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10 Lessons to Improve the Data-Informed Culture of Educational Institutions

by NSC Blog | Oct 2, 2020 | Postsecondary Data Partnership, Research Services, Tips & Tricks |

Part One of a Two-Part Series

​More than 300 institutions across 41 states are now part of the Postsecondary Data Partnership (PDP) to take data-driven action and leverage valuable student insight for better policy decisions, richer insights, and significant time and resource savings with more efficient reporting procedures.

During a PDP webinar hosted by SHEEO, Dr. Jillian Kinzie, associate director, Center for Postsecondary Research and the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) Institute, Indiana University School of Education shared 10 key lessons to build a data-driven culture and encourage better decision-making to help advance student success. Review the following lessons:

1. Grass Roots, Participatory Efforts to Bring Data into Meetings, Committees, Conversations

Data should never be exclusive. Educational institutions can build a more data-driven culture by encouraging everyone, inclusive of deans, department chairs, faculty, staff, and even students, to actively use data in collaborative environments and discussions.

2. Create Occasions for People to Come Together for Collective Reflection & Meaning Making

A data-driven culture cannot be created in isolation. Collective reflection needs to be facilitated through purposeful collaboration that is oriented around data. Educational institutions can facilitate this by calling open-ended meetings to encourage conversations around important data sets.

3. Assemble a Student Success Data Team

A team bridging the gap between data and members of the campus is an extremely effective way to overcome this barrier. Institutions that gather a group of people who know just a little bit more than others on campus and oversee student success data connect other people to data, and train other people.

4. Begin with a Question

Data needs to be paired with a thoughtful question that targets issues that educators care about. Starting with a question is a key component of a healthy data culture within an educational institution. Too often, data is brought in to provide an answer, without answering a question.

5. Eyes on the Prize, but Focus on Most Proximal Data that can be Improved

High-level metrics may define an institution’s success, but it is critical to focus on the smaller data points that influence high-level metrics that can be most easily controlled. For example, graduation rates are a top indicator of success. Positive systemic change can only be achieved by focusing on indicators of student progress toward graduation and by eliminating any barriers to their progression.

Part two will contain lessons titled: Ensure Everybody Counts in your Counts; Expose Myths and Respond with Data; Require Concrete Plans Linked to Data; Require Action on Data; and Close the Loop and Showcase the Data Use Story.

More than 300 institutions across 41 states are now part of the Postsecondary Data Partnership (PDP) to take data-driven action and leverage valuable student insight for better policy decisions, richer insights, and significant time and resource savings with more efficient reporting procedures.

 

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