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Report Series: Student Success in the California Community Colleges

 

IHELP has worked to call attention to the California Community Colleges’ importance to the state as well as to the need for practice and policy changes to improve student outcomes and student success. Below are summaries and links to the Institute's series of reports on student success.

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.

Beyond the Open Door: Increasing Student Success in the California Community Colleges, August 2007
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.

Invest in Success: How Finance Policy Can Increase Student Success at California's Community Colleges, October, 2007
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."

It Could Happen: Unleashing the Potential of California's Community Colleges to Help Students Succeed and California Thrive, February, 2008
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This report integrates the work presented in the three previous reports 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.

Steps to Success: Analyzing Milestone Achievement to Improve Community College Student Outcomes, October, 2009
This 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.

Divided We Fail: Improving Completion and Closing Racial Gaps in California's Community Colleges, October 2010
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, November 2010
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