California community colleges held accountable for students’ success

150 150 Cheryl Getuiza

Students will be able to gauge just how well their school is doing. (Photo Credit: Long Beach City College)

With 112 California community colleges in 72 districts, how can aspiring students pick the right institution for their specific goals?

Fear not because the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office will save the day. Starting the second week of April, students will be able to log onto any community college website or the Chancellor’s main page, click on a link and find out how well each institution is doing.

“It certainly is a very transparent public accountability for the institutions, but it’s also a system that is truly designed to help these institutions to use data to improve a student’s success,” said Patrick Perry, Vice Chancellor for Technology, Research and Information Systems for California.

The Scorecard has data from each of the colleges and breaks it down.

  • Persistence Rate: the percentage of students wanting a degree or a transfer to a four year, who remain enrolled for three consecutive terms
  • 30 Unit Rate: the percentage of first time students wanting a degree or a transfer who earn at least 30 units
  • Student Progress and Attainment Rate: the percentage of degree or transfer students-separated into remedial students and those at a collegiate level-who earn a degree, a certificate or transfer to a four year institution
  • Basic Skills Progress Rate: the percentage of students who start out in remedial classes who go on to college level classes
  • Career Technical Education: the percentage of students who complete a career technical education program and earn a degree, certificate or transfer
  • Career Development and College Prep Rate: the completion rate for students in non-credit career development and non credit college prep classes

“This new scorecard is more inclusive as far as what students we were counting and more inclusive as to the outcomes we were looking for on these students,” said Perry.

But what’s most interesting on the Scorecard, is the ability for each of the faculty at the colleges, to look at the data and see where they are failing their students. 

“Certainly the faculty can use the data as discussion points for new teaching strategies,” said Perry.

In fact, colleges could track students who complete education plans to see if they do increase completion rates.

“The Scorecard is comparable reliable information about what’s happening in each college and allows them to focus on what they can do to improve,” said David Plank, Executive director, Policy Analysis for California Education, Stanford University.

“What the community colleges system is promising is really good because it acknowledges the diversity of backgrounds and objectives that students have. Students come in with different levels of preparation, different needs and they seek different goals,” said Plank.

The Scorecard will be updated at least once a year.

“We’re very pleased of the outlook of the system moving forward and the fact that hopefully more students will both be accessing and achieving success in our system,” said Perry.

Ensuring students are on the right path to success is beneficial for the state’s economy as they are the future of our workforce.


Cheryl Getuiza

All stories by: Cheryl Getuiza