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Four Ways to Use PDP to Enable Student Success

by NSC Blog | Nov 3, 2023 | Case Studies, Postsecondary Data Partnership, Postsecondary Data Partnership Case Studies

Higher education institutions constantly seek innovative ways to support student success in today’s rapidly changing educational landscape. Achieving the Dream (ATD) is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to helping community colleges and other higher education institutions improve student success. One of the powerful tools in their arsenal is the National Student Clearinghouse’s Postsecondary Data Partnership (PDP) service.

Achieving the Dream is passionate about helping colleges use data more effectively to plan and assess their efforts to advance student success and equity … Key to Achieving the Dream’s work with data is its relationship with the Postsecondary Data Partnership (PDP),” wrote Dr. Lisa Stich, Director, PDP Program/Strategic Data & Technology Coach, Achieving the Dream, in her article “ATD’s New Advanced PDP Course: Offering Colleges a Deeper Dive into the Data.”

Here are ways colleges within ATD’s national network can leverage the PDP, which can serve as a model for other higher education institutions.

1. Data-Driven Decision-Making

Participating ATD institutions have access to a wealth of data through PDP that allows them to assess and improve student outcomes, such as data on student enrollment, course completion, graduation rates, and transfer rates.

2. Early Alert Systems

Higher education institutions can use PDP data to implement early alert systems that help identify students at risk of falling behind or dropping out. By monitoring student progress and intervening, when necessary, colleges can provide timely support to students facing academic or personal challenges, enabling them to stay on track.

3. Tracking Transfer and Completion Rates

Transfer and completion rates are crucial metrics for community colleges. PDP allows institutions to track how many students successfully transfer to four-year institutions or complete their degrees within a reasonable timeframe. This information helps colleges refine their transfer and degree completion programs and ensures that students are well-prepared for the next steps in their educational journeys.

4. Closing Equity Gaps

PDP goes beyond conventional data, such as age, race, and gender, to incorporate metrics like first-generation status, enrollment, attendance, and degree-seeking status, offering users a look at how effective they are at building equity across demographics.

As an example, in her article, Dr. Stich cited Elgin Community College, a Hispanic-serving institution, which uses PDP to track progress in attaining the different institutional benchmarks set in its Equity Plan.

Dr. Stich quoted Tanya Ternes, director of data quality at Elgin Community College, who said, “We are still on our journey to take advantage of data as a source for making decisions about what initiatives are most needed, which initiatives to take to scale, and measuring progress. The PDP is an essential tool that we’ll utilize to help us on this journey.

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