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May 2010
What's Happening

Student Achievement Initiative Study
- The Community College Research Center at Columbia University is partnering with IHELP to evaluate Washington State’s Student Achievement Initiative (SAI) - a performance funding policy that draws on intermediate measures of student progress.  The evaluation is intended in part to draw lessons for leaders in other states who are considering adopting performance incentive policies for community colleges. The evaluation, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, will encompass data analysis and extensive interviewing of faculty and staff at 17 of the 34 Washington State community and technical colleges to determine SAI’s impact on efforts to improve student outcomes. IHELP researchers will also interview policymakers in Washington and three other states that are interested in adopting a performance incentive policy like Washington’s SAI.


Features This Month

by Degrees: A Framework for Increasing College Completion

This new report, produced by IHELP for The Education Trust, offers higher education leaders guidance on using data to monitor student progress and applying the results to inform changes in policy and practice to help more students earn degrees. The report describes a framework of milestones, or intermediate educational achievements that students reach along the path to degree completion, and on-track indicators, or academic and enrollment patterns that are related to a greater likelihood of graduation. The report uses data from the State University System of Florida and the California Community Colleges to demonstrate how the framework can be used in two-year and four-year institutions to diagnose where and why

students fall off the path to success and to make changes in policy and practice to increase degree completion. The Education Trust, working with the National Association of System Heads, will distribute the report to leaders of higher education systems across the country.
View the report

In case you missed it - Strategies for Improving Higher Education in California: Some Lessons from Florida for California's Higher Education Policy

This new policy brief examines the public higher education policies and practices of the state of Florida in order to determine possible lessons for California in its efforts to increase student success and degree completion. Florida was chosen for evaluation due to its large and diverse higher education system, the importance of community colleges in its higher education system, and its participation in national projects and education reform efforts. While Florida still faces significant challenges, some of the state’s policy approaches for public higher education warrant consideration in California’s quest for improvement -- specifically the comprehensive student data system, policies related to student transfer from community colleges, statewide Career Technical Education program standards, and standardized policies for assessment, placement and remediation.
View the report


Spotlight On

Achieving the Dream Initiative Report – Achieving the Dream, launched in 2004, is a multiyear, national initiative focused on providing states and system heads the necessary tools to help improve community college student success. The initiative, largely funded by the Lumina Foundation, is coordinated by Jobs for the Future, a non-profit organization aimed at identifying, developing and promoting new education and workforce strategies. Jobs for the Future (JFF) has worked with state and education leaders in the 100 colleges and 16 participating states to create a “student success policy framework” which emphasizes:

• A clear public policy commitment to student success
• A strong performance measurement and data-driven accountability system
• Assessment and placement policies that accelerate the progress of underprepared students
• Incentives to promote student persistence and completion, and
• Aligned expectations and transitions across educational sectors.

Jobs for the Future recently released a report outlining the progress the 16 states have made using the framework. Based on the report, a majority of the states have already adopted, or are in the process of adopting, these new policies, which center on community college student success, especially for underprepared and low-income students.

Click the links below to access the report and for more information on Achieving the Dream.

JFF report: Good Data. Strong Commitment. Better Policy. Improved Outcomes

Achieving the Dream Initiative


Sacramento State Institute For Higher Education Leadership & Policy

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