Sure, your faculty and staff are all literate, but are they all data literate?
"Data literacy" has become quite a hot topic in education these days, with everyone from Forbes to Harvard to Inside Higher Ed talking about it. Most of the time, the focus is on data literacy among teachers—who use student data to improve learning outcomes—or among the students themselves—for whom data literacy is becoming a basic skill for post-graduate employment. What hasn’t gotten much air-time is the connection between data literacy and student success by way of the faculty and staff. But in my work with members of EAB’s Student Success Collaborative, data literacy has come up time and again as one of the biggest barriers to their vision of a data-enabled campus, especially when it comes to decision-making to promote student outcomes.
Did you read last month’s post on the six barriers to data enablement? Learn more
Data literacy and student success
It’s no secret that college costs a lot.
One good way to help minimize the expense is to do everything in our power to shorten the total time it takes for students to get a degree. We might not have much latitude to reduce the price of a year’s tuition, but we can absolutely do more to control the total amount that an individual student pays by reducing unnecessary delays and roadblocks along the path to getting a degree.
How does a four year degree become a six-and-a-half year degree?
Back in November, we surveyed around 200 leaders in the Student Success Collaborative about what research would be most helpful to them in leading student success initiatives in 2017. The number one topic that piqued their interest was “Data-Driven Success Planning: How to Use the EAB Institution Reports to Uncover Your Next 5 Years of Student Success Opportunities”. I was surprised by the level of interest. Many other topics generated passionate interest from corners of the membership, but only this one had such broad appeal across all institutions types—advising model, size, selectivity—and roles within the student success organization.
Of course, any institution that invests in student success analytics wants to use their student data systematically to inform decisions about how to promote student success. So the question behind the question is: Why isn’t it happening already? What stops some people from taking advantage of student data tools, like the Institution Reports, to drive their student success efforts?
The leaky pipeline of data enablement