Achieving the Dream

About AtD

Achieving the Dream (AtD) is a multi-year national initiative to help improve student success metrics for community college students. The initiative is particularly focused on improving outcomes for students who have previously been underserved or underrepresented in higher education, including low-income students and students of color.

Using data to drive change

  • AtD is focused on the use of data to make informed decisions that can help to improve student outcomes and student success. 

  • Through AtD, participating colleges assess what is happening on their campuses in an open, straightforward, and rigorous way to help make changes that will improve their internal practices and culture. 

  • In the AtD model, every decision made at a college, from setting educational strategies and allocating resources to scheduling classes and organizing student services, is grounded in data about student outcomes.

  • Central to this work is being open and forth-right about current performance; setting measurable goals that consider outcomes of all students; and making lasting, institutional change to achieve them. Because there are disparities in student outcomes at community colleges, this work includes disaggregating student achievement data and breaking it down by race, age and other demographic characteristics to better understand and begin to close performance gaps.

  • While many colleges look at data at single points in time, AtD colleges track cohorts of students over a period of time to understand longitudinal trends within the student body.

  • The initiative also collects data from the colleges and assembles it in the AtD database, which allows researchers to assess the progress of a group of community college students.

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