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Sierra College stands out among peers

Sierra College students outscored their peers at other California community colleges in a number of key areas, according to a recent state report.

More Sierra College students stayed enrolled at the school, passed and improved in basic skills courses than students at some other state community colleges, according to the 2010 Accountability Report for the Community Colleges.

The college, with campuses in Grass Valley and Truckee, was moved into a higher-performing group of 18 peer schools based on high scores from previous years. It is now measured against schools including Pasadena and Santa Barbara city colleges and Orange Coast College.



“We definitely cleared the bar with flying colors. It was impressive to see us consistently being either right there with or ahead of our peer group,” said Trustee Aaron Klein, who represents part of Nevada County on the Sierra College board.

More students – 72 percent – who started Sierra College in fall 2007 returned in fall 2008, compared to 69 percent in the peer group.




More than half of the school’s students – 58 percent – improved in basic skills or remedial courses, compared to 42 percent in the peer group.

“It’s hard to say exactly what the cause for that is,” said Rachel Rosenthal, vice president of instruction at Sierra College. “But we’ve put some fantastic support services in place to increase our student’s engagement with each other and our faculty members.”

Sierra College came up just behind its peers in the proportion of enrolled students who earned a degree or certificate or who transferred to a four-year college; 57 percent of students achieved that goal, compared to 60 percent in the peer group.

“One of the things we’re working on is increasing the number of students who are transfer-prepared,” Rosenthal said. “We’re trying to align our curriculum with the four-year colleges to create a pathway for students to transfer more easily.”

To contact Staff Writer Kyle Magin, e-mail kmagin@theunion.com or call (530) 477-4239.


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