Title

Yes They Can: Supporting Bachelor Degree Attainment for Early Childhood Practitioners

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2014

Abstract

As part of a longitudinal study, the authors interviewed 73 nontraditional students regarding their perceptions of the challenges experienced and supports received as they returned to school to earn bachelor’s degrees. All participants were working in the early care and education field. Interviewees perceived the cohort structure of their B.A. program as important to their academic success; this positive assessment increased over time and continued after graduation. A majority reported that program services such as financial assistance and the scheduling and location of classes were critically important throughout their participation in the degree programs. In contrast, academic and technological challenges reportedly decreased over time, and thus students’ need for support such as tutoring, counseling services, and technology assistance decreased. Many students whose primary language was not English reported relying on English-language assistance throughout their school experience even when they perceived English academic work to be increasingly less challenging. These findings suggest that those who design and implement programs to assist degree attainment should invest in academic supports at the beginning of the program while other supports, including financial assistance, the schedule and location of classes, and the cohort itself, are critical throughout students’ educational experience.