Learner Insights Case Study: Northeast Lakeview Constantly Looks for New Ways to Use PDP Data
Located in the fast-growing San Antonio metropolitan area, Northeast Lakeview College is relatively new, having achieved full accreditation in 2018. Since then, the college’s enrollment has more than doubled from about 3,000 to over 7,000 students. Northeast Lakeview is a public, two-year college offering associate degrees and certificate programs and has a diverse student body with an average age of 24. Of note, Northeast Lakeview College is one of five colleges that comprise the Alamo Colleges District.
The San Antonio area is full of opportunities, and Northeast Lakeview is dedicated to being responsive to the community’s needs as it charts a course for its future. The National Student Clearinghouse’s Postsecondary Data Partnership (PDP) is key to the college’s approach to building and managing its academic service delivery, and Northeast Lakeview uses PDP data in a broad array of ways.
“PDP has become the cornerstone on which we build our understanding of our students coming in, their persistence, and their completion rates,” said Martin Fortner, director of institutional research at Northeast Lakeview College. “We use the PDP to integrate our data infrastructure, so we can be responsive, to assess the degree to which we are meeting our students’ needs, and to evaluate how we are meeting public-sector mandates.”
Northeast Lakeview’s student body has dynamic needs. It includes an increasing population of adult learners, a significant stop-out population, people in multigenerational households, people with some college but no degree, and many other groups. The college uses PDP to conduct cohort tracking, following key performance indicators longitudinally to provide a robust entry-to-exit picture.
Here are some of the ways that Northeast Lakeview is using PDP data to understand and support learners:
The college has used PDP data to construct Tori, a nongendered student persona that enables the college to humanize and personalize the typical learner. “PDP has enabled us to tell Tori’s story, and we’ve integrated it with student survey metrics to find out how well we’re meeting Tori’s needs,” said Brandi Solar, IT data analyst at Northeast Lakeview.
Next, the institutional research and effectiveness team linked other systems with the PDP data, pulling enrollment data and statewide reporting such as wage-earning data into the mix. The team married the analysis files with student readiness files, student engagement surveys, and enrollment data, enabling the team to go deeper with the data. The team also added predictive analytics to forecast retention.
“Using PDP, we can take performance gaps, triangulate that with various student groups, then look over time,” Solar said. As a result, Northeast Lakeview employs data integration to achieve integrated learning by looking at assumptions over time, performance by equity subgroups, and other factors, all of which ladders up into the school’s culture of care.
After integrating all these sources of data, college leaders develop scorecards to measure the strategies’ effectiveness. Their scorecard performance guides them to continually make adjustments that enable Northeast Lakeview to respond to student needs.
“PDP has given us an important longitudinal perspective, making it easy for us to look across our students and outcome measures, and drill down with different filters. We are taking this information and putting it back into the hands of the operational users,” Fortner said. “It’s transformational for higher education because the data is not just residing in one place. It’s part of our whole approach to institutional effectiveness, from yearly targets all the way to daily progress.”
“PDP has become the cornerstone on which we build our understanding of our students coming in, their persistence, and their completion rates. We use the PDP to integrate our data infrastructure, so we can be responsive, to assess the degree to which we are meeting our students’ needs, and to evaluate how we are meeting public-sector mandates.”
Director of Institutional Research, Northeast Lakeview College