How AtD Works



Achieving the Dream: Community Colleges Count (ATD) is a bold national effort to help more community college students succeed, with a special focus on students of color and low-income students.

Our approach uses ground-level strategies to accomplish big-picture outcomes. Achieving the Dream proceeds from the premise that success begets success - and every incremental milestone for every student can be positively affected by community college leaders and educators. We also work with state teams to create a policy environment that promotes innovation and moves more students to degrees and credentials. Community colleges can help deliver on the promise of the American dream - in fact, no educational enterprise is better positioned to do so.

Our Approach

ATD focuses colleges and others on understanding and making better use of student outcome data. We act on many fronts, including:

  • Institutional change: ATD's coaches, data facilitators, and supporting organizations work with leadership teams comprised of faculty, administration, staff, and others across the campus and community to build a long-term, institution-wide commitment to student success by creating a culture of evidence, engaging with diverse groups, and implementing systemic reforms.
  • Knowledge: ATD collects data from participating colleges and states, researches and evaluates change efforts, convenes learning events, and issues publications of findings.
  • Policy: ATD's state lead institutions work to create an education policy environment that encourages innovation and rewards institutions for moving greater numbers of students to degrees and credentials. Areas of focus include aligning standards for "college ready" transitions from secondary school to community colleges, careful student assessment and placement policies, identifying innovations that work, and accurate performance measures with incentives.

ATD's Goals

Achieving the Dream seeks to help more students earn postsecondary credentials, including occupational certificates and degrees, by working with institutions to improve student progression.

Our objective is to help more students:

  • Successfully complete remedial or developmental instruction and advance to credit-bearing courses
  • Enroll in and successfully complete the initial college-level or gatekeeper courses in subjects such as math and English
  • Complete the courses they take with a grade of C or better
  • Persist from one term to the next
  • Earn a certificate or associate's degree