Community Colleges

COMMUNITY COLLEGES….How good are community colleges compared to 4-year universities? A few years ago a group of educational reformers created an annual survey (the NSSE) that measured how well universities implemented research-proven best teaching practices, and then followed that up with a similar survey for community colleges (the CCSSE). Kevin Carey writes in our current issue that the results were surprising:

On a number of important measures, the [community] colleges on our list outperform their four-year peers. More than two-thirds of the community college students ask questions in class or contribute to class discussions, compared to only half of the four-year students. Student-faculty interaction is also better — the community college students are more likely to get prompt feedback on performance and to interact with their professors during and outside of class. And the level of academic challenge is more than comparable — the community college students were more likely to work harder than they thought they could to meet their professor’s expectations.

Four-year universities generally don’t release their survey results, but community colleges do and we used the CCSSE data to rank the top 30 community colleges in the country. The complete list is here. Methodology is here and here. A profile of Cascadia College, the #2 community college on our list, is here.