Capturing the Adult Learner: Learner Progress on College Choices for Adults

2011 August 31
College Choices for Adults releases new data to track how learners are retained and complete at partner institutions

Boulder, Colorado — College Choices for Adults (, an information-rich online resource that helps adult learners make informed choices about distance education options, has added a new data item, learner progress. “As institutions who serve adult students, we recognized that the IPEDS measures of graduation and retention rates were not wholly representative of our student populations,” said Ed Klonoski, chair of the Executive Committee for Transparency by Design and President, Charter Oak State College. “The Learner Progress metrics open up the students counted to include part-time and transfer-in students, thus giving a more inclusive view of how our students progress and complete.”

College Choices for Adults – a project by the national Transparency by Design initiative, which works to further transparency and accountability in online higher education – helps adult learners who plan to enroll in Web-based, competency-based, or other distance education programs make the best possible choices. It provides a rich array of program-level data that has been reviewed by a leading higher education nonprofit, WCET (the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education Cooperative for Educational Technologies) for quality assurance. It also provides additional resources through “the Guide” to help adult learners understand attending college while balancing family, work and community commitments.

“These learner progress data give potential adult learners a more robust view of how students like them – many of whom are returning to college and doing so part-time – are persisting and completing at our partner institutions,” says Cali Morrison, manager of major grants at WCET. “We have also extended our reporting period to reflect both 150% and 200% of ‘normal time-to-degree’(as defined by IPEDS), to be even more inclusive of part-time students who tend to take longer to graduate.”


About Transparency by Design, WCET, and Lumina Foundation for Education

Transparency by Design (, funded by a grant from Lumina Foundation and annual dues from member institutions, calls for regionally accredited, adult-serving institutions which offer some or all programs at a distance or online to commit to increasing the number of adult learners who find success in higher education by providing an unprecedented level of data to inform college choice. Visit the Transparency by Design Website for a list of participating institutions and information on joining the initiative.

WCET, the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education Cooperative for Educational Technologies (, is a cooperative network of member institutions and organizations that provides a leading source of critical thinking and expertise on the evolving role of technology in higher education. WCET has a long-standing tradition of involvement with quality assurance, having been an integral part of the Best Practices for Electronically-offered Degree and Certificate Programs project, along with the Council of Regional Accrediting Agencies, and also a partner with the Campus Computing Survey in administering the first “Managing Online Programs” survey.

Lumina Foundation (, an Indianapolis-based private foundation, is committed to enrolling and graduating more students from college—especially 21st century students: low-income students, students of color, first-generation students and adult learners. Lumina’s goal is to increase the percentage of Americans who hold high-quality degrees and credentials to 60 percent by 2025. Lumina pursues this goal in three ways: by identifying and supporting effective practice, through public policy advocacy, and by using our communications and convening power to build public will for change.