Data can improve both student outcomes and faculty performance
- In response to a realization that students weren't performing well in class, Pierce College has collected data on course-completion for every instructor, allowing more than 95% of full time faculty to see how students from various backgrounds are performing in their classes over the last three years.
- To get instructor buy-in to the data dashboards, Pierce administrators have been engaging in conversations with faculty on specific ways the data can be used to improve teaching — and as a result, the college has added dozens of dashboards to show what types of innovative instructional approaches have positive impacts, reports the Chronicle of Higher Education.
- The institution has also invested in professional development around the data, offering a $2,000 increase in salary to faculty for using it — with the result of increasing salaries by more than $300,000 since 2012.
Using data to improve student outcomes is a strategy several institutions have already adopted and seen success with. For instance, Southern Connecticut State University has used pre-college experience data to help administrators and student affairs officials predict rates of retention, graduation and academic performance. And, at a panel in May this year, Learning House President and CEO Todd Zipper explained that data can be used to measure student access and success more effectively — but that it's also critical to look at the right type of information in order to tackle issues with more clarity.
At the same time data can be used to improve student success, it can also be used to target faculty instructional methods. Pierce College presents a model for helping faculty understand which practices most benefit their students — which is another component of data analysis in higher ed completion tracking, as students pre-college and environmental factors are only part of why they may not graduate. As teachers play a critical role in how students learn and succeed, collecting data on how staff is performing can help institutions improve ROI for their consumers, while informally, and without pressure, nudging instructors in the right direction.
- The Chronicle of Higher Education Getting Faculty Members to Embrace Student Data
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