Report: Guided Pathways are Working in Tennessee’s Community Colleges - Higher Education
Higher Education News and Jobs

Report: Guided Pathways are Working in Tennessee’s Community Colleges


Early indicators about the comprehensive guided pathways model implemented by the 13 community colleges in the Tennessee Board of Regents system show that it is helping the state’s students earn more credits, pass key courses and move towards graduation, according to a new report from the Community College Research Center (CCRC) at Teachers College.

In the report “Building Guided Pathways to Community College Student Success: Promising Practices and Early Evidence from Tennessee,” CCRC researchers noted that Tennessee’s community colleges are the furthest along any state system in employing their so-called “Tennessee completion practices.” Attuned to various contexts at the 13 college campuses, the guided-pathway practices give students a tailored and streamlined approach to entering, navigating and completing degree programs in alignment with their education and career goals.

The report findings include:

-From 2010 to 2016, Tennessee community colleges doubled rates at which students hit key credit accumulation benchmarks and almost tripled rates for completing college math and English. The Tennessee Promise requirement that students take 12 credits a semester likely explained some of the increases, but not all.

-Racial gaps in the completion of college-level English in students’ first year narrowed between Black students (55 percent) and White Students (65 percent) and were nearly eliminated between White students and Hispanic students (64 percent) in 2016.

-The percentage of students in college for the first time who completed college-level math and English in the first year went from 15 percent in 2010 to 40 percent in 2016.

-Sixty-three percent of first-time students completed English in their first year in 2016, compared to 43 percent in 2010; 45 percent completed math in their first year compared to 18 percent in 2010.

CCRC’s report also examined how each of the colleges fared in implementing completion practices on mapping pathways to student end goals, helping students choose and enter a program pathway, keeping students on path and ensuring that students are learning.

The next steps for improving community college completion in Tennessee include supporting returning adult learners and helping students explore career and college opportunities while still in high school, researchers said. Read the full report here.

Tiffany Pennamon can be reached at You can follow her on Twitter @tiffanypennamon.

APLU, USU Provides Grants to Eight Schools to Promote Community-University Partnerships The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) and Coalition of Urban Serving Universities (USU) have announced grants to eight public universities supporting the piloting and scaling of university-community partnerships focused on adva...
Conversations Continue on the State of Free College WASHINGTON – As conversations continue about the benefits and challenges surrounding free college programs throughout the nation, institutions, states and the federal government have an opportunity to improve college affordability and move towards eq...
Merger of Two NJ Colleges to Move Forward Cumberland County College and Rowan College at Gloucester County officials have set plans to move forward with a merger process that would establish a unified Rowan College of South Jersey with 10,000 students. Leaders from the two New Jersey coll...
Report: TN, NY Free College Programs Fall Short on Improving College Affordability Mamie Voight New analyses of two states’ free college programs indicate that the widely praised programs fall short on making college affordable for lower-income and working-class students. The Institute for Higher Education Policy’s (IHEP) eq...
Semantic Tags: