California Community Colleges Unveil Completion Scorecards

California Community Colleges Unveil Completion Scorecards

April 11, 2013

California's community college system made public web-based "scorecards" on student performance at its 112 colleges, reports Inside Higher Ed. The data tool offers graduation, retention and transfer rates for each of the colleges and for the overall system, which enrolls over 2 million students.

The scorecards include breakdowns by a variety of metrics, including race, gender and age. They go beyond conventional graduation rates, tracking data such as the percentage of students who complete 30 credits, and how students placed into remedial coursework perform compared to students prepared to do college work upon enrollment.

The scorecards do not contain employment figures, but a spokesman told Inside Higher Ed that an earnings tracking tool is in the works, with data on median annual wages for students two and five years after they enter an academic program.

Inside Higher Ed reports that system officials have recommended against using results to compare colleges directly, because institutions tend to have dramatically different student populations and are shaped by underlying characteristics such as size and location.

The scorecards are meant to increase accountability; colleges will be judged by how they perform over time on the scorecards, which will be updated each year. 

Some students are expected to make use of the scorecards, which are available online. The primary consumers of the data are college leaders and state policy makers, though, some of whom have pushed performance-based funding for the two-year system.

Many observers are excited about the addition the scorecards represent for tracking student completion. As Inside Higher Ed notes, "[t]he academy has long bemoaned the shortcomings of federal graduation rates, which typically focus on first-time, full-time students. Community colleges in particular enroll many students who fail to show up on standard measures, like those featured in the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS)."

The scorecards are a product of recent reforms to the California community college system, intended to help colleges cope with the fact that amid years of deep budget cuts, California's community colleges have turned away 600,000 students.


Related Links:

Inside Higher Ed

Zeeshan Aleem

State Relations