Video Story: Pierce College, Advancing Student Success through Achieving the Dream’s ICAT

In 2016, Pierce College in Washington administered Achieving the Dream’s Institutional Change Assessment Tool (ICAT ), an online self-assessment that helps colleges determine their current level of capacity in seven core areas. A broad group of stakeholders, including representatives from the board of trustees, president’s cabinet, administrators, full-time and adjunct faculty, staff, and student success teams participated in the assessment process. Pierce College filmed the conversation among members of the college community and Achieving the Dream (ATD) Leadership and Data Coaches about the ICAT results. Known as a World Cafe, the structured conversation encouraged a wide-ranging discussion of the institution’s strengths, opportunities for improvement, and ideas for taking action. The video showcases the value of the ICAT and the ways ATD's Institutional Capacity Framework affects every aspect of the student experience from connection to completion.

“I think the ICAT will continue to help us to make changes in terms of making sure that we’re looking at everything from a broader scale. Is everything that we’re doing at the classroom level, and the department level, and the division level, is that rolling up to the institutional level? I think that is the greatest impact that the iCAT will have.”

-Erin Latoya, Arts and Humanities Coordinator

Achieving the Dream’s Role in Pierce College’s Path of Continuous Improvement

When Pierce College set out to advance on its path of continuous improvement, the college’s data revealed significant gaps in equity and achievement. The college turned to ATD for guidance. ATD’s ICAT assessment helped Pierce College strengthen its commitment to using data by encouraging an institution-wide dialogue about student success metrics. Through this conversation, Pierce College recognized that an analysis of institution-level data alone would not be sufficient to make significant strides in student success. As a result, the college began to provide faculty with direct access to their own data and the data of their colleagues as well as the ability to sort student achievement data by course, section, modality, timeframe, subsequent success, and a variety of demographic measures. To support faculty understanding and the use of this data, the college also provides frequent training workshops and opportunities to learn more about using data to inform action.

“I think a lot of colleges might say they’re interested in equity and they’re interested in closing achievement gaps … but they’re interested. I don’t see them actually putting the data out there and trying to measure it. ATD’s ICAT provides another way of assessing where we’re strong, where we know we’re doing well, and where some of the gaps are and what we need to do to address them.”

- Marty Cavalluzzi, Campus President

Pierce College and Achieving the Dream’s Institutional Capacity Framework

In order to strengthen an institution-wide approach to data analysis and student success metrics, Pierce College leverages ATD’s Institutional Capacity Framework as a way to organize performance in seven critical areas.

“Achieving the Dream’s ICAT helps provide an opportunity to look at seven very specific elements of how an institution functions and because of that framework, it allows you to look at how much capacity do we have in each of those? And then prompts you to be able to respond to the areas where you don’t have as much capacity to build it.”

- Matthew Campbell, VP of Learning and Student Success

ATD’s Institutional Capacity Framework is a comprehensive approach to addressing the emerging needs of colleges to improve success results for all students, especially low-income students and students of color. ATD’s framework helps Pierce College to enhance the student experience by using data to galvanize their improvement efforts. Since instituting the ICAT in 2016, Pierce College has already started to record student success developments through an overall improvement in student performance and the achievement gap.

“We needed help. We turned to Achieving the Dream and it has been the best decision we made. Achieving the Dream gave us direction, and it really helped take us to a place where we are very data-rich now.”

- Michele Johnson, Chancellor




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