Teachers College, Columbia University

Building a Culture of Evidence for Community College Student Success: Early Progress in the Achieving the Dream Initiative

By Thomas Brock, Davis Jenkins, Todd Ellwein, Jennifer Miller, Susan Gooden, Kasey Martin, Casey MacGregor & Michael Pih

In 2003, Lumina Foundation for Education launched a multiyear, national initiative called Achieving the Dream: Community Colleges Count, to help students stay in school and succeed. The initiative focused particularly on students who have faced the most barriers to success, including low-income students and students of color. Initially, 27 community colleges in five states joined the initiative.

Participating colleges committed to collecting and analyzing data to improve student outcomes—a process known as “building a culture of evidence.” Specifically, colleges analyzed student data, and from this work implemented strategies to improve academic outcomes. Colleges then evaluated their strategies and expanded effective ones, using data to guide budgeting and other institutional decisions.

This report describes the progress that the first 27 colleges made after one year of implementation.