Higher ed leaders are increasingly leveraging advanced data and analytics to understand the needs of their students, administrators, and institutions. These data-driven decisions can make a powerful impact on things like student success, enrollment, and resource allocation - all of which will have lasting effects on institutional effectiveness.
It’s likely that your institution already has student data to work from, but a common challenge is utilizing that data effectively. Read our top three best practices every institution can implement in order to make data-driven decisions on student success.
Make Data Accessible
Institutions could utilize a variety of data that already exists to identify and anticipate trends in enrollment, retention, satisfaction, and student progress. But oftentimes, data warehouses may have specific restrictions or can only be operated by a select few administrators. Advisors, for example, typically have to wait for reports on student progress from the records office and aren’t empowered to explore the information themselves given the nature of many information systems. If advisors are able to access real-time data, they can quickly and proactively identify students who may be falling off track and intervene before it’s too late - something extremely important for those advisors handling a large number of advisees.
Being able to use data effectively depends on its accessibility, and how long it takes to access it. This is the reason why Stellic instantly pulls updated data directly from existing student information systems and presents it in a way that is accessible and relevant to all stakeholders. When you democratize data in a way that speaks to students, advisors, administrators, and leaders, all parties are able to make quicker, more informed decisions that move the needle on student success.
Use Data Proactively
Relying solely on data like grades and course completion only helps institutions reactively assist students when they fall off track. That’s why degree planning data is essential in order to proactively ensure and measure student success. The ability to monitor how frequently students interact with their degree planning system allows leadership to understand how engaged and satisfied their students are.
Student reporting can quickly identify students who haven’t logged into their portal for a few weeks, or students who haven’t planned out their next semesters. These are the students who are likely at risk of falling through the cracks, but having instant access to this information means administrators can intervene fast - and before it’s too late.
Enable Predictive Decision-making
It’s widely understood that patterns found in historical data can be used to make future projections. Though this approach is helpful in anticipating potential trends in future enrollment and course demand, it may not be concrete enough to match today’s academic climate. The last three years of historical data could be vastly different to what may happen next year, which is why planned data is important for institutions.
By combining data on historical courses with the courses that students have planned in their pathway, accurate predictions can be made on anticipated demand - things like the number of course sections needed to be offered in the future, and which terms they should be offered in. Forward-looking data can also help institutions understand where faculty are needed most and what students really need. After all, the most valuable resources any institution has is its faculty and classrooms - both of which are limited.
Institutions have to decide on the best way to leverage data when allocating their resources, and true innovation occurs when those allocations are centered around student needs. With access to the right data, administrators can focus on keeping students engaged and on track as soon as they enter an institution. And throughout the process, they’ll be better prepared to understand trends that contribute towards the success of an institution, its leadership, and most importantly - its students.