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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Student Progress Toward Degree Completion: Lessons from the Research Literature
This report reviews the research literature on student success to identify intermediate outcomes, sometimes called “milestones,” along the college pathway that give students momentum toward degree completion. It points to academic behaviors and patterns that can be tracked to identify where and why student progress stalls and how changes to policies and practices might increase degree completion.
Crafting a Student-Centered Transfer Process in California: Lessons from Other States
his report tackles the difficult challenge of making transfer more comprehensible and less frustrating for California’s community college students. The study examines transfer policies of eight states, identifies some key dimensions of emerging policies, and offers recommendations for more student-centered transfer policies that would increase transfer success.
Moving Forward: Increasing Latino Enrollment in California’s Public Universities
This report examines issues of UC/CSU eligibility among under-represented minority high school students, with a specific focus on the growing Latino population. The report describes a simple model that can be used to estimate the impact of eligibility increases among Latinos. (click here to see the model).
Facing Reality: California Needs a Statewide Agenda to Improve Higher Education Outcomes
This report examines seven states that share California’s high rates of growth and demographic change to see what California can learn about how to improve access to and success in postsecondary education.
Invest in Success: How Finance Policy Can Increase Student Success at California’s Community Colleges
(click here for Executive Summary)
This report analyzes the degree to which state finance policies for the community colleges align with state priorities – such as access, completion and affordability. It concludes that there is considerable misalignment; therefore, funds are not invested as well as they might be to accomplish state goals. Alternative approaches to finance are explored, and a new approach is suggested to replace traditional (and ineffective) performance funding with “investing in success.”
Rules of the Game: How State Policy Creates Barriers to Degree Completion and Impedes Student Success in the California Community Colleges
This report finds low completion rates among degree-seeking students and identifies several areas of state policy that inadvertently create barriers to student success. It offers general recommendations for how changes to state policy in these areas can increase student success.
Diminishing Access to the Baccalaureate through Transfer: The Impact of State Policies and Implications for California
This report discusses the reasons behind a narrowing transfer pathway from community colleges to universities in California. It raises questions policymakers should consider in targeting scarce resources to generate the best educational outcomes for Californians.
California Community Colleges’ Leadership Challenge: A View From the Field
This report discusses the growing leadership challenge in the California Community Colleges, based on interviews with current administrators, trustees, and faculty leaders.