The fundamental concepts of Achieving the Dream — using evidence to develop and evaluate strategies for improving student learning and success — are also important to successful efforts to meet accreditation requirements. Following the Achieving the Dream approach can help community colleges organize and document improvement efforts in ways that are a natural fit with the expectations of the regional accrediting agencies.
The Achieving the Dream Student-Centered Model for Institutional Improvement is data-intensive. Achieving the Dream encourages colleges to use data to inform decision-making and guide efforts to improve student success. As a result, colleges participating in the initiative soon discover that collecting, analyzing, and using data is a continual process.
This guide will help colleges understand the importance of meaningfully engaging faculty in their Achieving the Dream efforts. It addresses some of the challenges colleges have faced in this area, as well as tips for successful engagement and concrete examples and case studies of a variety of successful faculty engagement efforts.
Longitudinal cohort analysis is a powerful tool for helping colleges understand student performance. It involves tracking students as a group or cohort over a specified period of time. The results allow administrators, faculty, and staff to identify groups of students who are succeeding or falling behind and the points in the educational pipeline where they may falter. This guide is designed to give colleges an overview of longitudinal cohort analysis and how it can be used to improve student success.
Achieving the Dream colleges engage in a process of institutional improvement to increase student success. A central component of this process is engaging internal and external stakeholders to help develop and implement interventions or changes in programs and services that improve student success. To determine whether these interventions do indeed improve student outcomes, and what changes and refinements should be made to produce further improvements, colleges need to evaluate their interventions
Achieving the Dream works with more than 150 community colleges across the United States with the specific goal of increasing student success. Together, Achieving the Dream colleges graduate or transfer close to 250,000 students a year. With just a 5 percent increase in graduation rates, we can positively impact the lives of an additional 12,500 students each year—or 62,500 students over five years. That’s 62,500 additional students achieving a life-changing goal because of the work to which we are committing ourselves today.