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.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Community College Research Center
Community College Research Center, Teachers College, Columbia University
Published Here
April 4, 2014