Social Capital in Data-Driven Community College Reform

Monica Reid Kerrigan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The current rhetoric around using data to improve community college student outcomes with only limited research on data-driven decision-making (DDDM) within postsecondary education compels a more comprehensive understanding of colleges’ capacity for using data to inform decisions. Based on an analysis of faculty and administrators’ perceptions and behaviors at 41 community colleges that participated in an initiative to improve student success, an argument is presented to include social capital as an explicit component of the capacity of community colleges for using data on student outcomes to increase student success. Building on Newmann, King, and Rigdon’s (1997) conceptualization of schools’ organizational capacity to meet accountability expectations and Smylie and Evans’ (2006) exploration of the role of Coleman’s (1988) social capital in policy implementation, this study found a relationship between the presence of forms of social capital as part of the organizational capacity for DDDM and the frequency and extent of data use among faculty and administrators. In light of research on organizational learning that suggests that social capital creates opportunities for the creation of new knowledge—such as possible solutions for persistent problems of student success—and research on organizational routines as mechanisms for change and preservation in organizations, this article concludes with recommendations for community colleges undertaking data-driven educational reform.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)603-618
Number of pages16
JournalCommunity College Journal of Research and Practice
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 3 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education


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