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Va. community college dubbed 'leader'

Tidewater Community College in Norfolk, the second-largest two-year institution in Virginia, was named Monday to a list of 21 Leader Colleges by a nonprofit group for superior performance.

The schools, including community colleges in Houston, Cleveland and Fort Lauderdale, were chosen for "improvement on key student achievement indicators" and are meant to provide a model for other schools to follow.

The slate was chosen by a national nonprofit called Achieving the Dream: Community Colleges Count, a group committed to helping community college students succeed, according to a release.

No school in the Washington region was chosen, although some two-year institutions in the D.C. suburbs have strong reputations nationally. Montgomery College, in particular, has been short-listed in tallies of top community colleges.

All of the schools selected by the nonprofit have shown three years of "sustained improvement" in such areas as course completion, advancing beyond remedial courses, completing college-level math and English, retention and completion of certificates or degrees, according to the nonprofit.

Each college also "successfully implemented at least one student success intervention or initiative that achieved documented improvement in student outcomes that are of sufficient scale to benefit a substantial proportion of students," according to the release.

Tidewater Community College has a 62-percent retention rate among full-time students -- that's the share of students who return from one year to the next. Twelve percent of students graduate within 150 percent of the allotted time, and 8 percent transfer successfully to other schools.

Montgomery College, by comparison, has a 70-percent retention rate, a 10-percent graduation rate and a 32-percent transfer rate, according to federal data.

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By Daniel de Vise  |  February 1, 2010; 8:34 PM ET
Categories:  Community Colleges , Pedagogy , Research  | Tags: Montgomery College, academic research, community colleges, graduation rates  
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