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CCSSE's survey instrument, The Community College Student Report, provides information on student engagement, a key indicator of learning and, therefore, of the quality of community colleges. The survey, administered to community college students, asks questions that assess institutional practices and student behaviors that are correlated highly with student learning and student retention. The Community College Student Report is a versatile, research-based tool appropriate for multiple uses. It is a:
- Benchmarking instrument — establishing national norms on educational practice and performance by community and technical colleges.
- Diagnostic tool — identifying areas in which a college can enhance students' educational experiences.
- Monitoring device — documenting and improving institutional effectiveness over time.
ICCB, as the state coordinating board for community colleges, administers the Public Community College Act in a manner that maximizes the ability of the community colleges to serve their communities. ICCB receives and disseminates legislative appropriations for the community colleges and in so doing serves as the regulatory body for the colleges. As part of this regulatory function, ICCB receives extensive data reports from the colleges that are used as a basis for state funding and ensuring compliance with state legislation.
IPEDS is a system of interrelated surveys conducted annually by the U.S. National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). IPEDS gathers information from every college, university, and technical and vocational institution that participates in the federal student financial aid programs. The Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, requires that institutions that participate in federal student aid programs report data on enrollments, program completions, graduation rates, faculty and staff, finances, institutional prices and student financial aid. The data is made available to students and parents through the College Navigator college search website, to researchers and others through the IPEDS Data Center. IPEDS provides basic data needed to describe and analyze trends in postsecondary education in the United States, in terms of the numbers of students enrolled, staff employed, dollars expended and degrees earned. Congress, federal agencies, state governments, education providers, professional associations, private businesses, media, students and parents and others rely on IPEDS data for this basic information on postsecondary institutions.
Responding to requirements for inter-institutional comparisons, Johnson County Community College established the NCCBP with other colleges from across the United States to standardize a nationwide benchmark reporting process. NCCBP is the largest provider of community college benchmarking and peer comparison services in the nation. Since 2004, 353 community colleges have participated in the current data-collection and reporting process. In 2010, 268 community colleges from across the United States participated in NCCBP. Participation in NCCBP is voluntary.
Sightlines was founded in 2000 as a facilities asset advisory firm. Sightlines' founding mission was to provide campus leadership with the ability to link facilities operating strategy and financial capacity by providing superior and independent facilities advisory services, thereby fulfilling the need to accurately and decisively measure, monitor and benchmark the physical asset performance of campuses. Sightlines has the largest verified facilities database in the country and leads campuses through a discovery process for facilities management and environmental stewardship.