Key milestones of the national Achieving the Dream initiative include:
- Successfully complete remedial or developmental instruction and advance to credit-bearing courses;
- Enroll in and successfully complete the initial college-level or gatekeeper courses in subjects such as math and English;
- Complete the courses they take with a grade of C or better;
- Persist from one term to the next; and
- Earn a certificate or associate degree
These outcomes are tracked on a "longitudinal" basis by cohorts of degree and certificate-seeking students entering NC State each fall. AtD wants to know how many of these new students hit their milestones by the end of their first year, second year, and so on. The annual outcomes of each cohort are then compared against one another to see if student success interventions are working.
Further, AtD asks colleges to "break out" data by certain characteristics such as sex, race and age. This helps the college to determine if there are certain subgroups of students that might benefit from success interventions related to AtD.