Research on Access & Completion

Access and College Readiness

 College Readiness Initiative Impact Study: Navigation 101/AVID

The College Readiness Initiative focused on strengthening two promising programs, Navigation 101 and AVID, in 19 school districts statewide.  Getting Smart, in partnership with The BERC Group, conducted a post-initiative evaluation of AVID and Navigation 101 to assess the sustainability and impact of these programs.  For Navigation 101, all 19 schools that implemented the program with College Spark funding will continue to implement each of the elements of the program, while 83 percent of schools that received funding to implement AVID will continue to implement the program next school year.  Both programs had a positive impact on school culture, in which the school environment was perceived as being rigorous and supportive with a focus on college readiness. For schools with both programs, more students graduated high school with a college-ready transcript, and significantly more students enrolled in and passed higher-level math and science courses.   

College Bound Scholarship Program  

The College Bound Scholarship (CBS) helps low-income students perform nearly as well in school and enroll in college as their higher-income peers, according to a new report by The BERC Group in 2013. A summary of the report is available here.   

On Track for Success: The Use of Early Warning Indicator Intervention Systems to Build a Grad Nation

The Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University report provides both an overview of the history of identifying Early Warning Indicators (attendance, behavior, and course failure) as highly predictive of high school dropout, and reviews research about how schools, districts, state officials, and community-based organizations are engaging in the process of building Early Warning Indicator Systems.  The paper discusses emerging best practices and policy recommendations for accelerating high school graduation rates and improving college and work readiness.

Intensive Math Instruction and Educational Attainment: Long-Run Impacts of Double-Dose Algebra

This study from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government shows substantial positive impacts of double-dose algebra on credits earned, test scores, high school graduation and college enrollment rates for low-skilled 9th graders assigned to an algebra course that doubled instructional time, altered peer composition and emphasized problem solving skills.

Washington: The Condition of College Career Readiness, 2012

Report from ACT states that one out of five graduating Washington seniors took the ACT in 2012. Of those students, nearly four out of ten students met the college ready benchmarks. ACT defines college and career readiness as the knowledge and skills a students needs to enroll and succeed in a credit-bearing postsecondary institution (two- or four-year).       

Closing the School Discipline Gap: Research to Policy

The UCLA Civil Rights Project produced a paper that summarizes research about the disproportionate impact of school discipline policies on the education of students of color and effective, research-based alternatives to extensive use of suspension and expulsion.  

 Remediation: Higher Education's Bridge to Nowhere

Complete College America's 2012 report describes how more than 1.7 million beginning students are enrolled in remediation each year and most will not graduate. The report also provides state-level data.

Why Access Matters: The Community College Student Body 

Produced in 2012 by the American Association of Community Colleges, this brief describes the students who are drawn to and served by community colleges(nearly half of all minority students and more than 40 percent of undergraduate students living in poverty) and how to ensure that access is not deteriorated.

Degree Completion

Building Guided Pathways to Accelerate Student Completion

This 2014 Community College Research Center paper finds that students who enter a program of study in their first year are more likely to complete a credential than those who do not enter one until their second year or later.  The authors describe efforts by a growing number of colleges and universities to redesign academic programs and support services to create “guided pathways” designed to increase the rate at which students enter and complete a program of study.

 A Matter of Degrees: Promising Practices for Community College Student Success

Produced by the Center for Community College Student Engagement in 2012, this report describes 13 promising practices in community colleges across the nation in order to help college leaders make evidence-based decisions about how to focus institutional energy, reallocate limited resources, design more effective programs, and bring strong programs to more students.

  Statway /Quantway Evaluation

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching evaluation of two of its Statway program, which replaces the traditional algebra sequence and allows developmental math students to earn college-level credit for statistics.  In 2012-2013, 19 community colleges and four state universities offered Statway across five states; 52% percent of Statway remedial community college students successfully completed the full Pathway (had a grade of C or higher in the final term) and earned college credit.

  Predicting Success in College: The Importance of Placement Tests and High School Transcripts

This paper uses student data from a state-wide community college system to examine the validity of placement tests and high school information in predicting course grades and college performance. The authors find that placement tests do not yield strong predictions of how students will perform in college. In contrast, they find that high school GPAs are useful for predicting many aspects of students’ college performance, and have a strong association with college GPA.

  Charting Pathways to Completion for Low-Income Community College Students

This 2011 paper from the Community College Research Canter uses administrative data from Washington State to chart the educational pathways of first-time community college students over seven years, with a focus on young, socioeconomically disadvantaged students.  The paper identifies patterns of progression among students with low socioeconomic status and makes recommendations for practitioners and policymakers.

College Attainment

 The College Advantage: Weathering the Economic Storm

A 2012 report from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce finds that college graduates fared much better during the recession than those with a high school diploma or less. Nationally, the unemployment rates for recent high school graduates were near 24 percent compared to 6.8 percent for recent four-year college graduates. The report also states that "nearly four out of every five jobs destroyed by the recession were held by workers with a high school diploma or less."

A Stronger Nation through Higher Education

A 2012 report by the Lumina Foundation states that college completion rates continue to climb -- 38.3 percent of working-age Americans (ages 25-64) held a two- or four-year college degree in 2010, a modest increase over 2009 and 2008 -- but that more must be done to build on the gains.

Washington State Higher Education Policy

State Policy Leadership Vacuum: Performance and Policy in Washington Higher Education

 This 2012 report describes Washington state's higher education system as "adrift," and reports that Washington lags behind most other states in the total number of bachelor's degrees produced per capita; only 40 of every 100 students who start ninth grade enter college on time; and one-fourth of adults (ages 18-64) have not earned a high school diploma. Produced by the Institute for Research on Higher Education at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education.