WASHINGTON, DC (November 7, 2019) – Accurately evaluating what works – and what doesn’t – to improve student progression through higher education requires the robust use of reliable data. States play a pivotal role in compiling and using data to empower student choice, spur continuous institutional and system improvement, and develop evidence-based solutions that promote college access and success for all students in their state. However, certain challenges have prevented states from fully leveraging education and workforce data.
To help states overcome these challenges, the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) today released a new guidebook introducing a framework that highlights the barriers to effective data use by states and identifies approaches to eliminating those barriers, with solutions at the federal, state, and regional levels. Entitled Better Data, Better Outcomes: Promoting Evidence, Equity, and Student Success through the Framework for State Postsecondary Data Solutions, the Framework identifies opportunities to build innovative partnerships and develop messaging and advocacy strategies to champion a culture of data use. Together, approaches outlined in the Framework help states advocate for resources and promote change.
“In our postsecondary system, every entity – institutions, states, and the federal government – has a role to play in using data well and advancing a culture of data use to promote the strongest possible outcomes for all students, especially low-income students and students of color,” said IHEP Vice President of Policy Research, Mamie Voight. “Challenges to effective data use at the state level cannot always be solved by states alone – they often require state, regional, and federal solutions. This Framework identifies critical challenges facing states and provides guidance informed by their peers to overcome these obstacles. We hope the Framework enables and empowers states to become stronger data champions in ways that promote greater, more equitable levels of student success.”
To develop Framework, IHEP convened the Postsecondary Data Collaborative’s State Working Group. These state data policy experts discussed current barriers that limit their use of data to promote strong student outcomes and identified potential solutions. While the states varied in their approach to data systems, overarching challenges emerged. These challenges include resource allocation, difficulty matching and sharing data across agencies and states, and legal and regulatory compliance barriers. The guidebook dedicates one section to each challenge, paired with options for solutions.