Achieving the Dream Expands Community Colleges’ Use of Student Progress and Completion Data

Funds from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to Increase ATD Colleges’ Data Capacity

Silver Spring, MD (December 11, 2019) – Achieving the Dream (ATD) will make better data on student progress and completion available to ATD Network colleges with the support of a $540,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The grant will support colleges in learning to gather and report additional metrics associated with student success and improve the quality of the data reports and dashboards provided to the colleges to promote data-informed decision-making. The effort increases ATD’s participation in the Postsecondary Data Partnership (PDP), an effort to facilitate better outcomes for all students by helping colleges capture and use more comprehensive data about student progress, early momentum, and degree completion while creating efficiencies and reducing duplicative data submissions at the state and national levels.

“We are thrilled to receive a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help us move Network colleges even closer to having the data they need to make changes that support students in earning more credits, completing gateway courses, and developing momentum toward completion,” said ATD President and CEO Dr. Karen A. Stout. “We are already working closely with the National Student Clearinghouse, a key partner in the Postsecondary Data Partnership, so this is a natural expansion.”

The National Student Clearinghouse, the PDP’s lynchpin, is working to increase its capacity to collect, verify, and report back to colleges an expanded set of data in easier-to-use formats that could inform new or improved practices directly focused on student needs. Most postsecondary institutions, including many institutions in the Achieving the Dream Network, already report basic student-level data on metrics such as student enrollments and degree completions to the Clearinghouse. The PDP requires colleges to submit two additional files to the Clearinghouse which will yield eight key performance indicator reports on enrollment, gateway course completion, credit accumulation rate, credit completion ratio, outcome completion, retention/persistence, credentials conferred and time to credential.

Achieving the Dream already had made efforts to reduce the number of data submissions by colleges in its national Network through an agreement it signed with the National Student Clearinghouse in 2015 that allowed data ATD colleges already submitted to the Clearinghouse to be used to meet ATD’s accountability requirements.

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Achieving the Dream (ATD) leads a growing network of more than 220 community colleges committed to helping their students, particularly low-income students and students of color, achieve their goals for academic success, personal growth, and economic opportunity. ATD is making progress in closing academic achievement gaps and accelerating student success through a unique change process that builds each college’s institutional capacities in seven essential areas. ATD, along with nearly 75 experienced coaches and advisors, works closely with Network colleges in 41 states and the District of Columbia to reach more than 4 million community college students.

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