Learning Communities

Report

Lessons from the SSPIRE Initiative

July, 2009
Evan Weissman, Oscar Cerna, Christian Geckeler, Emily Schneider, Derek V. Price, Thomas J. Smith

This report describes how community colleges in California that participated in the Student Support Partnership Integrating Resources and Education (SSPIRE) initiative took steps to better serve low-income and underprepared students by integrating student support services with academic instruction.

Brief

A Synthesis of Findings from an Evaluation at Six Community Colleges

March, 2011
Susan Scrivener, Erin Coghlan

MDRC’s Opening Doors Demonstration, launched in 2003 with six community colleges, provides some of the first rigorous evidence that a range of interventions can improve educational outcomes for community college students. This 12-page policy brief describes the strategies tested, discusses the results, and offers suggestions to policymakers and practitioners for moving forward.

Report

An Impact Study at Hillsborough Community College

June, 2010
Michael J. Weiss, Mary Visher, Heather Wathington

A random assignment study of learning communities that linked a developmental reading course and a “college success” course finds that faculty collaboration and curricular integration increased over time. Overall, the program had no impact on students’ academic success, but evidence suggests that it had some positive effects for the last cohort of students in the study.

Report

Impact Studies at Queensborough and Houston Community Colleges

February, 2011
Evan Weissman, Kristin F. Butcher, Emily Schneider, Jedediah Teres, Herbert Collado, David H. Greenberg

Learning communities, which co-enroll small groups of students into linked courses, are a popular strategy for helping developmental students at community colleges succeed. This report examines the impacts of one-semester learning communities for developmental math students at Queensborough Community College and Houston Community College. At both colleges, students in learning communities attempted and passed their developmental math class at higher rates than students in a control group. However, this impact generally did not translate into increased cumulative progress in math by the end of two or three semesters.

Report

Impact Studies at Merced College and The Community College of Baltimore County

February, 2012
Evan Weissman, Dan Cullinan, Oscar Cerna, Stephanie Safran, Phoebe Richman

Two colleges implemented semester-long learning communities linking developmental English with a range of other courses. At Merced, learning communities students earned more developmental English credits and passed more English courses than a control group. At CCBC, there were no meaningful impacts on students’ credit attempts or progress. Neither college’s program had an impact on persistence or on cumulative credits earned.

Report

A Background Paper

December, 2005
Derek V. Price

Interest in learning communities at colleges and universities is growing, as is early evidence of their impact on student success. This paper reviews the history, theory, and research on learning communities, describes how they operate, and proposes a multicollege demonstration project to build more conclusive evidence of their effectiveness.

Report

How Much Do Achieving the Dream Colleges Spend — and from What Resources — to Become Data-Driven Institutions?

June, 2010

This report analyzes the experiences of five community colleges that participate in Lumina Foundation’s Achieving the Dream initiative and the investments they made in implementing an institutional improvement process aimed at increasing students’ success. The report examines how, where, and with what resources these colleges supported their reforms, as well as the key activities driving their overall expenditures.

Report

Early Results from the Opening Doors Demonstration in Ohio

April, 2007
Susan Scrivener, Michael Pih

This report presents the early results from MDRC’s evaluation of the Opening Doors program at Owens Community College in Toledo, Ohio. The two-semester program offered intensive student advising services and a modest scholarship to low-income students to encourage them to stay in school and earn credentials.

Report

Instructional Innovations That Help Low-Income Students Succeed in Community College

July, 2003
Richard Kazis, Marty Liebowitz

This paper looks at curricular and program redesign strategies currently used by community colleges to speed nontraditional students’ advancement from lower levels of skill into credential programs and to shorten the time commitment required to earn a credential.

Pages