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How to Measure Community College Effectiveness in Serving Transfer Students

By: John Fink & Davis Jenkins


How to Measure Community College Effectiveness in Serving Transfer Students

While many students who start at a community college intend to transfer and complete a bachelor’s degree, most of them are not successful. One of the impediments to improving outcomes for these students has been the lack of widely available measures of institutional effectiveness in serving transfer students. In this guide, the authors provide instructions for community colleges that want to use National Student Clearinghouse (NSC) data to measure their effectiveness in serving transfer students. To do so, colleges will need to access both NSC enrollment and degree file data on their students.

Part 1 of this guide—based on methods used by the same authors in Tracking Transfer—explains how community colleges can assess their own overall effectiveness in helping students to transfer and complete bachelor’s degrees. Part 2 shows how colleges can go on to evaluate the effectiveness of transfer partnerships with their top receiving four-year institutions.

This guide accompanies another publication—Tackling Transfer: A Guide to Convening Community Colleges and Universities to Improve Transfer Student Outcomes, by the Aspen Institute, CCRC, Public Agenda, and Sova—which illustrates how these metrics can be used to support institutional improvement of transfer outcomes.

The metrics described in this guide can serve as useful tools to examine what practices facilitate or impede effective transfer. Therefore, calculating these metrics on a periodic basis, comparing them with state and national benchmarks, and sharing them with faculty, advisors, and others can play an important role in efforts to improve bachelor’s degree outcomes for community college students.

Associated Project(s):

Tackling Transfer