The Data

Indicators presented in The Completion Arch originate from national and state data sources; from national initiatives such as Achieving the Dream and Complete College America, and from published articles and reports. National data are based on longitudinal surveys collected by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) at the U.S. Department of Education. State data come from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data Systems (IPEDS) at the U.S. Department of Education and from state longitudinal data systems (SLDS). Results from SLDS may be published on state websites, submitted to Complete College America or used in academic research articles and reports.

Indicator Definition Sources

atd
Achieving the Dream: Community Colleges Count

Achieving the Dream: Community Colleges Count (ATD) is an initiative to improve outcomes for community college students while closing the attainment gap. As of 2014, over 200 colleges in 34 states and the District of Columbia, representing nearly 4 million students, have participated in its National Reform Network. It has collected longitudinal records for over 2 million first-time credential-seeking students in participating colleges and tracked them for at least six years. Many of the indicators in The Completion Arch, particularly in the area of Developmental Education Placement and the area of Progress, are based on published sources that feature ATD data.

Available at: http://www.achievingthedream.org/

cca/nga
Complete College America/National Governors Association

Complete College America (CCA) is a national nonprofit organization that aims to increase the number of Americans with postsecondary credentials and close attainment gaps for traditionally underrepresented populations. It seeks to achieve this goal by effectively using data to promote policy change and build consensus among state leaders, higher education officials, and the national education policy community. The organization was established in 2009 as an extension of Complete to Compete, a National Governors Association (NGA) initiative. In 2010, NGA adopted a set of metrics to consistently measure student progress and success across states based on the report from the working group on common college completion metrics, and in 2011, CCA released its first report using these data. Currently, The Completion Arch uses CCA indicators for up to 27 states, and this number will increase as additional states provide data.

Available at: http://www.completecollege.org/

ccrc
The Community College Research Center

The Community College Research Center (CCRC) at Columbia University’s Teachers College conducts applied and scholarly research on various aspects of community colleges, including student success. Many of the indicators in The Completion Arch are drawn from CCRC studies of student records from Achieving the Dream, the Virginia Community College System, and the Washington State Board of Community and Technical Colleges.

Available at: http://ccrc.tc.columbia.edu/

ed
U.S. Department of Education's Committee on Measures of Student Success

The Committee on Measures of Student Success of the U.S. Department of Education (ED) is a panel of higher education and policy experts convened under the authority of the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008. Its charge was to recommend improvements to the graduation rate statistics collected and reported by ED and to propose alternative measures of progress and achievement that are more appropriate for students at community colleges and other two-year institutions. The committee released a final set of recommendations in 2011.

Available at: http://www2.ed.gov/about/bdscomm/list/acmss.html

ipeds
Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System

Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) is a system of interrelated surveys conducted annually by the National Center for Education Statistics in the U.S. Department of Education. IPEDS gathers information from every college, university, and technical and vocational institution that participates in federal student financial aid programs (i.e., Title IV institutions). The Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, requires that institutions participating in federal student aid programs report data on enrollments, program completions, graduation rates, faculty and staff, finances, institutional prices, and student financial aid. IPEDS is a key source of standardized national data that are comparable over time. IPEDS data are also comparable at the state level.

Available at: http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/

vfa
Voluntary Framework of Accountability

Voluntary Framework of Accountability (VFA), launched in 2009, is an effort to develop and report standardized measures of performance that are meaningful and useful for community colleges. A preliminary list of metrics was released in 2011 for pilot testing in selected sites and the first year of data collection began in fall 2013. When the results are publicly available, VFA will serve as a primary source of indicators for The Completion Arch.

Available at: http://www.aacc.nche.edu/vfa/

Data Sources

ipeds
National
Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System

Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) is a system of interrelated surveys conducted annually by the National Center for Education Statistics in the U.S. Department of Education. IPEDS gathers information from every college, university, and technical and vocational institution that participates in federal student financial aid programs (i.e., Title IV institutions). The Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, requires that institutions participating in federal student aid programs report data on enrollments, program completions, graduation rates, faculty and staff, finances, institutional prices, and student financial aid. IPEDS is a key source of standardized national data that are comparable over time. IPEDS data are also comparable at the state level.

Available at: http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/

bps
National
Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study

Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study (BPS) is a study conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) in the U.S. Department of Education. BPS follows a cohort of students who are enrolling in postsecondary education for the first time. The most recent cohort includes more than 18,000 students who enrolled in college for the first time during the 2003-04 year. BPS interviewed students in 2004, 2006, and 2009, and unlike most data sources featured in The Completion Arch, it follows students after they transfer or stop out and reenroll. The BPS Postsecondary Education Transcript Study (PETS:09) is an important component of the BPS study. PETS:09 collected transcripts from all postsecondary institutions attended by BPS participants. It provides information on types of courses, course grades, course-taking patterns, enrollment patterns, and credit accumulation. Researchers can derive many of the momentum points and milestone metrics for a national community college cohort that has been followed for six years. Transcript data can address questions concerning student progress and attainment, continuity in fields of study, and transfer/mobility across institution types. The BPS indicators in The Completion Arch are derived from PowerStats, an NCES statistical application that is available to the public. The Completion Arch also refers to publications based on BPS in order to explain the significance and national context of certain indicators.

http://nces.ed.gov/surveys/bps/; http://nces.ed.gov/surveys/pets/; http://nces.ed.gov/datalab/

slds
State
State Longitudinal Data Systems

State Longitudinal Data Systems are primarily designed for administrative and accountability purposes. However, they can provide insight into the progress, attainment, and outcomes of community college students. As of 2010, a total of 44 states and the District of Columbia had a system that included higher education data. The amount of information and detail these systems contain and the extent to which this information is communicated to the public varies widely across states. When statistics about community colleges are available, they are usually published and disseminated through state departments of education and higher education, community college systems, state university systems, and workforce agencies. In some cases, states make these data available to academic researchers for analysis and publication.

The SLDS indicators in The Completion Arch are drawn from websites and published reports produced by state agencies and researchers

ei
State
EdInsights

EdInsights (Education Insights Center) at California State University, Sacramento conducts research on higher education policy in California. A number of The Completion Arch indicators are taken from its research using student records from the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office. Prior to March 2015, EdInsights was known as The Institute for Higher Education Leadership & Policy.

Available at: http://www.csus.edu/edinsights/

 

ccrc
State
The Community College Research Center

The Community College Research Center (CCRC) at Columbia University’s Teachers College conducts applied and scholarly research on various aspects of community colleges, including student success. Many of the indicators in The Completion Arch are drawn from CCRC studies of student records from Achieving the Dream, the Virginia Community College System, and the Washington State Board of Community and Technical Colleges.

Available at: http://ccrc.tc.columbia.edu/

cca
State
Complete College America

Complete College America (CCA) is a national nonprofit organization that aims to increase the number of Americans with postsecondary credentials and close attainment gaps for traditionally underrepresented populations. It seeks to achieve this goal by effectively using data to promote policy change and build consensus among state leaders, higher education officials, and the national education policy community. The organization was established in 2009 as an extension of Complete to Compete, a National Governors Association (NGA) initiative. In 2010, NGA adopted a set of metrics to consistently measure student progress and success across states based on the report from the working group on common college completion metrics, and in 2011 and 2012, CCA released its first two reports using these data. Currently, The Completion Arch uses CCA indicators for over 30 states, and this number will increase as additional states provide data.

Available at: http://www.completecollege.org/

atd
Multiple Institution Initiaves
Achieving the Dream: Community Colleges Count

Achieving the Dream: Community Colleges Count (ATD) is an initiative to improve outcomes for community college students while closing the attainment gap. As of 2014, over 200 colleges in 34 states and the District of Columbia, representing nearly 4 million students, have participated in its National Reform Network. It has collected longitudinal records for over 2 million first-time credential-seeking students in participating colleges and tracked them for at least six years. Many of the indicators in The Completion Arch, particularly in the area of Developmental Education Placement and the area of Progress, are based on published sources that feature ATD data.

Available at: http://www.achievingthedream.org/

mdrc
Multiple Institution Initiaves
MDRC

MDRC is a nonprofit education and social policy research organization. Its community college research includes developing and evaluating programs to improve student outcomes, particularly for low-income and underprepared students. The indicators in The Completion Arch for participants in the Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) are based on MDRC’s evaluation of the program at three City University of New York community colleges.

Available at: http://www.mdrc.org/