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All Publications

APRIL 2020

A Broken “Promise”? How College Promise Programs Can Impact High-Achieving, Middle-Income Students

This report builds off previous research on American Honors to look at the unintended consequences of college promise programs for the economic mobility of high-achieving, low-income students.


Public-Private Partnership: How and Why Six Community Colleges Loved and Left a For-Profit Partner

In this Innovative Higher Education article, the authors examine the development and dissolution of a partnership between a privately held firm and six community colleges, which had established honors programs with the goal of facilitating students' transfer to selective institutions.


The Role of Librarians in Guided Pathways Reforms

In this short essay, Shanna Jaggars (coauthor of Redesigning America's Community Colleges) and Amanda Folk (head of teaching and learning at the Ohio State Libraries) discuss how librarians' expertise could be harnessed to support guided pathways reforms.

MAY 2019

American Honors: The Life and Death of a Public-Private Partnership

In 2012, Quad Learning partnered with two community colleges to pilot American Honors, a program designed to help academically talented community college students overcome the challenges of transferring to more selective four-year destinations. This paper traces the components of the program's socially conscious theory of change and its for-profit business model, and the tensions between the two. 

APRIL 2018

Developmental Education: The Evolution of Research and Reform

This chapter reviews the structure and effectiveness of traditional developmental education and provides a history of first-, second-, and third-wave reforms and research on those approaches.


Are Community College Transfer Students “A Good Bet” for 4-Year Admissions? Comparing Academic and Labor-Market Outcomes Between Transfer and Native 4-Year College Students

Using detailed administrative data from Virginia, this journal article examines whether community college “vertical transfer” students who resemble “native four-year” students in their accumulated college-level credits and performance at their point of entry into the four-year sector perform equally well in terms of both academic and labor market outcomes.

JULY 2017

Understanding American Honors: Student Selection, Key Program Components, and Stakeholder Impressions

Based on a mixed-methods study at six colleges, this brief examines the domestic population served by American Honors; its key programmatic features; and community college student, faculty, and staff perspectives on the program.


Transforming the Community College Student Experience Through Comprehensive, Technology-Mediated Advising

This chapter examines the use of technology and other structural changes to encourage comprehensive advising reforms.


A Longitudinal Analysis of Community College Pathways to Computer Science Bachelor’s Degrees

This report investigates the national landscape of computer science students at community colleges in order to better understand student behaviors and institutional characteristics that support or hinder community college students’ efforts to attain a computer science bachelor’s degree.

JUNE 2016

When College Students Start Behind

This report for The Century Foundation's College Completion Series lays out the open questions on how to reform developmental education.

APRIL 2016

How and Why Does Two-Year College Entry Influence Baccalaureate Aspirants’ Academic and Labor Market Outcomes?

Using detailed administrative data from Virginia, this CAPSEE working paper examines how and why the community college pathway to a baccalaureate influences students’ degree attainment and short-term labor market performance.


Predicting Online Student Outcomes From a Measure of Course Quality

This paper introduces an online course quality rubric addressing four quality areas, and it examines the relationship between each quality area and student end-of-semester performance.


Examining the Earnings Trajectories of Community College Students Using a Piecewise Growth Curve Modeling Approach

This paper introduces a piecewise growth approach to analyzing labor market outcomes of students, and it discusses how insights gained from the approach can be used to strengthen econometric analyses of labor market returns.

APRIL 2015

Redesigning America's Community Colleges: A Clearer Path to Student Success

The authors of this book argue that to substantially increase student completion, community colleges must engage in fundamental redesign, and outline research-based strategies to help colleges achieve this goal.

APRIL 2015

What We Know About Guided Pathways

This practitioner packet summarizes evidence supporting the guided pathways reform model, describes how one college implemented guided pathways, and offers tips for getting started on guided pathways reforms.


Three Accelerated Developmental Education Programs: Features, Student Outcomes, and Implications

This study examines three developmental acceleration programs—two in English and one in math—and finds that accelerated students were more likely to complete the relevant college-level course within 3 years.


Adaptability to Online Learning: Differences Across Types of Students and Academic Subject Areas

This study examines how well students adapt to the online environment in terms of their ability to persist and earn strong grades in online courses relative to their ability to do so in face-to-face courses.

JUNE 2014

Simplifying Complexity in the Student Experience

This practitioner packet aims to help colleges identify areas where students struggle due to complexity in the academic decision-making process and devise low-cost solutions.

JUNE 2014

Redesigning the Student Intake and Information Provision Processes at a Large Comprehensive Community College

This working paper presents a case study of how one large, suburban community college planned and implemented a relatively low-cost redesign of its student intake and information provision processes.

MAY 2014

Accelerating the Integrated Instruction of Developmental Reading and Writing at Chabot College

This paper compares the academic outcomes of students at Chabot College who participated in an accelerated, one-semester developmental English course and those who enrolled in a two-semester sequence.

MARCH 2014

Choosing Between Online and Face-to-Face Courses

This article discusses community college students’ experiences with online and face-to-face learning and implications for community colleges.

MARCH 2014

An Examination of the Impact of Accelerating Community College Students' Progression Through Developmental Education

This journal article examines the impact of acceleration on access, performance, credit accumulation, and degree attainment at CUNY.


Democratization of Education for Whom? Online Learning and Educational Equity

This journal article examines recent research on online college coursework and discusses potential implications for postsecondary access and learning.


Examining the Effectiveness of Online Learning Within a Community College System: An Instrumental Variable Approach

Using an instrumental variable technique, the authors estimate the impact of online versus face-to-face course delivery on student course performance, as indicated by course persistence and final course grade.

MAY 2013

The Opposing Forces That Shape Developmental Education: Assessment, Placement, and Progression at CUNY Community Colleges

Based on a case study of the City University of New York's six community colleges, this publication identifies the conflicting motivations that shape developmental education reform efforts.


Characterizing the Effectiveness of Developmental Education: A Response to Recent Criticism

In response to a journal article questioning CCRC’s claims about the effectiveness of developmental education, this essay discusses methodological concerns and other issues that may be a source of confusion.


Acceleration Through a Holistic Support Model: An Implementation and Outcomes Analysis of FastStart@CCD

This report discusses the development of FastStart, its program features, and student perspectives, and it presents findings from a quantitative analysis of the FastStart math program.


Bringing Developmental Education to Scale: Lessons From the Developmental Education Initiative

The Developmental Education Initiative provided funding to 15 colleges to implement or scale up developmental reform strategies. This report examines the implementation of these strategies.


Online Learning in Community Colleges

This chapter reviews the literature on online learning in community colleges, focusing online course-taking patterns, performance in online versus face-to-face courses, and factors affecting online course performance.


New Evidence of Success for Community College Remedial English Students: Tracking the Outcomes of Students in the Accelerated Learning Program (ALP)

This paper presents the findings from a follow-up quantitative analysis of the Community College of Baltimore County’s Accelerated Learning Program (ALP).


Improving Developmental Education Assessment and Placement: Lessons From Community Colleges Across the Country

This paper describes a range of approaches to improving poor course placement accuracy and inconsistent standards associated with traditional assessment and placement practices at community colleges.


The Effectiveness of Distance Education Across Virginia's Community Colleges: Evidence From Introductory College-Level Math and English Courses

This study used a statewide administrative dataset to estimate the effects of taking one's first college-level math or English course online rather than face to face, in terms of both course retention and course performance.

MARCH 2011

Online Learning: Does It Help Low-Income and Underprepared Students? (Assessment of Evidence Series)

This review of the postsecondary literature on online learning suggests that online coursework hinders progression for low-income and underprepared students, explores why students might struggle in these courses, and offers suggestions on how public policy and institutional practice could be changed to improve online learning.

MARCH 2011

Online and Hybrid Course Enrollment and Performance in Washington State Community and Technical Colleges

This working paper investigates enrollment patterns and academic outcomes over five years in online, hybrid, and face-to-face courses among students who enrolled in Washington State community and technical colleges in the fall of 2004.


Introduction to the CCRC Assessment of Evidence Series

This paper summarizes findings from eight working papers (the Assessment of Evidence Series) that synthesized research on strategies for improving outcomes for community college students, and makes four broad recommendations based on these findings.


Online Learning in the Virginia Community College System

This study examines online course taking patterns among students in the Virginia Community College System, as well as retention and performance in online versus face-to-face courses, and subsequent educational outcomes.


A Model for Accelerating Academic Success of Community College Remedial English Students: Is the Accelerated Learning Program (ALP) Effective and Affordable?

This paper presents findings from a quantitative analysis of the Community College of Baltimore County's Accelerated Learning Program (ALP) for upper level developmental writing students.

JULY 2010

Effectiveness of Fully Online Courses for College Students: Response to a Department of Education Meta-Analysis

This paper demonstrates that a close analysis of the studies of online learning included in a Department of Education meta-analysis reveals no trend in favor of the online course mode.


Strategies for Promoting Gatekeeper Course Success Among Students Needing Remediation: Research Report for the Virginia Community College System

CCRC examined student characteristics, course-taking patterns, and other factors associated with higher probabilities that students who require remediation will take and pass gatekeeper courses.