoff. “Does Failing a Placement Exam Discourage Underprepared Students from Going to College?” appears in the latest issue of Education and Finance Policy. See this story about the study in EdWeek.

News Michal Kurlaender

Obama’s Free College Plan Is No Panacea; Just Ask California
Op-Ed by Associate Professor Michal Kurlander and Jacob Jackson (PhD ’12)

Washington Post – January 28, 2014

President Obama’s proposal to make community colleges free is a valiant effort to address the rising demand for skilled workers throughout the nation and to improve college access for low-income students. As states consider his proposal, they would be wise to look to California. Our research in the state suggests that low tuition can put higher education within reach for many low-income students, but it is no panacea. Read more.

Michal Kurlaender is an associate professor of education and Chancellor’s Fellow at UC Davis. Jacob Jackson is a researcher at the Public Policy Institute of California.

News Steven Athanases

Steven Athanases Named to UC Faculty Engagement Council for Education Partnerships

Professor Steven Athanases has been named to the Faculty Engagement Council for Education Partnerships at the University of California Office of the President.The Council is charged with engaging and connecting faculty and graduate students in the areas of educational access and diversity.

They meet twice a year to advise UC’s vice provost for education partnerships on ways to promote and support graduate student research, award seed grants to graduate students, and identify annual research foci as well as serve as a liaison between the Office of the President and campus.

News Michal Kurlaender

Attending elite colleges benefits even those less academically prepared
Research by Professor Michal Kurlaender featured in article by Karen Nikos, UC Davis News Service

July 2013

University of California-eligible students with weaker high school grades and test scores typically fared about as well, after four years in college, as higher-ranking students who were admitted, according to a new University of California, Davis, study.

Research Michal Kurlaender

College-Ready in California
(Inside Higher Ed) Paul Fain - February 2013

Michal Kurlaender, associate professor in the UC Davis School of Education and Matthew F. Larsen, a postdoctoral teaching fellow in economics at Tulane University, recently released a study on how high school achievement tests can be good predictors of how students will fare in community college. The researchers also point out a “disturbing” achievement gap, with Latino and black students being less likely than their Asian and white peers to take and pass transfer-level college courses. And that the gap occurs even among students who performed well on their high school tests. Read Paul Fain’s article at Inside Higher Ed.

News Michal Kurlaender Paul Heckman

Focus Should Be on Attainment, Not Scores
Opinion: November 2012 Report on High School Graduation Rates

Federal and state leaders need to focus more on policies that improve educational attainment and college and career success and less on test scores

In November, the U.S. Department of Education released new high school graduation rates for each state, using what the department called a “common, rigorous measure.” The picture is bleak for California, which ranks 32 among other states in high school completion. More troubling are the persistent disparities between racial/ethnic groups; white graduation rate is 85 percent, whereas Latino and African American graduation rates are 70 percent and 63 percent respectively.

News Michal Kurlaender

Prof. Michal Kurlaender comments in story about the prevalence of remedial instruction at CSU
Article in Sacramento Bee, March 15, 2012

School of Education Professor Michal Kurlaender explained that colleges (both state and community colleges) are eager to see the new Common Core Standards in place in hopes that they will better align instruction in K-12 with higher education and improve college readiness among incoming freshman. Kurlaender is an expert on student readiness and success in higher education. Read the whole article here.

Assistant Professor Michal Kurlaender
Spotlight Michal Kurlaender

Michal Kurlaender

For Michal Kurlaender, conducting “research that matters” means tackling some of the most vexing and controversial problems in education: school desegregation and integration, access to college, and race.

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