WASHINGTON, DC (February 25, 2020) – Across the higher education landscape, an increasing number of institutions recognize the unparalleled potential of data – but struggle to unlock it. Data can help institutional leaders identify the barriers curtailing students' college access and success and target interventions to support students who need it most. Institutions that successfully remove barriers, promote completion, and close equity gaps have one factor in common: smart use of data.
An eagerly-awaited tool released today by the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) promises to help other institutions mirror these successes and cultivate a culture of effective data-use on campuses. Postsecondary Data GPS: A Guidebook for Navigating Data to Promote Student Sucess is an online resource designed for colleges and universities to use data to uncover trends and identify areas for improvement. Postsecondary Data GPS leads institutions through analysis of four critical phases in the postsecondary pipeline – access, progression, completion, and cost – and includes guidelines to ensure data privacy, security, and quality.
"We want institutions across the country to 'know their numbers' and put those numbers to use to enhance student outcomes, especially for low-income students and students of color. Postsecondary Data GPS does just that, offering a guide to help colleges establish a baseline of performance, diagnose problem spots, and cultivate data-driven solutions," said IHEP President, Michelle Asha Cooper, Ph.D. "People may hear the word 'data' and think only of technical applications, but institutional across the country know that behind every number is a student and behind every student, an entire community that can benefit when equity gaps in our higher education system are closed."
In 2016, IHEP released Toward Convergence: A Technical Guide for the Postsecondary Metrics Framework. Built on lessons learned from more than a decade's worth of federal, state, and volunatry data collection initiatives, the framework provides a comprehensive set of metrics that institutions should be collecting, analyzing, and using to promote student success. Postsecondary Data GPS converts the Metrics Framework into a free, interactive tool to help institutions navigate their data. Through downloadable Excel templates, Postsecondary Data GPS supports easy data analysis and visualizations that enable institutional representatives to identify challenges, assess solutions, and drive institutional improvement.
IHEP thanks the City University of New York (CUNY) System and Achieving the Dream for their contributions to the Postsecondary Data GPS.