Research & Evaluation Services

The research & evaluation division of the RP Group, formerly known as the Center for Student Success, utilizes the skills and unique perspectives of college researchers, faculty, and administrators.

The RP Group has led dozens of system- and college-level research and evaluation projects that have resulted in significant changes to the California community college system, including the laying of the groundwork for the statewide accountability system (ARCC), the modification of admission requirements for the registered nursing programs, and the publication Basic Skills as the Foundation for Success in the California Community Colleges (popularly known as the Poppy Copy), which was instrumental in the development of the Basic Skills Initiative and provided the framework for evaluating college-level basic skills programs throughout the state.

The success of RP Group projects is rooted in their design. Each project is led by a unique team of community college staff, faculty, and administrators who have proven research skills and a direct understanding of the subject at hand. Projects culminate in audience-specific products that stimulate discussion, improve outcomes, and strengthen student success.

You can read more about our specific research, evaluation, technical assistance, and planning services here.

Sample Current Projects

Student Support (Re)Defined examines how student support, both inside and outside the classroom, can be delivered in a cost-effective manner so that community colleges can narrow the achievement gap for Latino and African-American students and enable more students to achieve transfer, a degree and/or certificate.

The Basic Skills Research Project, a collaboration with UC Berkeley’s School of Education, investigates the state of basic skills instruction in the community college classrooms.

Student Transcript-Enhanced Placement Study (STEPS) evaluates the utility of using high school GPA and math and English grades as predictors of students’ abilities to pass college-level coursework, to help inform the adoption of a common assessment process in California community colleges.

The CTE Employment Outcomes Study is a statewide survey to identify employment outcomes for students who participate in CTE programs (both completers and leavers), resulting in templates and reports for use both by individual colleges and the full system.

Completion by Design is a project of the Gates Foundation that encourages colleges to increase the rates at which students enter and successfully complete programs of study; the RP Group is supporting participating colleges to use evidence to redesign their practices and creating resources to share lessons learned.

Evaluation of the California Acceleration Project examines the impact on student outcomes of accelerated curricula in English and math in the context of how the project was implemented on each participating campus.

Sample Past Projects

Basic Skills Initiative Reports reviewed the research literature on transitions from high school to college and adult education to community college.

Strengthening Transfer in Professional Pathways Project is a comprehensive study of student transfer between California’s community colleges and public and private universities in five career-oriented disciplines.

Contextualized Teaching & Learning Primer provides an overview of national, state, and regional efforts to incubate and grow contextualized teaching and learning, features promising practices, and makes the case for the implementation of this approach in the community college system.

Serving Foster Youth in California Community Colleges studied how community colleges are serving the needs of emancipated foster youth, examining program successes and challenges, and providing recommendations for programmatic improvements.

California Community College System Environmental Scan identified
internal and external trends that are shaping the future of the System and its 72
community college districts, prepared as part of the Chancellor’s Office statewide strategic plan.