Increasing Community College Student Success

March 7, 2011

Educators often attribute poor completion rates in community colleges to numerous ‘deficiencies’ that students bring with them. But Sara Goldrick-Rab says it’s important to consider the policies that shape the capacity of community colleges to serve students. Unfortunately, few national longitudinal surveys include sizeable samples of 2-year college students. Measurement of student success should account for the structural and institutional constraints that colleges face. Institutional practices deserving more careful analysis include learning communities, first-year support service programs, and adult literacy programs. “We still know far too little about what works,” she says, “but the evidence indicates a need for a multifaceted approach; one that’s flexible enough to accommodate the variety of student needs, and that’s ambitious enough to create meaningful change.” For more, see Review of Educational Research, September 2010.