Thursday, January 01, 2009

Interesting Numbers from Sac State Magazine

These numbers, from the Winter 2008 issue, are interesting to me:

29,011: Number of students enrolled in Fall 2008, the highest in Sac State history
2,623: Number of those students who are first-time freshmen.
59: Percentage of students who are female

The first number is fine. The second seems too small a proportion to me. Less than 10%?

The third number highlights a growing problem that begins at home and is exacerbated by our K-12 public education system. If "diversity" is such a big deal in our public universities, I'm compelled to ask: does the Sac State student body "look like" California? I don't think 59% of California is female.

You know what I'm saying, don't you? :-)


Ellen K said...

It has been my concern for awhile now that education was becoming centered around the idea of making schools more welcoming for girls at the expense of boys. All the warm, fuzzy group work is not conducive to the competitive learning styles demonstrated by most boys. Case in point, when my oldest son was in fourth grade, he fell in love with Jack London. He read as much of his work as he could find. That year his teacher insisted that the entire class read fairy stories. He hated them. He refused to do the work. I discussed this with the teacher and she cited all the evidence of improved learning for girls. She didn't care about how well boys did. So my son barely passed language arts, although he tested in the top ten percent. Across the board education has been skewed with improving female graduation rates. In the meantime, more boys are cited as learning disabled, more boys are at risk and more boys drop out. I am not sure at what point any of these things will really matter to the education literati. But by then it will be too late.

Anonymous said...

~10% first-time freshman seems a bit small to me, too, but it might not be quite as crazy as it seems.

From, ~5,000 students are postgrads, so they aren't first-time freshmen :-) From the same site, we have ~24,000 undergrads.

It is now common for a 4-year degree to take five or six years to complete, so maybe 20% of the undergrads are freshman. This gets us down to 4,800 freshmen.

Then ... we have re-entry students (no idea on percentage). If the students are re-entering, then they aren't *first* time freshman. Pick some arbitrary number to reduce the 4,800 by (maybe down to 4,400?).

And ... Sac State has 24% of its students as "part-time." If the *second* year as a freshman doesn't count as first-time (and I could see how it wouldn't), then if we figure that part-time takes 10 years to complete we can drop out ~4,400 number into the mid-3000s.

I still don't quite get to 2,600, but we aren't as far off as one might imagine. And some of my numbers above are awfully guessy (e.g. change the time-to complete from 5 years to 6 ...).

-Mark Roulo