Enhancing Data Policy & Analytics to Improve Student Outcomes

By Christine Keller, AIR Executive Director and CEO 

On March 13th, AIR partnered with the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) and the American Council on Education (ACE) to host Leadership in Enhancing Postsecondary Data Policy and Analytics to Improve Student Outcomes. This half-day summit brought together institutional leaders and policy influencers to discuss the state of postsecondary data, methods for integrating data use across institutions, and ways to collaborate on federal and state policy opportunities. The dialogue among professionals with institutional perspectives and those with a policy focus was productive and insightful.

Highlights from the conversation include the following:

The growth of data and analytic tools have tremendous potential to transform institutions, improve student outcomes, and close achievement gaps. However, data, analytics, and technology are not enough. To fully unlock their potential for the benefit of students, we need the commitment of leaders, the insights of IR, the skills of IT, and federal and state policies that support and reinforce institutional priorities. 

More information About the Summit 

  • Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) Blog

  • Institutional research professionals can be a catalyst in building a data-informed decision culture by leading critical conversations and working closely with other offices within an institution.   

  • Investment in the building of relationships is critical to this process. Connecting people with information, not simply handing them data, is a critical IR role. 

  • Presidents and other senior leaders have an important role in facilitating cooperation among functional units. It is important for the key stakeholders, including IR, to contribute to organization-wide conversations and be empowered to lead open, strategic conversations for continuous improvement.

  • Importantly, we cannot become so consumed with the “doing” that we forget to communicate and share our work with each other and with significant stakeholders, including:

    • State/Federal policymakers – to tell our stories and share how the effective use of data and analytics can make a difference in the lives of students, as well as how much more could be accomplished with better and more complete data.

    • Colleagues at other institutions – to share good ideas, promising practices, and even failures so we can learn from each other in order to scale and expand on successes.

    • Colleagues at our own institutions – to better leverage technology, analytic tools, and data to improve student outcomes and empower students and faculty to make better data-informed decisions.

At this moment, the availability and use of postsecondary data to improve higher education and increase the success of all students is critical. With our partners, AIR will continue to work toward improved data-informed decision cultures to increase student success in higher education.

AIR Data Policy Advisory Group

A new and exciting effort to continue this important conversation is the creation of the AIR Data Policy Advisory Group. This group will consist of 25-30 AIR members who work in IR or a related field at an institution or system office and will advise AIR and its partners on matters related to state and federal higher education data policy. We invite interested members to apply to serve on the AIR Data Policy Advisory Group. Applications are due April 20, 2018 and applicants will be notified by May 11, 2018 regarding their application.  




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