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Resource Library

Sharing knowledge is at the heart of our mission. Explore Ascendium’s growing library of publications that examine the complex challenges facing postsecondary learners, and how we’re helping our partners address them.

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AR 2022 NewsRelease Featured

2022 Education Philanthropy Report: Meeting the Moment

April 2023
This year’s report is all about overcoming the challenges presented by our changing world. Inside, you’ll read about the tremendous efforts of our grant partners to improve postsecondary education and workforce training systems so that learners from low-income backgrounds can succeed beyond high school.
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Teachers College, Columbia University

Mapping Community College Finance Systems to Develop Equitable and Effective Finance Policy

March 2023
With a view toward equity, researchers from HCM Strategists have mapped and compared three very different state systems to reveal the diversity and complexity of how community colleges are financed. They also provide an analytical framework for informed and effective reforms so that these institutions can be better equipped to help their students complete degrees.
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MDRC ImprovingOutcomes

Improving Outcomes for Men of Color in College: Recommendations for Advancing Success in the “Dual Pandemics”

March 2023
Across colleges and universities, the COVID-19 health crisis and racial injustice have contributed to startling enrollment declines for men of color. This is particularly true at community colleges, which serve as a primary pathway into postsecondary education. This brief from MDRC’s College Completion Strategy Guide shares strategies that colleges and universities can use to support this population of learners.
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CAPR Multiple Measures Assessment Toolkit

December 2022
Giving students multiple ways to demonstrate their skills helps ensure all students who are ready for college-level math and English courses have the opportunity to take them, which can make access to these courses more equitable. This toolkit from the Center for the Analysis of Postsecondary Readiness — led by the Community College Research Center and MDRC — is designed to help colleges reform assessment and placement using multiple measures.
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FacilitatingInst resource

Facilitating Institutional Transformation

October 2022
JFF’s Student Success Center Network is dedicated to advancing socioeconomic mobility by equitably increasing the number of students earning postsecondary degrees that lead to good jobs. This report summarizes findings from the first five years of the Student Success Center Network's Coaching Program, including case studies and lessons learned.
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How Tools Support Coaches and Student Success Center Coaching Programs

September 2022
Jobs for the Future, Community College Research Initiatives and Achieving the Dream created a set of tools and resources to assist both coaches and leadership in its Student Success Center Network in directly supporting the process of complex institutional change. This brief shares which tools resonated the most with state-based Student Success Center leadership and coaches, how they were used, their benefits and the importance of training to augment their impact on student success.
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CCRC FundingGuidedPathways
Community College Resource Center

Funding Guided Pathways Reforms at Small Colleges: Three Ohio Community Colleges Show How to Do It

September 2022
This report from the Community College Research Center describes how small colleges can fund and sustain guided pathways reforms. It is based on activities at three small Ohio community colleges that have made large-scale changes in practice based on the guided pathways model over the past several years. College leaders credit these changes with improving student progression and completion.
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New America

Why Community College Bachelor’s Degrees? Similarities and Differences Across Urban and Rural Settings

September 2022
While a certificate or associate degree may have been enough to obtain a job in sectors like healthcare in the past, more employers are now requiring bachelor’s degrees. This brief from New America explains how allowing community colleges to offer bachelor’s degrees in high-demand fields can be beneficial to the learner, employer and local economy, especially in rural areas.
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capr resource

The Next Phase of Placement Reform: Moving Toward Equity-Centered Practice

September 2022
Many colleges still use a process by which entering students are tested to determine if they're academically prepared for college-level math and English courses. These single, high-stakes tests have proven to be ineffective predictors of students' real abilities to succeed in college-level courses. They also contribute to disparities in early college success rates for learners from low-income backgrounds and adult learners. While changing the ways students get assessed and placed is a key area of reform, it's not by itself enough to eliminate those disparities. This brief from CAPR highlights promising strategies for addressing barriers to equitable access to and success in college-level courses, including barriers that may persist after broad placement reform has been implemented.
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Ten Ways Institutional Coaching Makes A Difference

August 2022
Institutional coaches are trusted advisors who help facilitate change conversations, share resources and knowledge and provide guidance to college administrators, faculty and staff engaged in implementing large-scale change initiatives. This report from Jobs for the Future illuminates how coaching positively impacts the people and institutions engaged in supporting guided pathways and other student success initiatives.
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Education Commission of the States

Do the Details of Corequisite Supports Matter?

July 2022
Community college systems and individual colleges have made considerable investments in corequisite supports, and these supports have been implemented in myriad ways. Yet, despite overall favorable evidence of improvements, we know remarkably little about how to design corequisite supports to maximize students’ success. This report from Strong Start to Finish examines corequisite designs of math and English courses across the Colorado Community Colleges System to identify the features of corequisite support courses that are most strongly associated with students’ short- and long-term outcomes.
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Institute for Evidence-Based Change

Implementing Caring Campus With Nonacademic Staff: Lessons From Participating Colleges

June 2022
In addition to the many structural barriers that impede the success of learners from low-income backgrounds, there are also cultural barriers — those that make learners feel isolated and overwhelmed and like they don't belong. A new report from the Community College Resource Center shows how community colleges can confront these barriers and increase retention by intentionally engaging nonacademic staff to build a culture of belonging. Specifically, the report discusses the early promise of Caring Campus/Staff, a program designed and administered by the Institute for Evidence-Based Change to enlist nonacademic staff in these efforts.
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