2015: The Year it Sticks
Resolve to Resolve

Research shows the average length of time a person sticks with their new year's resolution is only about six weeks. In fact, the UK has already dubbed Friday, January 24 "Fail Friday" - the day the country's collective willpower is most likely to be broken.


When we think we can't, we only make ourselves right. In working with educators 

suffering from education reform fatigue, we've found a three-step approach that makes using data to improve teaching and learning successful and... sustainable.

Collaboration. You can't force change top down and bottom up is too slow. IEBC engages educators and other decision makers early and often and keeps them focused on influencing what they can control. Including those who work closest to the students in the selection of data and tools will ensure the data is useful (and gets used). Engaging administrators to support this collaboration around data is also imperative.


Right data, right time. Data is only useful, if the information is received in time to act. Upon identifying timely relevant indicators, faculty should receive guidance in mapping high impact research-based solutions to the problem they are trying to solve. These leading and lagging indicators are a core concept of IEBC's work. 


Repeat. Make opportunities for faculty to collectively huddle around the data and learn routine. The discoveries and breakthroughs educators make will keep them coming back for more. For example, after implementing the IEBC data-use approach, graduation rates at Odessa College increased 55 percent. Traditionally struggling groups also improved: both males and Hispanics increased course success rates by 10 percent. 


This approach is based on the latest research from psychology, neuroscience and behavioral economics (how people and organizations think about the amount of effort required to gain a reward). The result is a culture of continuous improvement versus implementing an outside reform too easily viewed as a passing fad. 


Community Colleges' Big Opportunity
The year is starting with some exciting proposals to strengthen the role of community colleges to help more Americans get better jobs. President Obama announced a plan to make the first two years of community college "free for everybody who is willing to work for it." The details are far from settled, but it reflects momentum in the states where governors increasingly realize the link between a strong community college system and a healthy economy. California Gov. Jerry Brown proposed investing $8.1 billion in the community college system in his latest budget.

To make the most of this spotlight, we have work to do. We must reduce the need for remediation, increase college-success rates, and pay much more attention to underserved students. 

IEBC engaged California community colleges on their "student equity plans" to ensure that proposed interventions to keep students on track will work. Now implementation begins!

One overlooked area with enormous potential for student success is K-12 and higher education working together to improve college completion. By collectively reviewing student performance data, faculty discover that while they both may be calling a subject Algebra or English, what is taught and assigned can be very different, setting up students for a struggle. Responding to these disconnects yields dramatic results, including reduced remediation. For example, following collaborative faculty work, 86 percent of San Diego students were prepared to successfully complete college-level English. In contrast, only 24 percent of students placed in the lowest level of English remedial courses in California colleges ever make it out.

New English and math curriculum alignment guides in Texas are helping K-12 educators and college faculty better address the challenges students face in making the transition from high school to college. Similar alignment guides connecting high school and college English and math with career and technical education are helping students succeed in California. 
How do you know? Student Learning Outcomes

IEBC and ETS are collaborating to deliver faculty and administrator workshops designed to help institutions create effective ways to assess, understand and improve student learning outcomes. 


Even as the nation pushes to increase college attainment, institutions face many challenges such as the growing pressure to demonstrate student learning outcomes for external accountability initiatives.


IEBC and ETS are pleased to be working with institutions to help them understand the "best practices" in measuring student learning outcomes, enabling them to develop assessment programs that improve teaching and learning.  IEBC and ETS just delivered workshops in Tennessee and New York. IEBC Vice President Jordan Horowitz presented on data use and IEBC/Tuning Associate Director David Marshall presented on student learning outcomes.


More workshops are planned for this spring.


10 trends to watch in 2015

Thanks for all the great ideas and responses to Brad's Huffington Post piece on 2015's big education opportunities. 

#5 "The collaboration imperative" turned out to be the most popular. Other readers said they would have added competency-based learning and of course making Common Core conversations more productive. 


This week the Gates Foundation hosted an online "jam" to discuss scaling developmental education practices that work.

Some great ideas were shared about what needs to change and how to do it. The imperative to engage and invest faculty was a big part of the conversation - particularly part-time and adjunct faculty. We were pleased to connect with smart people doing this important work! 

Data fuels continuous improvement


This week IEBC led two packed-house sessions on using data to improve learning at the inaugural Linked Learning Convention - "Life Comes to School."


Linked Learning offers students an engaging, relevant education that enables them to graduate with the skills and confidence to succeed in college, career and life. Data plays a big role in responding to students' needs and preparing them well. 


With support from the Irvine Foundation, IEBC is pleased to continue its data support work for the Linked Learning initiative in 2015. 

Thanks for taking the time to learn more about the big opportunities and challenges of data use in education. We would love to learn more about your organization and how we can help. E-mail me at bphillips@iebcnow.org or call us at 760-436-1477. 

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