Academic Commons


Achieving the Dream Colleges in Pennsylvania and Washington State: Early Progress Toward Building a Culture of Evidence

Jenkins, Paul Davis; Ellwein, Todd; Wachen, John; Kerrigan, Monica Reid; Cho, Sung-Woo

In 2003, Lumina Foundation for Education launched a bold, multiyear, national initiative called Achieving the Dream: Community Colleges Count, to help students stay in school and succeed. The initiative is focused particularly on students who have faced the most barriers to success, including low-income students and students of color. Initially, 27 colleges in five states joined the initiative; there are now over 80 institutions in 15 states. Participating colleges commit to using data to improve programs and services in ways that lead to increased student success — a process known as “building a culture of evidence.” Specifically, colleges mine transcripts and gather other information to understand how students are faring over time and which groups need the most assistance. Based on a diagnosis of the problems in student achievement, they design and implement strategies to improve academic outcomes. Participating colleges receive a $50,000 planning grant followed by a four-year $400,000 implementation grant, along with assistance from coaches hired by the initiative. This report describes the progress made by the 13 Pennsylvania and Washington State community colleges that comprise Round 3 of the Achieving the Dream initiative after planning and one year of implementation. The findings from this study will be compared with follow-up research that CCRC and MDRC will conduct in two years to evaluate the progress of the colleges at the end of the five-year project period.


  • thumnail for achieving-dream-pennsylvania-washington-report.pdf achieving-dream-pennsylvania-washington-report.pdf application/doc 885 KB Download File

More About This Work

Academic Units
Community College Research Center
Community College Research Center, Teachers College, Columbia University
Published Here
April 4, 2014
Academic Commons provides global access to research and scholarship produced at Columbia University, Barnard College, Teachers College, Union Theological Seminary and Jewish Theological Seminary. Academic Commons is managed by the Columbia University Libraries.