Advancing Adults Into Community Colleges: Data Tools from Breaking Through
Advancing Adults into Community Colleges provides support to community colleges interested in restructuring their programs to create clear pathways for low-skilled adults to enter professional and technical certificate and degree programs. In particular, the authors of this guide visited 25 community colleges across the country and identified incompatible and insufficient data as a significant internal hurdle that needed to be overcome before these colleges could manage their programs effectively and evaluate the effectiveness of their programs in moving students to higher levels of skills and achievement. Advancing Adults into Community Colleges provides guidance in areas central to improving data tracking in order to help community colleges determine whether they are meeting their goals and to help them find new ways to build accountability systems into their programs.
Advancing Adults into Community Colleges primarily consists of a "Campus Data Toolkit" that acquaints programs with the key processes and principles of quantitative analysis. The Data Toolkit has four main sections. The first distinguishes among several different types of student data that are useful for different purposes. The second addresses the need for, and possible ways to organize, a project management database. The third reviews various ways to collect data, concentrating on the need to collect data about interventions and treatments that are not captured through the college's regular registration records system. The final section examines ways to manipulate and analyze data to monitor student progress. In addition, the guide contains appendices in a "Common Core of Data Elements" section that can provide institutions with the minimal set of data elements they should collect to support effective tracking of outcomes and program evaluation.
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