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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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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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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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Complete College America

No Middle Ground: Advancing Equity Through Practice

June 2022
No Middle Ground provides a guide for incorporating equity into Complete College America’s evidence-based strategies for college completion. The report outlines the importance of language and intentionality in creating programs and policies to disrupt dysfunctional systems and pave the way for all students to complete college.
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MDRC ISP today

Informed Self-Placement Today: An Exploratory Study of Student Outcomes and Placement Practices

June 2022
Informed Self-Placement is a placement system in which students decide their math and English placement level based on information provided by colleges. This report from CAPR provides an opportunity for institutions to evaluate their placement systems relative to the degree of choice and guidance provided, and to consider changes that may boost student progression and success.
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Community College Research Center

Research Evidence on Ask-Connect-Inspire-Plan Onboarding Practices

May 2022
New research behind a framework aimed at enriching learners’ experiences as they choose and plan a program of study has been shared by the Community College Research Center (CCRC). This brief describes the motivation, research evidence and equity implications that allow CCRC’s Ask-Connect-Inspire-Plan framework to serve as a useful strategy for colleges to engage learners and encourage completion.
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New America

Evaluating the Student Experience at Community College Baccalaureate Programs

May 2022
Community college baccalaureate programs can be an invaluable resource for students who otherwise lack avenues for obtaining a four-year degree. In this brief, New America profiles three students who describe what it was like to work toward a bachelor’s degree and why they chose to enroll at a community college to do so.
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mdrc resource 05 03 2022

College Completion Strategy Guide

April 2022
The College Completion Strategy Guide — a collaboration among MDRC, the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association, The Education Trust and The Institute for College Access and Success — offers guidance on evidence-based strategies to increase college completion. The briefs in this guide summarize the research evidence on important topics in postsecondary education and provide direction to policymakers and institutional leaders seeking to advance student success and equity.
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2021 annual report

2021 Education Philanthropy Report: Stronger Together

March 2022
In 2021, we saw the impact partnership and collaboration can make in helping transform the lives of learners from low-income backgrounds. Our report tells the story of our philanthropy during 2021 and what can be achieved when organizations work together.
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Community College Baccalaureate Programs as an Equity Strategy

March 2022
This brief from New America looks at the emergence of community college baccalaureate (CCB) programs and how students are faring in these relatively new programs through an equity lens. The brief presents compelling evidence that CCBs can reduce the need for community college students to transfer to a university to complete a bachelor’s degree — a common barrier to timely degree completion.
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TLA Artboard 6

Teaching-Learning-Assessment (TLA) Framework

March 2022
The American Association of Colleges and Universities has developed a practical, web-based tool to help campuses engaged in the guided pathways model of student success. This framework centers student success and equity and recommends measurable steps that faculty, staff and institutional leaders can take to address persisting gaps in student learning outcomes.
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Placing a Hold on Posts

Placing a Hold on Postsecondary Student Success

January 2022
This new Ascendium-supported brief by Education Commission of the States analyzes administrative holds, offering policy examples and considerations for postsecondary leaders working to ensure holds don’t impede learner progress. Evidence is mounting that such holds can negatively impact institution and state graduation and workforce goals. They also disproportionally affect students who are underrepresented in postsecondary education, namely students from low-income backgrounds and students of color.
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