Benchmarks of Effective Educational Practice

The five benchmarks encompass 38 engagement items from the CCSSE survey that reflect many of the most important aspects of the student experience. These institutional practices and student behaviors are some of the more powerful contributors to effective teaching, learning, student retention, and student success. The benchmarks are briefly described below.

Active and Collaborative Learning
Students learn more when they are actively involved in their education and have opportunities to think about and apply what they are learning in different settings. Through collaboration with others to solve problems or master challenging content, students develop valuable skills that prepare them to deal with the kinds of situations and problems they will encounter in the workplace, community, and their personal lives.


Student Effort
Students' own behaviors contribute significantly to their learning and the likelihood that they will successfully attain their educational goals. "Time on task" is a key variable, and there are a variety of settings and means through which students may apply themselves to the learning process.


Academic Challenge
Challenging intellectual and creative work is central to student learning and collegiate quality. Ten items from The Community College Student Report correspond to components of academic challenge including the nature and amount of assigned academic work, the complexity of cognitive tasks presented to students, and the standards faculty members use to evaluate student performance.


Student-Faculty Interaction
The more contact students have with their teachers, the more likely they are to learn effectively and to persist toward achievement of their educational goals. Personal interaction with faculty members strengthens students' connections to the college and helps them focus on their academic progress. Working with an instructor on a project or serving with faculty members on a college committee lets students see first-hand how experts identify and solve practical problems. Through such interactions, faculty members become role models, mentors, and guides for continuous, lifelong learning.


Support for Learners
Students perform better and are more satisfied at colleges that are committed to their success and cultivate positive working and social relationships among different groups on campus. Community college students also benefit from services targeted to assist them with academic and career planning, academic skill development, and other issues that may affect both learning and retention.

For more information, please contact Anthony Ulibarri, (505) 428-1022,

Santa Fe Community College | 6401 Richards Ave. | Santa Fe, New Mexico 87508 | 505-428-1000
Empower Students, Strengthen Community. | Empoderar a los Estudiantes, Fortalecer a la Comunidad.