Teachers College, Columbia University

Achieving the Dream Colleges in Pennsylvania and Washington State: Early Progress Toward Building a Culture of Evidence

By Davis Jenkins, Todd Ellwein, John Wachen, Monica Reid Kerrigan & Sung-Woo Cho

In 2003, Lumina Foundation for Education launched Achieving the Dream: Community Colleges Count, an initiative focused on improving college persistence and completion, particularly for low-income students and students of color.

Participating colleges committed to using data to improve programs and services in ways that lead to increased student success—a process known as “building a culture of evidence.” Specifically, colleges mined transcripts and gathered other information to understand how students were faring over time and which groups needed the most assistance. Based on a diagnosis of the problems in student achievement, they designed and implemented strategies to improve academic outcomes.

This report describes the progress made by the 13 Pennsylvania and Washington State community colleges after planning and one year of implementation.