Driving Toward Greater Postsecondary Attainment Using Data A Tactical Guidebook

High-quality, accessible, and actionable data are essential to drive greater postsecondary attainment.

In an effort to support community-based collaborations on data use among key sectors—education, business, policy, and nonprofit and community organizations—the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP), supported by Lumina Foundation, developed this tactical guidebook to explain how some communities use data effectively to advance postsecondary attainment.

Use this guidebook to learn more about different data tools that communities use to support students and improve educational outcomes, and how you could potentially adopt these tools in your own communities.

Chapter 2:

How to Build Successful Community Data Collaborations

This chapter helps guide community stakeholders through the data sharing process, by outlining promising practices in communities that have been successful in sharing actionable data. When communities are able to access and organize these data, they often discover opportunities to realign resources, increase efficiency, and spend time and money more wisely in supporting students.

Chapter 3:

How to Use Student-Level Data to Improve College And Career Readiness

This chapter highlights different student-level data tools that communities have used to provide a more complete picture of their students' college and career readiness needs and design more effective responses than any single piece of information could alone. Careful data collection and analysis enables researchers, administrators, teachers, and counselors to identify how certain variables may be more likely to trigger particular student outcomes and inform successful interventions to get students back on track.

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Chapter 4:

How to Use Student-Level Data to Improve Postsecondary Student Outcomes

This chapter highlights different student-level data tools that are used at the postsecondary institutional level to help determine when individual students begin to struggle and the appropriate interventions that would help them complete their program. Data on individual students can help at various points, including: course selection or enrollment in supportive programming at the start of a semester; progression through individual courses and sequences of coursework to meet requirements for transfer or a program of study; and counting credits and awarding degrees appropriately when students leave an institution.

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Chapter 5:

How to Use Community-Level Data to Benchmark And Report Progress

This chapter encourages community stakeholders to share data about the outcomes of their services, programs, and initiatives with each other, as well as with students and families, by sharing examples of community-level data tools that have promoted accountability and action. As community stakeholders report data, everyone can study both the big picture and the details to learn how best to plug leaks in the education pipeline, use resources efficiently, and invest in underserved populations.

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