American community colleges represent a true success story. With their multiple missions, they have provided access and opportunity to millions of students. But community colleges are held accountable for their services and must be able to show that they are indeed serving their variety of students appropriately.
This volume speaks of the multiplicity of data required to tell the community college story. The authors explore and detail how various sources workforce data, market data, state–level data, federal data, and, of course, institutional data such as transcript files all have something to say about the life of a community college. Much like an orchestral score, where the different parts played by individual instruments become music under the hands of a conductor, these data can be coordinated and assembled into a message that answers questions of student success and institutional effectiveness.
This is the 153rd volume of this Jossey–Bass quarterly report series. Always timely and comprehensive, New Directions for Institutional Research provides planners and administrators in all types of academic institutions with guidelines in such areas as resource coordination, information analysis, program evaluation, and institutional management.
Christopher M. Mullin, Trudy Bers, Linda Serra Hagedorn
1. Using Labor Market Information in Program Development and Evaluation 3
Anna M. Lebesch
This chapter explores the uses of data specific to the development and evaluation of career and technical education. Federal, state, commercial, and local data are discussed and suggestions provided for future improvement.
2. Data Drives Success: Defining a Metric for Developmental Studies 13
Anita Polk–Conley, John Squires
Despite the prominence of developmental students, there has not been a uniform way to accurately gauge success rates from the developmental to college–level coursework. This chapter offers a way to gauge the process that can be compared across years, cohorts, or colleges.
3. GED and Other Noncredit Courses: The Other Side of the Community College 21
Andrew J. Ryder, Linda Serra Hagedorn
Dating back to World War II, the nation has relied on the GED for high school equivalence exams. Today, community colleges often administer the preparation and exam within the noncredit system. This chapter uses the example of Iowa to better understand the GED and other noncredit offerings.
4. Surveys and Benchmarks 33
In today s environment of outcomes assessment and accountability the tracking of student success has taken on new importance. This chapter discusses surveys and benchmarks commonly used by community colleges for this purpose as well as to monitor institutional effectiveness.
5. Using Data to Optimize Community College Marketing 49
Craig A. Clagett
The role of marketing in the construction of an effective enrollment plan has been underestimated. This chapter provides guidance to institutional research on how data can analytically be used to yield the optimal marketing results.
6. Improving Consumer Information for Higher Education Planning 63
M. Craig Herndon
Student advising using the Virginia Community College Wizard, or Ginny, provides a twenty–first–century approach to disseminating information to the public. This chapter highlights the development and implementation of this new and innovative tool.
7. Understanding the Workforce Outcomes of Education 75
Christopher M. Mullin
Citing available workforce data, this chapter recommends the metrics available to measure appropriate workforce outcomes and effectiveness. Despite the importance of these outcomes, there remain many obstacles to the collection and the dissemination of these data.
8. Final Words 89
This final chapter provides observations about institutional research in community colleges derived from the preceding chapters and the authors own experiences.