Data Analytics & Reporting

Institutions Tap Student-Level Data to Improve Learning

Creating a campus culture of data use can drive institutional initiatives to improve student learning and increase degree completion. That is the latest analysis coming from two higher education organizations this week. The Association of Public & Land-Grant Universities (APLU) and the Institution for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) have released 14 brief case studies that “spotlight the importance of student-level data in the development and implementation of programs and strategies to improve student learning and increase degree completion,” according to the APLU website. Each case study explains how the college, university or system “turned student data into actionable information and tools that improved student decisions and outcomes.”

A few highlights:

  • With 36 percent of 2,021 students enrolled in its 2012-13 General Chemistry (Chem) course in the DFWI category (that is, students who dropped, failed, withdrew from or earned an incomplete grade for a course), Florida International University decided to form a cross-institutional team to delve deeper into student data to find a solution. The university launched the Graduate Success Initiative and used an Aleks mathematics placement test to help raise on-time graduation by 16 percent in four years, with a 11.7 increase in completion for Chem I.
  • Temple University developed Fly In 4, a program to reduce student debt by aligning curriculum and advising practices to ensure students graduate in four years. The university started Temple Option, an online application that directs applicants to answer four brief essay questions, to determine attitudinal and behavioral dimensions that indicate a candidate’s potential for admission. Overall the programs resulted in a 19.9 percent and 25.8 percent surge for African American and Latino student enrollment, respectively.
  • The Tennessee Board of Regents utilized predictive analytics and data-mining technology, coupled with research in behavioral economics and cognitive psychology, to better understand what contributes to student success and failure. TBR piloted a co-requisite model of instruction that involved teaching introductory statistics to 2,000 students studying math and writing classes at a dozen community colleges. The pilot resulted in 63.3 percent of students receiving a passing grade in the class, compared to 12.3 percent with the older model.  

APLU and IHEP also covered Colorado State University, Miami Dade College, Middle Tennessee State University, Morgan State University, Ohio University, University at Buffalo, University of Michigan, University of South Florida, University of Texas at El Paso and the University of Texas System.

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