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Community College Success: Is It a Path to Opportunity? PDF - This issue of the Progress of Education Reform looks at the latest research on student success in community colleges and offers insights on the strategies that show the most promise in promoting greater educational attainment for community college students. (Bruce Vandal, The Progress of Education Reform, vol. 9, no. 5, Education Commission of the States, September 2008)...

The Progress of Education Reform: Developmental Education PDF - This issue of The Progress of Education Reform will address the following three questions: 1. What are the challenges that developmental education programs face that affect their success? 2. Are developmental education programs an effective strategy for increasing college attainment rates? 3. How can state policy improve the success of developmental education programs? (ECS, March 2008) ...

The Progress of Education Reform: Economic and Workforce Development PDF - One strategy for addressing the misalignment among postsecondary education, state workforce development programs and state economic development strategies is to create career pathways programs at community colleges where students are able to enroll in a defined track of coursework that leads to jobs in high-demand fields within a state or region. This issue of The Progress of Education Reform reviews four reports developed by the Workforce Strategy Center that make the case for states to implement policies that support the use of career pathways to increase college completion, and contribute to state and regional workforce demand. (Chris Spence, Education Commission of the States, August 2007)...

Community Colleges and Teacher Preparation: Roles, Issues and Opportunities PDF - The role of community colleges in preparing the next generation of teachers in U.S. classrooms continues to evolve. In many states, community colleges are becoming critical leaders in efforts to develop a pool of highly effective teachers for states and regions that have demand which far exceeds supply. The result of a meeting between ECS and the National Center for Teacher Transformation, this paper describes a variety of forces in education policy and reform that are providing an important context to the role of community colleges in teacher education. The paper articulates how community colleges can capitalize on their unique attributes as responsive institutions that serve a diverse population of students to meet critical workforce demand in local and regional communities and positively impact the field of teacher education. (Tricia Coulter and Bruce Vandal, Education Commission of the States, May 2007)...

Keeping America's Promise: A Report on the Future of the Community College PDF - Community colleges are the critical access points of higher education and economic opportunity for half of the nation’s college students. A new ECS/League for Innovation in the Community College report shows, however, that while these institutions are affordable and effective, they are undervalued and underfunded. Reduced state financing and shifts in financial aid policies are sending well over a quarter million prospective students each year away from the nation’s community colleges. The report looks at the changing characteristics of the student population, the escalating demand for postsecondary education, the gaps among groups in educational access and attainment, and the implications for community colleges. (Katherine Boswell and Cynthia D. Wilson, editors, Education Commission of the States, League for Innovation in the Community College, July 2004)...

Training for Paraprofessionals: The Community College Role PDF - This report discusses the community college role in meeting No Child Left Behind requirements for paraprofessionals. It includes information on credentialing, state examples, formal assessments, policy challenges and policy recommendations. (Gina Shkodriani, Education Commission of the States, December 2003)...

Closing the College Participation Gap: A National Summary PDF - As state economies decline and enrollment demand grows, people’s opportunity to obtain a postsecondary education – and states’ ability to provide access to one – is likely to be challenged in the coming years. This ECS report examines the potential threats to college participation, and offers assistance for policymakers interested in increasing access, particularly for disadvantaged populations. Major findings include: the United States is falling behind other industrialized nations in college participation; demographic and economic forces are converging to limit states’ ability to protect, much less expand, college access; and growing gaps in participation rates based on age, race and income level suggest large numbers of people are at risk of losing access to a college education. The major theme of the report is that closing the postsecondary participation gap is key to improving both economic and social well-being in states. Also available are profiles for all 50 states. (Sandra Ruppert, Education Commission of the States, 2003)...

Community Colleges as Professional Development Resources for Working Teachers PDF - Community colleges can meet the needs of new professional development strategies by addressing the inflexibility and inconvenience of other programs, according to this report. It offers state examples of the community college role in professional development, as well as policy recommendations. (Gina Shkodriani, Education Commission of the States, December 2003)...

Narrowing the Gaps in Educational Attainment Within States: A Policymaker’s Guide for Assessing and Responding to Needs for Community College Services PDF - Community colleges are typically viewed as institutions capable of providing a low-cost, open-access education and narrowing disparities that exist from region to region in a state. This paper from Aims McGuinness Jr. and Dennis Jones urges policymakers to rethink the crucial role community colleges play in a state’s social and economic climate. The report includes comparative state data and a descriptive summary of community college services, including remedial and adult education, transfer and career preparation, and general education. (Aims McGuinness Jr. and Dennis Jones, Education Commission of the States, 2003) ...

Seamless Pipeline from Two-year to Four-year Institutions for Teacher Training PDF - This report reviews the transfer and articulation of teacher candidates from two- to four-year institutions. It discusses ways to improve transfer policies such as common course numbering and common core classes, and offers state examples. (Gina Shkodriani, Education Commission of the States, December 2003)...

Teacher Education Baccalaureate Degrees at Community Colleges PDF - This paper discusses community colleges that independently offer bachelor of arts programs in education without a four-year university partnership. It includes state examples, implications, policy challenges and policy recommendations. (Gina Shkodriani, Education Commission of the States, December 2003)...

The Adult Learning Gap: Why States Need to Change Their Policies Toward Adult Learners PDF - In a knowledge-based economy, a postsecondary education is a prerequisite for success. College graduates earn almost double the amount of those with no postsecondary education. But it is not just the individual who benefits – the states do, as well. In this paper, the authors examine the needs of adult learners and the ways in which states can encourage and shape the future of adult education. Changing economics and demographics demand a rethinking of adult learning and its impact on the quality of life for everyone in states. Recommendations include increasing and diversifying the amount of financial aid available to adult learners and placing a new emphasis on adult literacy and ESL programs. (Alice Ann Bailey and James R. Mingle, Education Commission of the States, 2003)...

Turning the Tide: Five Years of Achieving the Dream in Community Colleges - This report examines the first 26 colleges to join Achieving the Dream in 2004 (known as the “Round 1” colleges), and tracks their progress through spring 2009. The key findings are: 1. Four out of five Round 1 colleges adopted practices associated with a moderate to strong culture of evidence; 2. Colleges that made the greatest strides shared several key characteristics; 3. Colleges instituted a wide range of strategies to improve student achievement, but a majority of them remained small in scale; 4. Achieving the Dream had an important influence on most colleges; 5. Trends in student outcomes remained relatively unchanged, with a few exceptions. (MDRC, January 2011)...

Just How Similar? Community Colleges and the For-Profit Sector - This brief illustrates that, while they may offer some of the same educational programs, their missions vary significantly and they serve different populations, resulting in different outcomes. Community colleges work to respond to educational, workforce and community needs. For-profit institutions are often looking toward the bottom line, with accountability to shareholders instead of students. This brief's findings show that apples-to-apples comparisons between the public and for- profit postsecondary institutions are not only limiting, but also can lead to distortions of performance. (Christopher Mullin, American Association of Community Colleges, November 2010)...

Making Connections--Dimensions of Student Engagement, 2009 Findings - The report offers data about the quality of community college students’ educational experiences and describes how institutions across the country are intentionally making connections with students online, in the classroom, on campus and beyond. (Center for Community College Student Engagement, November 2009)...

Transforming America's Community Colleges: Federal Policy Proposal to Expand Opportunity and Promote Economic Prosperity - A four-part federal policy agenda to significantly transform the potential of community colleges nationwide to help their students, and thus society, achieve greater prosperity. (Sara Goldrick-Rab, Douglas N. Harris, Christopher Mazzeo, and Gregory Kienzl, Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings, May 2009)...

Getting Back on Track: Effects of a Community College Program for Probationary Students - MDRC's study can help decisionmakers understand the implications of investing in student supports--particularly for underprepared and/or at-risk college students. (Susan Scrivener, Colleen Sommo and Herbert Collado, MDRC, April 2009)...

California Community Colleges: Making Them Stronger and More Affordable - As college access continues to play a critical role in career advancement, California policymakers have tried to provide affordable opportunities in higher education. This report analyzes the effectiveness of these statewide policies in maintaining quality and access. The findings explain that California and its students are lacking substantial funding on both the state and federal levels. New fee policies and better targeted resources are recommended to improve student access, achievement, and affordability. (Deborah Frankle and William Zumeta, The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, March 2007)...

Career Pathways, Academic Performance - This brief summarizes results of a recently published study that examined the effects of career and technical education (CTE) transition programs on student matriculation from secondary to postsecondary education. The study was divided into two components: (1) secondary institutions’ CTE transition programs and their effects on secondary student performance and college transition as well as student perceptions of the transition programs; and (2) the postsecondary effects of selected CTE programs on student transition and postsecondary outcomes, compared to non-participants from the same sampled high schools. (Debra Bragg and Collin Ruud, Office of Community College Research and Leadership, 2007)...

Stepping Stones to a Degree: The Impact of Enrollment Pathways and Milestones on Older Community College Student Outcomes - This report presents findings from a study of the experiences and outcomes of older and younger community college students, comparing the impact of enrollment pathways (such as remediation) and enrollment milestones (such as attaining a certain number of credits) on educational outcomes of older students – those who entered college for the first time at age 25 or later – with those of traditional-age students. Results suggest that reaching milestones such as obtaining 20 credits or completing 50% of a program is a more important positive factor affecting graduation probabilities for younger students than it is for older students. Although enrollment in remedial courses decreases the odds of graduating for all students, older students who enroll in remediation are less negatively affected than are younger ones who do the same. Also available is a report summary. (Juan Carlos Calcagno, Peter Crosta, Thomas Bailey and Davis Jenkins, Teachers College, October 2006)...

A Whole ’Nother World: Students Navigating Community College - Community colleges' lower cost, more convenient location and flexible admissions standards make them an attractive educational alternative for many students, especially those from low-income and disadvantaged backgrounds. Yet, persistence toward degrees among community college students is low. Family responsibilities, poor academic performance and weak ties to faculty and other students get in the way of students’ educational aspirations. This study asked students at two community colleges about the factors that affect their ability to persist in community college. Key findings include: (1) many younger students reported they attended college largely to please their parents and did not feel a strong personal motivation, while many students between 21 and 25 said they enrolled to escape low-wage work and ultimately provide a higher standard of living for their families; (2) parenting responsibilities often interfered with their ability to study and attend class using a traditional schedule; (3) making friends in college was only marginally important. (Alissa Gardenhire-Crooks, Herbert Collado and Barbara Ray, MDRC, July 2006) ...

The Community College as a Nexus for Workforce Transitions: A Critical Essay - This article examines horizontal and vertical workforce transitions and how a global economy and the need to train new subpopulations of future workers will cause community colleges to approach their roles in workforce training differently. There are too little hard data at present to guide either practice or policy for new realities. The authors recommend that community colleges address these critical information shortages by documenting both the inputs and outcomes of programs and activities that facilitate horizontal and vertical workforce transitions. (James Jacobs and Richard A. Voorhees, Community College Research Center, Spring 2006) ...

Act On Fact: Using Data To Improve Student Success - This report examines the results of a survey asking questions about institutional practices and student behaviors that are highly correlated with student learning and retention. Results include national benchmarks and institutional benchmark scores for five key areas of engagement: active and collaborative learning, student effort, academic challenge, student-faculty interaction and support for learners. (Community College Survey of Student Engagement, 2006) ...

Building Pathways to Success for Low-Skill Adult Students: Lessons for Community College Policy and Practice From a Longitudinal Student Tracking Study - As the American workplace grows more complex, improving adult education opportunities in the states is of increasing importance. According to this report from the Community College Research Center, nearly 42% of adults in the United States between the ages of 25 and 64 have no more than a high school education. This brief focuses on the role of community colleges in preparing adult learners for success in a information-based economy and a learning society. It helps to identify critical drop-out points for adult students and offers some suggestions about how to bridge achievement gaps. (David Prince and Davis Jenkins, Community College Research Center, 2005)...

Engaging Students, Challenging the Odds - This survey provides community colleges data about students’ experiences at their colleges so they can better understand how effectively they are engaging their students and identify areas for improvement. This 2005 report reflects responses from 133,281 students from 257 colleges in 38 states, and includes results of the first administration of the community college faculty survey of student engagement, which provides insights into faculty perceptions and practices. (Community College Survey of Student Engagement, 2005) ...

Building Bridges to College and Careers: Contextualized Basic Skills Programs at Community Colleges - This study documents five community colleges that have targeted hard-to-employ adults for training and employment assistance. These "vanguard" colleges are pioneering a new adult education model that links basic skills to immediate job opportunities in high-wage fields that need workers such as health care and information technology. (Christopher Mazzeo, Sara Y. Rab and Julian L. Alssid, Workforce Strategy Center, January 2003)...

Community College Students: Goals, Academic Preparation and Outcomes - This report examines characteristics of students enrolled in community colleges, completion rates for those working toward degrees and employment outcomes for individuals previously enrolled in a community college. (Gary Hoachlander, Anna C. Sikora and Laura Horn, National Center for Education Statistics, June 2003)...

Preserving Access With Excellence: Financing for Rural Community Colleges - According to this report, because of their isolated location, many of the 1.8 million adults attending rural community colleges have no other option for accessing higher education. The report finds that even this limited access to a college education is being threatened by state policies that increase tuition and reduce institutional support and financial aid. (Stephen G. Katsinas, King F. Alexander and Ronald D. Opp, Rural Community College Initiative, MDC Inc., 2003)...

Building a Career Pathways System: Promising Practices in Community College-Centered Workforce Development - Community colleges are the best conduits for helping low-income people out of poverty, but state policymakers, and even the institutions themselves, often hinder training that leads to lucrative careers, according to this report. The authors contend that community colleges need to restructure to eliminate departmental divisions, that state and regional workforce programs need to make better connections with the colleges, and policymakers need to redirect funds. The report argues that creating lasting career opportunities for low-income people hinges on an education integrated with academic and vocational training. (Julian L. Alssid, David Gruber, Davis Jenkins, Christopher Mazzeo, Brandon Roberts, Regina Stanback-Stroud, Workforce Strategy Center, October 2002)...

State Policy and Community College-Baccalaureate Transfer - This paper examines the role of state policy in influencing community college–baccalaureate transfer. It discusses the importance of two- to four-year (2/4) transfer performance as a state policy issue, reviews national research about transfer patterns, and presents findings about state policy and transfer performance in six states. It concludes by offering recommendations to state policymakers for improving 2/4 transfer performance. (Jane V. Wellman, National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education and the Institute for Higher Education Policy, August 2002)...

Baccalaureate Education in the Community College Setting - The North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCACS) created a Task Force to discuss and analyze a request from a community college to have its accreditation extended to programs leading to a baccalaureate degree. This summary presents the deliberations and process through which the Task Force arrived at several recommendations, including considering requests from community colleges to offer programs leading to baccalaureate degrees. (Higher Learning Commission, NCACS, February 23, 2001)...


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