Achieving the Dream Database
In addition to analyzing data from institutional systems, participating colleges contribute data to a longitudinal (multi-year) national database. The Achieving the Dream Database provides a mechanism to collect data on cohorts of students attending a participating Achieving the Dream college for the first time. Only students who seek a credential (a degree or a certificate) are tracked. Unlike the Department of Education database, IPEDS, the Achieving the Dream Database tracks both full-time and part-time students.
Each fall, participating colleges provide student record data (with unique, non-Social-Security Number identifiers) on new cohorts of entering students as well as data on prior year cohorts. The Achieving the Dream Database includes the following data elements:
- Demographic data – sex, age and race/ethnicity;
- Zip code – to create a proxy for socioeconomic status;
- Academic preparation (if available) – high school diploma, GED or other; date of receipt of high school degree; admission test result; remediation referral status; previous college credits transferred; previous postsecondary degree or certificate;
- Student performance – number of credits enrolled and completed each semester, developmental education enrollment and completion each semester, gateway course enrollment and completion each semester (e.g., college algebra or college English) and grades each semester in developmental education and gateway courses;
- Financial aid – application and receipt status first semester only, total amount of grant aid and loan aid by source each semester;
- Outcomes – degree or certificate attainment, transferred to other college
The data collected in the Achieving the Dream Database emphasize key measures of student success – outcomes in developmental courses, outcomes in gatekeeper courses, persistence, and graduation. Student outcomes can be further analyzed by race, ethnicity, and other student characteristics.
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