Data at Your Fingertips: How the CTE LaunchBoard Can Enhance Faculty Conversations About Student Success

LaunchBoard Project Manager
LaunchBoard Field Director & Digital Media faculty at Golden West College

In the classroom, faculty develop a deep understanding of students’ mastery of competencies taught in a specific course, but they may be less aware of what happens to those students in subsequent terms. Career technical education (CTE) faculty can now find information regarding their students’ further progress by using the CTE LaunchBoard. By providing easily-accessible information on program enrollment, student completion, employment outcomes, and alignment with labor market demand, the LaunchBoard can support departmental, college-wide, and regional conversations about how to improve student transitions between K-12, college, and the workforce.

What is the LaunchBoard?

The LaunchBoard aggregates a number of data sources to provide a more holistic view of students and their progress in CTE, including the following:

  • Chancellor’s Office MIS data on student characteristics, progress, and completion
  • Intersegmental  information about student participation in workforce training prior to enrolling in community college and whether students major in similar fields once they enter a four-year college
  • Unemployment insurance wage records that capture employment retention and earnings
  • Labor market information regarding historical and projected job openings, as well as average salaries for specific occupations within a region
  • CTE Employment Outcomes Survey results on students’ employment in their fields of study and third-party certifications

The LaunchBoard is supported by the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office and hosted by Cal-PASS Plus. The concept for this tool came from a series of statewide data meetings that included faculty, deans, college administrators, technical assistance providers, and policy makers. The major organizations that have contributed to its design and implementation are the Chancellor’s Office, Cal-PASS Plus, Centers of Excellence, the RP Group, and WestEd.

The LaunchBoard is currently in its “1.0” iteration, meaning that various data have been aggregated and displayed in a dashboard format. Faculty are encouraged to test out the tool and send feedback using an embedded survey on the Cal-PASS Plus website. Your input will be used to refine the tool and to design items that will be built in version 2.0, such as enhanced labor market information, a program review report, and expanded K-12 to community college pathway mapping.

How can faculty access the LaunchBoard?

The LaunchBoard is available on the Cal-PASS Plus website at Access requires a Cal-PASS Plus user name and password, which are only issued to college employees. You can request access from the LaunchBoard website by submitting your name, job title, and institution ( Once your information is verified, you will be sent log-in information that will allow you to see information from your college only.  Before you receive a user name and password, you can test a demo version of the LaunchBoard by visiting

How does it work?

The LaunchBoard is divided into three sections.

Program Snapshot

The Program Snapshot tab enables practitioners to access information on general program areas—such as Nursing or Accounting—at their college, with the ability to select the academic year for which metrics are displayed.  Information is organized in eight categories:

  • Enrollments
  • Capacity to serve students
  • Alignment with other educational segments (coming in Fall 2014)
  • Student participation in support services
  • Attainment of key milestones
  • Community college and third-party credentials
  • Employment and wage gain
  • Employment demand and trends

So, for example, in the Milestones section, you could select Automotive Technology in 2011-12 and see the rate at which students completed courses, succeeded in courses, enrolled in the following term, and attained more than 8 units, as well as their average grade point average. Or, by looking in the Credentials section, you would find out the rate at which students completed locally-issued credentials, certificates, degrees, and third-party credentials.

Each metric shows the selected year’s figures as well as a five-year trend, with an arrow indicating whether the trend is increasing or decreasing. Each metric can also be disaggregated to understand how these figures vary by specific student characteristics, including:

  • Gender
  • Ethnicity
  • Age
  • Disabled student status
  • Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOPS) status

Common Metrics

This tab—which will be populated in Fall 2014—enables users to view information on how students performed on 34 Common Metrics that are associated with funding from the Chancellor’s Office Workforce and Economic Development Division.  Similar to the Program Snapshot tab, comparison to previous years’ data and disaggregated results by student characteristics will be included (if data are available).  

Additional Tracking Tool

The Additional Tracking tool can be used to record participation in CTE activities that are outside the application enrollment process, such as contract education or career fairs. Outcomes for these students are automatically mapped and included in the Common Metrics tab.  The tool can either be used for participants to self-register or for learner information to be bulk-uploaded.  

How is the LaunchBoard useful for faculty?

The information in the LaunchBoard, particularly in the Program Snapshot tab, is helpful for processes like program review and new program approval. Faculty can log in and examine how students are faring in their program or compare wages and projected employer demand for specific occupations. The LaunchBoard is also helpful for shining the light on program successes, particularly in building pathways between K-12 and college, as well as training experienced workers who are not seeking to complete a degree or certificate. With ready access to student progress, outcomes, and labor market information, faculty can hold rich conversations about ways to support students in attaining their goals and transitioning into the workforce.

Where can I find more information on the LaunchBoard?

Visit the dedicated LaunchBoard page on the Chancellor’s Office “Doing What Matters” website ( for a range of resources including the following:

  • Recorded webinars on LaunchBoard features
  • Short videos on topics like how to use the Additional Tracking Tool and why it is important to capture more comprehensive metrics for CTE
  • Short guides and PowerPoints on ways to use LaunchBoard data to support common college decision-making processes
  • Dates for face-to-face trainings on the LaunchBoard

Can I get help with using the data?

The Centers of Excellence, the RP Group, and WestEd are available to support LaunchBoard use. The Centers of Excellence can provide insight regarding wage outcomes and labor market information. The RP Group provides assistance to researchers on interpreting student milestone and success data that are available through the LaunchBoard. WestEd is providing trainings that help regions leverage LaunchBoard data and will develop a cadre of “super-users” who can work with practitioners on understanding and using the LaunchBoard.

Where do I direct questions or comments about the LaunchBoard?

Your feedback will be very helpful in the next phase of the LaunchBoard design, as well as for developing additional training and support resources. Please send any questions or comments to launchboard [at]