tc columbia

Improving Community College Institutional Performance

improving community college institutional performance

CCRC works with major initiatives—such as Achieving the Dream and Completion by Design—that aim to improve student outcomes by helping colleges use data to implement significant institutional changes. CCRC also studies system-wide reform models, including performance funding, to identify practices that increase student success across colleges.

CCRC researchers conduct analyses to understand the economic implications of the community college completion agenda and develop tools for measuring college costs and for examining revenue implications of policies aimed at improving outcomes.

What are the major institutional changes that might contribute to improved community college performance?

Achieving the Dream is a nationwide initiative in which more than 150 community colleges seek to improve student success by using data to inform institutional change. CCRC provided assistance to the initiative, helped to evaluate its effects, and conducted research on the “culture of evidence” model employed by the participating colleges.

The current method of measuring community college performance—calculating the percentage of first-time, full-time students who attain a credential in three or four years—excludes outcomes for many community college students. How should community college completion be defined and measured in order to convey a meaningful picture of institutional performance?

Policymakers have increasingly sought to generate better results from higher education institutions through performance funding, which involves tying funding to institutional performance on specified indicators. CCRC examines performance funding policies and their impacts in a multitude of states.

Increasing student success requires effective management at an institutional level. What characteristics and practices distinguish high-performing colleges and institutions?

CCRC has written a number of papers aimed at helping institutional researchers and others analyze data to develop a clear understanding of student progress and institutional performance.