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From Data to Decision: Using StudentTracker to Shape Future School Initiatives

by NSC Blog | Feb 12, 2018 | K-12, Research Services, StudentTracker, StudentTracker for High Schools |

How to Make StudentTracker Data Work for You

Did you know StudentTracker for High Schools matches your high school students to college enrollment data from 98 percent of the nation’s postsecondary institutions? The National Student Clearinghouse sends detailed aggregate reports back to you (here’s a sample report). Now for the big question: What should you do with all of this data?

It’s a common client question at the Clearinghouse, but in a sense, it’s a question that only your school, or your school district, can answer. We provide the data, but what it means for your students depends on a range of factors.

Three steps to get from data to decision

1. Define success for your student population

What is a “good” college enrollment percentage? It depends. Some schools may expect 80 percent of their students to graduate from college. For other student populations, 50 percent college enrollment may represent a big achievement.

The first step, then, is defining what postsecondary success looks like for your school’s population. The ideal time to do this is before you get your school’s StudentTracker for High Schools reports. You don’t want the data to color your expectations and skew your benchmarking process.

2. Assess StudentTracker data against your defined goals

Now it’s time to dig into the data and discover how your school’s students have fared relative to the enrollment and graduation targets you have defined. How do the levels compare to what you expected? Are your students meeting the targets you identified?

The data reflects your current programs’ effectiveness, so it’s important to assess what your school has been doing to get to the current level of postsecondary engagement. Marrying the StudentTracker data to additional student data your school collects may provide additional insights.

3. Make a plan

After following the first two steps, you have a clear picture of how your school’s current efforts correspond to postsecondary success for your students. Designing new initiatives, or making changes to current programs, becomes a process of addressing clearly articulated gaps or weaknesses in your graduates’ college preparation.

Armed with reliable data, you can now make decisions from a position of insight – and your students will reap the benefits.

Learn more about StudentTracker for High Schools and how it can help you better assess and improve the effectiveness of your college preparation programs.

Visit the Clearinghouse Academy to access our StudentTracker for High Schools on-demand webinars, tutorials, and more.

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