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state peer data graphic.

SFCC is committed to using disaggregated data to develop effective strategies to fulfill our mission of helping all students achieve their educational goals. To support our efforts, we have identified three primary peer groups to inform our ability to identify equity gaps and develop ways to address them. The selection of these three groups was informed by the available data sources--Washington state data from the State Board of Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) and national data from the Integrated Postsecondary Data System (IPEDS).  

The Selection Process

In selecting our peer groups, we sought institutions within the same Carnegie classification (a framework “intended to be an objective, degree-based lens through which researchers can group and study similar institutions.” Source) The majority of SFCC’s students and our local community think of us as a two-year public community college. However, SFCC now offers four Bachelor of Applied Science programs which classifies SFCC as a four-year public, Baccalaureate/Associate’s Dominant institution.  This classification is of importance due to the data reporting structure of IPEDS.

In addition to selecting comparable institutions by classification, we also considered SFCC’s programs, students, and mission.  Over 70% of our students select a transfer intent program, which is unusually high for a community college.  SFCC students are more likely to attend full-time with only about a third attending part-time. Our average student age is also younger than typical, in part due to our robust dual enrollment programs, such as Running Start and Gateway to College. And because diversity, equity, and inclusion are important to SFCC, we also wanted to find colleges with similar population representations so we could learn from those facing similar equity challenges.  While racial and ethnic diversity is increasing in the SFCC service area, it is still less diverse than most of the state of Washington. (Source)

Using these criteria and the two data sources, SFCC selected a set of Washington state peer colleges to take advantage of the more detailed data available through SBCTC as well as an additional regional set of peer colleges and a wider national peer group, using the more limited IPEDS data source.

SFCC and Washington State Peer Data

SFCC selected four Washington state colleges based on the criteria above—Centralia College (Centralia), Clark College (Vancouver), Lower Columbia (Longview), and Pierce College District (Lakewood).

The interactive visualizations below present the percentage of students in the selected category who achieved the progress metric within the most recent reporting year. There are some differences in disaggregation due to the data being specifically about SFCC versus our state peers—we have access to more data about ourselves than others. Two key differences are 1) the ability to disaggregate with multiple filters on the SFCC only visualization while that is not possible with the state peer visualization due to the structure of the SBCTC data provided, and 2) the ability to include students who self-identify in more than one race/ethnic identity into each of those groups. This allows a fuller representation of our students’ identities but does change the headcounts.  In the SBCTC data, these students are only counted once and in the “Multiracial” group.

Disaggregated results are available by selecting different Student Filter Categories. (Note: results are not reported for any group with less than ten students both for protection of students and to avoid misinterpretation of the data due to small counts.)

Accommodations—these are students who have self-reported a learning or physical disability or have sought accommodations through the Disability Access Services.

Cohort Group—there are three cohorts, or groups of students, that we can show disaggregated results for. First-time Ever at Institution are students who may have college experience elsewhere but are new to the reporting institution. First-time Ever in College are students who do not have documented college experience elsewhere. And the Running Start cohort are students who were in the Running Start program in the reporting year.

Ever Precollege—This group includes any student who has completed at least one course in the following categories: Adult Basic Education (ABE), English as a Second Language (ESL), pre-college math, or pre-college English.

First-Generation -- these are students who have self-reported neither of their parents having earned a bachelor’s degree.

HIU Minority or HU Students of Color—based on self-report, students who identify as American Indian/Native Alaskan, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latinx, or Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander are included in the historically institutionally underserved population group. While recognizing the language issues around this term, SFCC asserts that the data focus must be on the institutions' service and support for this population not on the individuals within the group. For this reason, on the SFCC visualization we prefer HIU, historically institutionally underserved.

Race/Ethnicity—based on self-reported data. Any student who identifies with more than one race/ethnicity identity is counted in the Multiracial group. Students who choose not to provide this data element are included in the Not Reported group.

Race/Ethnicity (Alone or 2+ Races) —based on self-reported data. To more fully represent students’ race/ethnicity choices, any student who identifies with a single race/ethnicity alone and students who identify with a race/ethnicity group one of two or more. This splits out the “Multiracial” category and changes totals. Students may be counted multiple times—once in each selected category.

Received Need Based Aid — The term “need-based” is a designation that is based on a student's financial need. For example, a need-based grant might be awarded based on a student's low income. (Source) Need based aid includes financial aid categories including grants, loans, and waivers. Both federal and state reporting data include some type of need-based indicator as proxy for economic status.