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Achieving the Dream

Introduction

Community colleges enroll almost half of all U.S. undergraduate students, and the American public appreciates their commitment to providing broad access. But access alone isn’t enough. Currently fewer than half of community college students meet their educational goals. Achieving the Dream is working to help more students earn certificates or degrees that open the door to better jobs, further education and greater opportunity.

Highline College is proud to be a part of this national initiative to help more community college students succeed, especially those that traditionally have faced significant barriers to success, including students of color and low-income students.

The Grant ~ July 2006

Goal

To help more community college students succeed, especially student groups that traditionally have faced significant barriers to success, including students of color and low-income students. 

Benchmarks

  1. Complete developmental courses and move to credit-bearing courses
  2. Successfully complete courses identified as gatekeeper courses, like Writing 101 and introductory Math courses
  3. Successfully complete all their courses with a 2.0 or higher
  4. Consistently re-enroll from quarter to quarter
  5. Complete their certificate or degree programs

Long-Term Goals

The grant has four Long-Term Goals to change institutions, public attitudes, and public policy, and to create new knowledge:

  • Institutional Change: Colleges will use data to identify problems, set goals, establish institutional priorities, allocate resources and measure progress. These changes, which will involve faculty, students, staff and communities, are expected to affect structures, programs and services to improve student outcomes.
  • Public Policy: College leaders will advocate locally and nationally for policies to promote student success, including not only changes in data and accountability, financing, and system alignment, but also support for institutional improvements that promote improved student outcomes.
  • Public Engagement: Colleges will form partnerships with their communities, local employers, and other critical audiences, who can advance the initiative's agenda, will exert pressure on institutions and policy-makers to improve student outcomes, and they will actively support colleges' efforts. Additional colleges will adopt practices to improve student success.
  • New Knowledge: Colleges, policy-makers and higher education researchers will have meaningful data to benchmark colleges’ performance based on student outcomes and will expand the research on institutional policies and practices that improve student outcomes will increase.

Outcomes

Highline Community College is committed to helping more community college students succeed, especially student groups that traditionally have faced significant barriers to success, including students of color and low-income students.

To identify where the college could have the most impact, Highline conducted a data driven analysis to identify where students were realizing the least success. From this research, Highline selected three interventions to target efforts and improve student achievement.

Interventions

  • Improve completion and student success in developmental math courses
  • Increase the number of students that transition from non-credit courses (ABE, ESL, GED) to credit courses
  • Improve completion and student success for students placing below college-level math and college-level writing or reading (MP3-11)

Intervention strategies

These strategies are designed to lead to one or more of the following student outcomes:
  • Completion of developmental courses and enrollment in credit-bearing courses;
  • Successful completion of gatekeeper courses, like Writing 101 and introductory Math;
  • Successful completion of courses with a 2.0 or higher GPA; - Consistent re-enroll from quarter to quarter;
  • Completion of a certificate or degree program.

Highline's Leadership Goals

In addition to working directly with students to improve their success, Highline has four leadership goals associated with this initiative:

  • Using date identify problems, set goals, establish institutional priorities, allocate resources and measure progress;
  • Advocating locally and nationally for policies to promote student success; - Forming partnerships with our communities, local employers and other critical audiences, who can advance the initiative's agenda, exert pressure on policy-makers to improve student outcomes, and actively support Highline’s efforts;
  • Creating meaningful data to benchmark Highline’s performance based on student outcomes to expand the research on institutional policies and practices that improve student outcomes will increase.

Highline Community College builds on institutional values and existing strengths to work in the classroom and out in the community so that together we may help more students earn certificates or degrees that open the door to better jobs, further education and greater opportunity.