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ERIC Number: ED504243
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Dec
Pages: 65
Abstractor: ERIC
Evidence-Based Decision Making in Community Colleges: Findings from a Survey of Faculty and Administrator Data Use at Achieving the Dream Colleges
Jenkins, Davis; Kerrigan, Monica Reid
Community College Research Center, Columbia University
Although there is increasing interest in evidence-based decision making in postsecondary education, there have been few large-scale empirical studies on the subject, and none of the research to date has examined in depth what specific data college faculty and administrators use in their jobs and the extent to which they use data analysis to design and improve the impact of programs and services. This report offers findings from a study designed to fill that gap in the knowledge base. The study was based on a survey and on telephone interviews about the use of student data by faculty and administrators at community colleges participating in Achieving the Dream: Community Colleges Count, a major national initiative designed to improve educational outcomes for community college students, particularly students of color, low-income students, and others who have traditionally faced barriers to success in college. Findings suggest three broad conclusions: (1) Achieving the Dream may have had an impact on data use at the colleges: greater use of data on student outcomes by faculty and administrators who are involved in the initiative indicates that an externally originated initiative can bring about changes in practice; (2) Producing substantive changes in culture and practice is a long process; and (3) Apparent disconnect between the extent of data use by faculty and administrators and the views and management practices of the college leadership may indicate that leadership commitment and a data-oriented approach to institutional management may not be sufficient to encourage faculty and administrators to become more data-oriented in practice, and that greater emphasis at department level is needed to encourage use of data for improvement. The authors advocate that further analysis is needed to better understand the relationship between data use and budgeting and planning efforts. Four appendixes are included: (1) Methodology for Creating Indicators of Data Use and Correlative Factor Measures; (2) Response Rate by College; (3) Demographics of Respondents; and (4) Tables on Patterns of Data Use by College. (Contains 22 tables and 2 footnotes.) [Additional funding was provided by College Spark Washington.]
Community College Research Center. Available from: CCRC Publications. Teachers College, Columbia University, 525 West 120th Street Box 174, New York, NY 10027. Tel: 212-678-3091; Fax: 212-678-3699; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Lumina Foundation for Education
Authoring Institution: Columbia University, Community College Research Center; MDRC; Achieving the Dream, Inc.
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A