At a recent Othot seminar, nearly 70 percent of attendees said that data plays an important role in their decision-making process related to student success. The overwhelming response is exactly what we, a data science company, want to hear.
Data helps understand who your students are and supports your decisions about interventions to support them along their academic journey.
Adopting a holistic approach to student support can provide insight into your students' unique challenges and opportunities and provide you with the necessary information to intentionally impact each individual.
To create a holistic view of your students you need data that goes beyond historic enrollment and retention data. It requires collecting academic, behavioral, and interventional data. Collecting data is not always easy.
Data collection is a journey: start with what you have, add as you go.
We wrote this post to guide schools along the data journey so they can have a holistic view of their students. We’ll discuss why you need data, the data mindset, and offer some tips to overcome obstacles you may encounter along the way.
“Data is the new oil of the digital economy.”
- Clive Humby, UK Mathematician and architect of Tesco’s Clubcard
Data is an asset. It’s a critical part of decision making—from what to have for dinner or watch on Netflix to what interventions will compel a student to retain and graduate on time.
Be mindful of the data you collect and how you treat that data. If you start with garbage data, you’ll end up with garbage decisions, and even the best models can’t fix poor data.
Like any asset, data requires investment to properly collect, clean, prepare, and analyze the data. The more you invest in data, the more improvements you’ll see in your analysis and, ultimately, your decisions.
Here are some questions to consider when planning your investments and resources along the data journey:
The main takeaway - start investing in data now! You can’t collect it after the fact!
Author Charles Duhigg writes in “The Power of Habit” about keystone habits, “the small changes that people introduce into their routines that unintentionally carry over into other aspects of their lives.”
For example, better sleep leads to more exercise and eating healthier.
The same is true for institutions focused on data – they will see improvements in processes and decisions. Think about it in the context of student success.
When your counselors meet with students, do they collect data about the visit? For example, if a student’s parent lost her job or is food insecure, and the counselor offers resources about financial aid or foodbanks. Those actions and decisions should be collected because an analysis may uncover process improvements, warning signs, or other resources to recommend.
The data aids in decision-making and can be used to justify policies or investments in other interventions.
The data habit also enables using AI and advanced analytics for decision making and other purposes, and ultimately, benefits your decision process.
Changing habits is hard.
Think about the last time you promised you’d read more, drink more water, or go to bed earlier. How long did it take to make that promise a habit?
Your data journey is no different.
Here are a few of the obstacles you may encounter along the way and some ideas to consider to overcome those obstacles:
None of the obstacles are insurmountable when you’re committed to the data habit and can commit the time and resources to the data journey.
We’ve talked about why data is important, but you might be asking what data should you collect to create a comprehensive student profile?
Start with the following and try to collect some data in each category:
Lastly, here are some final tips for your data journey:
Data is an important asset for many processes, including modeling and facilitates the creation of comprehensive student profiles to increase the chances of student success.
By adopting a data culture and mindset, data will be more readily available, improving your decisions and your retention and graduation rates.
Do you want to learn more about the data journey?
Watch a recording from our seminar, “The Future of Data for Student Success."
Read our blog post, “The Data Trust Journey.”
Download our Managed Data Checklist to take the first steps in your Data Journey.
If you have questions about the data journey or need help getting started, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.