Chico Framework

In his book, Instruction to Deliver, Sir Michael Barber, notes “… there must be some kind of delivery chain if there is to be delivery.  If it cannot be specified, nothing will happen, which was precisely the case in part of Whitehall before 2001.” (p. 86)  Further,  “Once the chain has been identified, those responsible for delivery can then think through how best to exert influence at each link and, when the plan is being put into practice, it is possible to check whether each link in the chain is effective.” (p. 86)

Accordingly, the Chico Graduation Initiative Team devoted its initial efforts to modeling Chico’s apparent delivery chain for its graduation rate targets.  Chico has a rich history of high quality programs, extraordinary faculty and staff support for students and high rates of student success.  Articulating the many elements of its delivery chain and analyzing the links within the chain, it was felt, would help contributing units / programs improve the effectiveness and efficiency of their respective work and better assess their value-added to the desired outcomes.


Chico Delivery Chain

Our initial experience confirms Barber’s statement that an explicit model of the graduation delivery chain serves as a foundation for program planning, implementation and evaluation.

Upon building the chain model, delivery team members were able to reflect on the role of individual chain links in delivering desired outcomes, on the challenge of integrating the links into a true delivery system, and on the need for intentional management of the system dynamics. 

Program – Chain Element Template

To be fully aware of and to be able to better understand the role of each of the chain elements in the accomplishment of the Graduation Initiative goals, the Graduation Initiative Team developed a program template to bring about a common language whereby to clarify and depict a program within the delivery chain.  The program template also serves as a foundation for program planning and evaluation.  It provides an opportunity to engage program stakeholders in a discussion about the program’s links in the Graduation Initiative.

Milestones and On-track Indicators

Like other institutions, CSU, Chico routinely gathers data on retention and graduation rates.  While these data do tell a story, they do not tell us why students fall of the path to degree completion nor do they suggest specific practice and policy interventions.  By monitoring instead a set of intermediate outcomes that students achieve en route to degree completions—milestones with associated on-track indicators—we can learn which students are making progress and which one are not—and why.  Data thus gathered can help design interventions or inform policy changes to increase student success by reducing leaks in the pipeline to graduation.  Longitudinal monitoring of on-track indicators relative to milestones can help us assess the impact of the intervention efforts.