Using ePortfolio to Improve Retention of Hispanic Students at a Predominantly Black College

By Janice Zummo, Rosalina Diaz and Rupam Saran

Medgar Evers College

This study investigates how technology is being used to improve the engagement of at­risk Hispanic students at a predominantly Black institution through the use of ePortfolio in a co-­curricular context. Historically, attrition rates for Hispanic students at Medgar Evers College of The City University of New York have been high. In 2009, 5.6% of incoming freshman students were Hispanic. By Spring 2010 that number had dropped to 2.5%. Recently, concerned faculty have concentrated on improving Hispanic student engagement. In Fall 2010, the Education Department and the Association for Latino Studies Student Club (ALAS) were among a small group who participated in an ePortfolio pilot project focused on improving engagement, fostering integrative learning, and encouraging personal development through reflective writing. Preliminary findings indicate that Hispanic students’ connectedness to the College increased after participation in this project.

Alma y Pueblo: Educational Disparity of Caribbean Latinas in NYC

By Rosalina Diaz

Medgar Evers College

Recent statistical data reflects a consistent and alarming disparity regarding the educational attainment rates of Puerto Ricans, in relation to other Caribbean Latino groups. According to a 2010 Policy Brief, “Puerto Ricans face the greatest challenges of all youth sub-groups living in NYC.” The situation is further exacerbated for Puerto Rican women by higher than average early pregnancies, resulting in greater incidences of poverty and single parent households. My comparative research study, involving Cuban, Dominican and Puerto Rican women was unique in that it focused on intra-cultural diversity, and, not only produced new disaggregate comparative data on the educational achievement of distinct Caribbean Latino groups in New York City schools, but focused attention on the circumstances and strategies employed by Puerto Rican “outliers” that contributed to their academic and professional success, in hopes of providing a blueprint that might benefit educators, curriculum designers, and educational support personnel in working with Puerto Rican youth, as well as other similarly disenfranchised populations.