Arkansas' "educational culture" not reflected in stats

(June 2, 2004) — (Little Rock-AP) -- Leaders of the state's colleges and universities are worried reports to the Legislature about student performance may be skewed. They say Arkansas has an educational "culture" in which students often drop out, then re-enroll - blurring retention and graduation rates. Charles Dunn, president of Henderson State in Arkadelphia, told members of the Arkansas Department of Higher Education's Executive Council that's why traditional measures may not be as useful in identifying areas of success and failure in the state's higher education system. Ron Harnell, the department's associate director for institutional research, presented the council with 43 statistical topics to be measured and reported to the Legislature under new legal requirements. Eventually, legislators can use the data to determine what programs to fund.