The editorial "More Students, Fewer Degrees" {July 21} concluded that the diminishing numbers of degrees awarded at community colleges indicates that "the trend is running in the wrong way." This conclusion fails to consider the multiple ways of measuring success at community colleges. At four-year colleges the goals of the students and their success may be reflected in the percent of students successfully obtaining degrees, but this is not as true for community-college students.

As a faculty member in the psychology department of a community college, I have found that the majority of my students transfer to four-year colleges after successfully completing about two years of studies at the community college, but do not earn degrees at the two-year level. They believe it is unnecessary, since their goal is to obtain a BA or a BS or occasionally post-graduate degrees, and they are attending community colleges to fill in gaps in their education, to prepare for various vocational goals or for general enrichment.

The editorial described "transfer students" as degree oriented and vocationally oriented students as not degree oriented. I believe that it is the transfer students who are not interested in the AA degrees and the vocational students who are more likely to be. The transfer students are degree oriented, but it is the BA, BS or post-graduate degree that they are aiming for.

In order to evaluate the success of the community college for students, we must look beyond the awarding of the AA degree and see how well they do in their transfer college, how many of our students earn BA or BS degrees, how many go on for further professional degrees or training, how adequately their studies prepare them for their future vocations and how well the courses they have taken at the community college have met their individual needs and goals.