UH testing computer program to boost graduation rates

UH testing computer program to boost graduation rates

MANOA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The University of Hawaii is testing a new computer program designed to help students pick the classes they need to graduate on time.

The program comes as UH is getting national recognition for its 15 to Finish campaign, which encouraged students to take 15 credits a semester in order to graduate in four years.

The campaign is credited with bolstering the four-year graduation rate at UH-Manoa, from 20 percent in 2012 to more than 28 percent in 2015. The six-year graduation rate at UH-Manoa is 57 percent.

The new computer program is aimed at building on that success by guiding students to the classes they need for their majors.

The Graduation Pathway System is being tested by about 1,000 students at Honolulu Community College, and will be rolled out to all UH by spring 2017.

It amounts to a guided registration process, UH officials say.

"They'll get a dropdown menu telling them which courses they should take if they want to proceed on the most rapid path," said UH-Manoa Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Reed Dasenbrock. "GPS doesn't make you go a certain route. It just tells you what is the fastest way to get there."

He said the system will also help the school to better anticipate demand, allowing officials to add another section if a class fills up.

Students said they support efforts to get them to graduation day quicker.

"If I had a clear shot, I could probably do it in four (years), but five looks like the pace for me," said sophomore Darren Clift.

Freshman Kiana Pang said she's taking 15 credits a semester. "I'm doing summer school as well," she said.

If the rollout of GPS is successful, UH might also move forward with a proposal called the Manoa Graduation Promise, which would be a guarantee of sorts to students that the courses they need will be available.

"We believe we're very close to this, but we're not all the way there," Dasenbrock said.

The proposal is being reviewed by stakeholders, including faculty and student groups. University officials expect to make a decision this summer about whether to implement the plan.

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