Divided We Fail: Improving Completion and Closing Racial Gaps in California's Community Colleges
IHELP’s newest report, sponsored by the Campaign for College Opportunity, analyzes the outcomes of degree-seeking students in the California Community College system. The study tracks more than a quarter of a million 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 to the entire state 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. The recommendations include coordinating a systemwide effort to analyze cohort data on enrollment patterns and student progress and the adoption of a new funding model for the community colleges.
Divided We Fail in LA: Improving Completion and Closing Racial Gaps in the Los Angeles Community College District
IHELP's newest report was sponsored by Alliance for a Better Community, a nonprofit organization dedicated to enhancing opportunities for Latinos to ensure the well-being of the Los Angeles region. It applies the approach used in our recent report, Divided We Fail, to the nine colleges within the Los Angeles Community College District. The study tracks the 2003-04 entering cohort of degree- and certificate-seeking students (more than 18,000 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.
Taking the Next Step: The Promise of Intermediate Measures for Meeting Postsecondary Completion Goals
This new report, sponsored by Jobs for the Future and written by IHELP Research Specialist Jeremy Offenstein and IHELP Director Nancy Shulock, examines system, state and multi-state efforts and multi-institution initiatives to develop and use intermediate measures of student success as a tool to improve accountability and guide institutional efforts to improve student success. The report distinguishes between milestones that must be attained in order to get to completion and success indicators that increase a student’s chances of completion. The report analyzes the differences in approach, definitions and uses of the data on intermediate measures and offers recommendations on the collection, reporting and effective use of the data and the need for common practices and definitions.
Advancing 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.
Strategies for Improving Higher Education in California: Some Lessons from Florida for California's Higher Education Policy
This newest policy brief, sponsored by the Campaign for College Opportunity, 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.
Student Flow Analysis: CSU Student Progress Toward Graduation
The above is a linked excerpt of the IHELP report to the California State University as part of its one-year planning grant from the Lumina Foundation’s Making Opportunity Affordable project. The report studies the 23-campus system’s efforts to improve graduation rates, analyzes systemwide data on student progress toward degrees, and makes recommendations for future steps. IHELP researchers drew on their previous work on student success in Steps to Success in order to use the “milestone” framework to analyze student patterns of progress toward completion.
Pathways to Success: Lessons from the Literature on Career Technical Education
IHELP’s newest report is part of a project supported by a grant from The James Irvine Foundation to identify policies and practices that could increase student success in certain career pathways through the California community colleges. 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.
Steps to Success: Analyzing Milestone Achievement to Improve Community College Student Outcomes
IHELP’s newest report offers a framework, based on the research literature, for guiding educators in using available knowledge and tools to improve student outcomes. Using data for the California Community Colleges, the report illustrates the framework, which consists of milestones, or intermediate educational achievements that students reach along the path to degree completion, and indicators of success, or academic patterns students follow including remediation, gateway courses, and credit accumulation. The report shows how the framework can be used to diagnose where and why students fall off the path to success, to suggest appropriate interventions, and to improve accountability in community colleges.
Community College Student Outcomes: Limitations of the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and Recommendations for Improvement.
IHELP’s report on the IPEDS analyzes the value and effectiveness of the system for understanding student outcomes in community colleges. The report discusses the system’s shortcomings such as the limitation of the graduation rate data to full-time students, the difficulty in discerning student intent in order to report on the appropriate outcomes, and the limitations for using the data to make comparisons across colleges. Recommendations are made for improving the data collected and for better use of the data.
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 have been found to predict student progress and success that can, therefore, be tracked to identify where and why student progress stalls and how changes to policies and practices might increase degree completion. The report was prepared as background for upcoming reports on milestone achievement among community college and university students.
Crafting a Student-Centered Transfer Process in California: Lessons from other states
This 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 and lead to more college educated Californians to help meet workforce needs.
It Could Happen: Unleashing the Potential of California's Community Colleges to Help Students Succeed and California Thrive
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This report integrates our work over the last year on how to increase student success. It proposes a specific agenda for policy change that could lead to significant and lasting increases in student success.
Moving Forward: Increasing Latino Enrollment in California's Public Universities November, 2007
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)
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."
Beyond the Open Door: Increasing Student Success in the California Community Colleges
(click here for Executive Summary)
This report provides detailed analyses of factors related to student success, connects those factors to state and institutional policies, and offers recommendations for policy reforms. It includes a qualitative analysis of the CCC assessment and placement process.
Rules of the Game: How State Policy Creates Barriers to Degree Completion and Impedes Student Success in the California Community Colleges, February 2007
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.
Diminished Access to the Baccalaureate for Low-income and Minority Students in California: The Impact of Budget and Capacity Constraints on the Transfer Function, May 2005
This article was published in the journal Educational Policy (vol. 19, no. 2)
Effect of Racial/Ethnic Composition on Transfer Rates in Community Colleges: Implications for Policy and Practice, September 2004
This article was published in the journal Research in Higher Education (vol. 45, no. 6)
Ensuring Access with Quality to California Community Colleges, May 2004
The Institute was a contributing author to this report published by the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education. The report integrates enrollment projections for community colleges with in-depth interviews with educators, analyzes the scope of current access problems, and makes recommendations aimed at avoiding even greater problems over the next decade.
Diminishing Access to the Baccalaureate through Transfer: The Impact of State Policies and Implications for California, April 2004
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.
Capacity Constraints in California's Public Universities: A Factor Impeding Transfer?, September 2003
This report examines the issue of capacity constraints in California's public universities, and whether limited capacity is a factor impeding the success of the community college transfer function.
California Community College Transfer Rates: Policy Implications and a Future Research Agenda, February 2003
This statistical study identifies factors that explain observed differences in transfer rates among California's community colleges.