In my higher-level seminars, the lowest grades for every assignment are always those of Hispanic students. These courses are taught 100% in Spanish, and you’d think that a lack of a language barrier would help but nope. Never.
Another very low-performing group are African Americans. However! I have noticed that if I provide a free language tutor, black students are massively more likely to use the tutor’s services and they begin to close the gap extremely fast. I had 3 black students who were flunking out at the beginning of the semester. I deployed the tutor, and now all three are at low to mid Bs. And that’s in only 6 weeks. At this rate, they’ll be at an A by December. This tells me that their problem was bad language instruction in high school. In the 12 years that I’ve worked here, I’ve had exactly one black student who came to us without being handicapped at the level of the basic language skills. And in 12 years, we have graduated 4 black students total. Take into account that 15% of our students are black, and you’ll see that this is disturbing.
According to my observations, absolutely nothing helps advance African American graduation rates like free tutors. I’m so happy I came up with the plan to assign a GA to be a free tutor full time. (She’s free for the students but we pay her a salary and cover 100% of her tuition. I’m not exploiting anyone.)
All of the money that’s wasted on an endless procession of Vice Provosts for diversity, when instead we could hire an army of tutors and help these students. It’s a crying shame to have so many black students who take on debt to go to college and then have to drop out while we blab endlessly about our commitment to diversity.