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Good News But a Long Way to Go

This brief discusses the findings of a report from the American Association of Community Colleges titled, The Road Ahead: A Look at Trends in the Educational Attainment of Community College Students. The brief offers an analysis of the AACC report’s claims that the investments made in a community college education are “paying off” due to the higher increase in certificates and degrees awarded by community colleges than in total enrollment. While there is cause for celebration with respect to increases in enrollment and college completions, a closer look at the data shows some reasons for caution related to the prominence of short-term certificates among the increased awards and to minority rates of improvement that lag the improvement rate among white students.

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Highlights of Findings on Latino Student Success

This one-page brief highlights the findings regarding Latinos in California in the IHELP report, Divided We Fail: Improving Completion and Closing Racial Gaps in California’s Community Colleges. It was prepared at the request of Excelencia in Education to complement their series of reports on Latino college completion.

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Performance Incentives to Improve Community College Completion: Learning from Washington State’s Student Achievement Initiative

This policy brief, jointly produced by IHELP and the Community College Research Center (CCRC) at Columbia University, offers lessons to date about the Student Achievement Initiative (SAI), a policy adopted by the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges that draws on intermediate measures of student progress to reward colleges for improvements in student achievement. The brief examines policy choices that Washington faced in designing and implementing SAI, the choices that leaders in other states will confront when considering adopting performance incentive policies as a means to improve student outcomes.

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The Road Less Traveled: Realizing the Potential of Career Technical Education in the California Community Colleges

This report examines four high-wage, high-need career pathways in the California Community Colleges as a basis for exploring the career technical education mission and its role in the college completion agenda. The study found that the potential of CTE to help meet the state’s completion, workforce, and equity goals is not fully realized due to a lack of priority on awarding technical certificates and degrees and an absence of clear pathways for students to follow in pursuing those credentials. The report offers recommendations to strengthen the CTE function.

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Divided We Fail in LA: Improving Completion and Closing Racial Gaps in the Los Angeles Community College District

This report applies the approach used in Divided We Fail to the nine colleges of the Los Angeles Community College District. The study tracked the 2003-04 entering cohort of degree- and certificate-seeking students over six years, analyzing their progress along a series of intermediate milestones and completion outcomes by race/ethnicity. The report points out the risks posed by racial/ethnic disparities and offers recommendations for changes to policy and practice with a goal of improving student success, especially among underrepresented minority populations.

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Pathways to Success: Lessons from the Literature on Career Technical Education

This literature review analyzes evidence on the effectiveness of career-oriented education in high schools and community colleges and discusses the factors that promote successful educational outcomes for students enrolled in career-technical programs. It finds the literature scarce on career-technical education (CTE) student success and suggests that further research would help us better understand and strengthen CTE student and program outcomes to better meet the needs of the workforce.

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