January 27, 2003

See the complete study (a Word document format) for more information about the study methodology.

This is the first of what will be a regular column highlighting one Institutional Research (IR) study per News Bytes issue. The goal of this column is to inform more people about IR research so that they can make more effective decisions throughout the District. This first column will feature a study that provided early registration decision support.

Study Provides Early Registration Decision Support

De Anza College recently announced that it will move the dates of early fall registration for continuing students from May/June to August. A recent IR study conducted by Andrew LaManque, De Anza College researcher, provided valuable data and analysis to support this decision. This was a good example of how IR is used to make informed policy decisions.

Institutional Research & Planning (IR&P) conducted the research study on early fall registration at De Anza College, tracking registration transactions for the fall terms of 2000-2002 and jointly conducting a survey of fall 2002 early registration students with the De Anza Marketing Department. The primary purpose was to determine whether early registration students dropped more classes than other students.

The IR report listed the following points in support of moving the dates of fall 2003 early registration from May/June to August:

  • Students didnít have complete information in May/June and therefore dropped more courses than other students (see graph). This represented a cost to the District in reassigning waitlisted classes, and a cost to new and continuing students in terms of course availability.
  • Itís difficult to build a course schedule so far in advance of the event given changes to the economy, budget and faculty hiring.
  • The Records Office is in the middle of preparing for the summer quarter and therefore canít provide the best possible service during this period without hiring additional staff.
  • To the extent that students drop classes that they registered for during May/June, course-enrollment information used by college administrators for planning is inflated. In addition, non-continuing students may find this same inflated information when they make initial registration.

The study summary also listed the pros of leaving the registration in May/June. Based on the evidence outlined in the paper, and other considerations, De Anza College decided to change the dates of Fall 2003 early registration.

About IR

The IR function, led by the Office of Institutional Research and Planning (IR&P) in ETS, supports a ďculture of evidenceĒ through comprehensive information, data and research. College administrators, faculty and staff use these results for decision-making, planning, evaluation and reporting -- to maintain and continuously improve programs, processes and structures to better serve and educate students.