E-AIR Newsletter March 2014

MARCH 2014 NEWSLETTER, VOL. 34, ISSUE 3 | A SERVICE OF AIR SINCE 1987
Crafting the Data Story - Reaching Everyone in the Audience
Do you face the challenge of describing study results to audience members with varied levels of familiarity of the topic at hand? Do you wonder how best to present your analyses when some individuals have sophisticated understandings of the methodologies employed, and others are interested solely in findings and recommendations? One piece of advice to successfully navigate the disparate needs and expectations of colleagues and stakeholders is to make data relatable by sharing the stories of the data before focusing on the actual data.

This suggestion was offered by Lee LeFever, founder of Common Craft and author of The Art of Explanation, who spoke with eAIR about ways in which institutional researchers can make data and analyses easier to understand while maintaining defensibility.

Lee offers advice for institutional researchers about explanations, data, and reaching every member of the audience.

The Difficulty of Achieving Clarity

Like anything, clarity can take a number of forms. To a scientist, for example, clarity may come from testing a hypothesis and understanding the key data. To an accountant, it may be through a balance sheet. For a journalist, it may come from primary sources. On an individual level, achieving clarity is something we can do with confidence. The problem occurs when it’s our job to share that clarity with others. This requires a change in perspective because clarity relies on communication more than data. The clearest data in the world may be useless if they’re not communicated in a clear and understandable way. MORE
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BOARD CORNER
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Time for a Check-Up
By Sandi Bramblett
2013-2014 AIR President
Greetings from the AIR Board! As I write this Board Corner, your AIR Board of Directors is preparing to meet in Atlanta where I’m hoping that my colleagues will be treated to the beauty of an early spring. So, let’s review. AIR exists to provide current and relevant resources for institutional research, sufficient to justify the expenditure of available revenues.

In order of priority:

A.  AIR members have the knowledge and skills necessary to perform the duties and functions of institutional research.

B.  AIR members have tools that simplify and streamline IR reporting and/or office management processes. MORE
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ANNOUNCEMENTS
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Keeping AIR Members Informed
AIR welcomes brief announcements of interest to the IR and assessment communities, such as the release of a report, funding opportunities or a request for applications. Send your announcement to eAIR@airweb.org and include a link to your website as well as a contact name and email address. Announcements
CHANGING SCENE
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Who's on the Move?
New titles. New promotions. New institutions. Friends and colleagues on the move.
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VISUAL DISPLAY OF DATA
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Placement Tests as Predictors of Student Success
By Jon Tysse, Analyst, Institutional Research, Lewis & Clark Community College
In consideration of Lewis and Clark’s intention to move to a mixed-method approach for the placement of incoming students, the IR office began looking for ways to assess the different tests used to place students and how well those tests predicted success.

The full report looks at both Compass and ACT scores as predictors of student success in both developmental and college-level courses (high school GPA was unavailable). For each course studied, we included the student’s grade, Compass Test score and ACT test score and placed them into a regression model to learn the impact of the “placement test score” on the student’s final grade in the course. MORE

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TECH TIPS
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Using Excel’s SUBTOTAL Functions to Sum Visible Rows or Columns Only
By Angela Henderson, Associate Vice Chancellor of IR, Planning, and Assessment, Keiser University
Excel’s SUBTOTAL function allows users to create subtotals of all cells in a range or only of visible cells. While many users are familiar with Excel’s function codes, some are unaware of how to use function codes to ignore hidden values. This is very handy if you are working with a large data set and want dynamic subtotals that change based upon filtered parameters. Excel offers a variety of subtotal functions, as shown in the table below. By using the function codes below, you can subtotal averages, counts, or sums of all values or only of values that are visible. MORE
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SPECIAL FEATURE
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RIHE Special Forum Issue Available for All AIR Members
AIR and Springer are pleased to provide free access to the Research in Higher Education (RIHE) Special Forum Issue for all AIR members. The issue includes four scholarly papers presented at the 2013 AIR Forum, which were also designated the 2013 Charles F. Elton Best Papers. Read more about the articles included in this issue and access the journal content.

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IR IN THE KNOW
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The Latest Issues in Higher Education
IR in the Know keeps you up to date on current and emerging issues related to higher education data collection, analyses, and reporting, and is presented in three categories: Reports and Tools: summaries of resources and research; Emerging Topics: developing ideas and discussions from the field; and Policy Watch: national policy news and topics. MORE
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RESOURCES
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IRecommend: Resources for IR
Always on the look-out for quick solutions or new tools? Peruse these brief synopses of resources AIR members find helpful, and share your recommendations in the comments section.
In March, AIR members recommended College Results Online, PowerStats, SESTAT, and TracDat. MORE
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JOURNAL NEWS
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Good Reads for the Higher Ed Professional
Keep current with the latest news from these influential journals:
- Journal of Higher Education
- Innovative Higher Education
- Research in Higher Education
- New Directions for Institutional Research
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OTHER EVENTS
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Announcements for conferences, meetings, institutes, symposiums, and other events of interest. See the LISTINGS.
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THANK YOU
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Thanks to AIR Members
Our members are not only incredibly helpful, they are a pleasure to work with. Here are some special thanks to those who have gone beyond the call of duty for our Association.
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JOBS
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There are more than 140 listed on AIR's Job Board. Search Now!

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