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2011 Promising Practices
Senior college leaders actively support efforts to improve student success and are committed to achieving equity in student outcomes across racial, ethnic, and income groups. Administrators, boards of trustees, and faculty and staff leaders demonstrate a willingness to make changes in policies, programs, and resource allocation to improve student success. Schools included in this section are: Danville Community College, El Paso Community College and Phillips Community College at the University of Arkansas.
The college establishes processes for using data about student progression and outcomes to identify achievement gaps among student groups, formulates strategies for addressing the gaps identified and improving student success overall, and evaluates the effectiveness of those strategies. Schools included in this section are: Brazosport College, Tacoma Community College, and Yakima Valley Community College.
Faculty, student services staff, and administrators share responsibility for student success, and collaborate on assessing the effectiveness of programs and services and improving them. Other stakeholders with influence on student success (K-12 systems, community groups, employers, etc.) are included in discussions about student performance, desired outcomes, and potential improvement strategies. The college also gains valuable insight about ways to improve student success from students themselves through surveys, focus groups, and/or advisory councils. Schools included in this section are: Bunker Hill Community College, College of the Mainland, El Paso Community College, Northampton Community College, Galveston College, Delaware County Community College, Eastern Gateway Community College, and San Jacinto College.
The college establishes planning processes that rely on data to set goals for student success and then uses the data to measure goal attainment. The college regularly evaluates its academic programs and services to determine how well they promote student success and how they can be improved. Decisions about budget allocations are based on evidence of program effectiveness and are linked to plans to increase student success. Faculty and staff are afforded professional development opportunities that reinforce efforts that help to close achievement gaps and improve overall student success. Schools included in this section are: Community College of Allegheny County, Durham Technical Community College, Guilford Technical Community College, Northern Virginia Community College and Hillsborough Community College.
Developmental education courses are designed for enrollees who are underprepared for college-level work. These courses are also referred to as college-prep, transitional, and foundational education on some campuses. Colleges generally offer courses in math, reading, and writing. Colleges may offer up to three levels of remediation before students are eligible for college-level coursework. Schools included in this section are: Aiken Technical College, The Alamo Colleges, Houston Community College, Lee College, Montgomery County Community College, North Central State College, Roxbury Community College, Westmoreland County Community College, Zane State College, and Martin Community College.
First-Year Experience efforts are comprehensive approaches designed to improve success rates and increase retention of first-year students. FYE programs may include interventions focused on the streamlining admissions processes, increasing financial aid uptake, community outreach, student success courses, and targeted orientation and advisement. Schools included in this section are: Brazosport College, Cuyahoga Community College, Phillips Community College at the University of Arkansas, Southwest Texas Junior College, Tallahassee College, and Pulaski Technical College.
Student success begins in the classroom, so Achieving the Dream Institutions also implement strategies to improve pedagogical practices. Strategies aimed at improving the quality of the learning experience may include interventions targeted to gateway courses, employing active and cooperating learning practices, technology-supported, experiential and service learning activities. Schools included in this section are: Bunker Hill Community College, Highline Community College, Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College, Patrick Henry Community College, Renton Technical College, and Valencia College.
Keeping students in school - retention and persistence - is vital to student success. These retention and support services include wrap-around programs that are intended to address both academic and non-academic barriers to success. Strategies may include targeted advising practices, tutoring, counseling, mentoring, and early alert systems. Schools included in this section are: Coastal Bend College, Mountain Empire Community College, Northern Essex Community College, Norwalk Community College, South Texas College, Highline Community College, and Wayne County Community College District.
Achieving the Dream urges colleges to make a commitment to eliminating achievement gaps while improving outcomes for all students. Institutions examine their policies, practices, and institutional culture with the goal of reducing inequities that create barriers to success. To achieve high rates of success for all students, especially students who traditionally have faced the most significant barriers to achievement, institutions must have a student-centered vision, a culture of evidence and accountability, and a commitment to equity and excellence. Schools included in this section are: Capital Community College and Tacoma Community College.
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