Welcome to Edmonds' Achieving the Dream Website

  Achieving the Dream: 
5 Principles 
5 Steps 
1 Goal 

Five Steps:

Achieving the Dream helps colleges transform themselves according to the principles of institutional improvement through Achieving the Dream’s five-step process. While no two institutions are alike, by following the Achieving the Dream five-step process for increasing student success, institutions large and small, rural and urban, single campus and multi-campus are helping more students realize success. The steps are as follows:

Step 1. The first step in the Achieving the Dream improvement process is for the college’s leadership to make a clear commitment to improving student outcomes. College leaders are expected to make the improvement of student outcomes an institutional priority, and to communicate that priority to internal and external stakeholders. Leadership support for the initiative sends a signal to faculty, staff, and others that Achieving the Dream is more than just another project.

Step 2. Once the college has made a commitment to improving student outcomes, the next step is to make an honest and forthright assessment of performance with respect to student outcomes, identify barriers to student achievement and opportunities for improvement, and explicitly articulate those that will be addressed as priorities.

Step 3. The third step in the Achieving the Dream process for increasing student success is to engage internal and external stakeholders in the development of strategies for addressing priority problems and improving student achievement.

Step 4. Achieving the Dream institutions have found it most effective
to focus their energies on implementing a limited number of strategies (usually two to four). At many institutions, the core team initially oversees the implementation of strategies. As time goes on, a standing committee or another established body responsible for monitoring student success at the college should take on this role.

Step 5. As strategies prove successful and are brought to scale, colleges are expected to repeat the initial steps of this process, identifying new problem areas and developing, testing, and expanding effective approaches to addressing those problems.

One Goal – Success for All Students:

Achieving the Dream seeks to help more students earn postsecondary credentials, including occupational certificates and degrees. Since community college students often take several years to earn certificates or degrees, Achieving the Dream works with institutions to improve student progression through intermediate milestones.

These indicators include the rates at which students:

1 Successfully complete remedial or developmental instruction and advance to credit-bearing courses

2 Enroll in and successfully complete the initial college-level or gatekeeper courses in subjects such as Math and English 

3 Complete the courses they take with a grade of “C” or better (HELC courses)

4 Persistence from one term to the next (retention rates)

5 Attain a credential (graduation rate)