ATD History and Strategies
Conceived in 2004 by Lumina Foundation for Education and seven national partner organizations, Achieving the Dream is focused on creating a "culture of evidence" on community college campuses in which data collection and analysis drive efforts to identify problems that prevent students from succeeding—particularly low-income students and students of color—and develop programs to help them stay in school and receive a certificate or diploma. With these new institutions, Achieving the Dream’s network now includes more than 130 institutions in 24 states and the District of Columbia, reaching more than one million students.
Each Achieving the Dream college develops strategies based on its analysis of institutional strengths, problem areas, and achievement gaps. Many colleges are striving to improve developmental education, because their data revealed large numbers of students who require developmental courses and low rates of passing and retention in these courses. Other strategies that are being pursued by Achieving the Dream colleges include the following:
- Improving gatekeeper courses
- Improving students’ first-year experience through closer advising, learning communities, orientation programs, student success courses, and other approaches
- Piloting or expansion of learning communities
- Providing better academic and personal advising for at-risk students
- Improving or enhancing student support services
- Tutoring and supplemental instruction
- Strengthening K-14 links to improve high school students’ preparation for college and improve community college students’ successful transfer to four-year institutions
- Engaging the community in developing strategies and providing support for student success
- Using data more effectively to monitor student outcomes and improve college practices.