In higher education, the concept of good is elusive. Do we know good when we see it? For example, while there is general agreement that community college graduation rates are too low, there is not yet consensus about what would constitute a good, or an outstanding, graduation rate.
At community colleges, benchmarking and benchmarks are about understanding the facts and using them to assess performance, make appropriate comparisons, establish baselines, set goals, and monitor progress — all in the service of improving practice so more students succeed.
As part of this practice, the Center for Community College Student Engagement encourages colleges to use data that can support reasonable comparisons both within and across institutions and to have broad, campuswide conversations to address key follow-up questions: What are our priorities here, in this college? In what areas do we need and wish to excel? And how good is good enough — for our students, our college, our community?