The Next Big Things
The Next Frontier In College Completion:
The Solutions Frontier

The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) annual convention is underway this week with a focus on "The Next Big Things" - the campus-driven changes that help students succeed.


We loved the AACC recent post on supports that help students of all background and preparation-levels succeed and complete a degree. We're looking forward to delivering a presentation on The Building Blocks of Student Success: What it Takes to Move The Needle. Sometimes an intervention like tutoring, mentoring and advising might seem like a helpful support for students, but just isn't the right solution at the right time.


Odessa College's decision to engage faculty in a review of student performance data made all the difference in matching the right interventions to help students in need succeed. Engaging faculty and college leadership in reviewing data and collectively taking responsibility for success was key to making it work. The most successful student support programs are faculty-led efforts that connect with what students really need to succeed.

Getting Real About Education Data Use

Do you know of "reforms" or professional development activities that seem to require educators to log out of reality? We hear it all the time and saw it reflected in an informal online survey we conducted asking educators about their experience with using data to inform teaching practices.


While there was significant individual enthusiasm for data use, there was palpable concern about a distinct lack of enthusiasm among their colleagues.


While 80 percent of those surveyed identified themselves as data lovers, they characterized their colleagues as skeptical (45%) and even fearful (9%).


The comments from those surveyed suggest a sense of foreboding that the data bubble is in danger of bursting, because we may be overvaluing or failing to have realistic expectations of data.


This is an important caution flag for policymakers drafting accountability systems and the data coaches tasked to help educators monitor and use data effectively. To cultivate a greater appreciation for the revelations data offer, we must help educators discern and determine how data are used and what makes data valuable.  Read more  

Who Is In The Accountability Driver's Seat? 

Thanks for your great feedback on the Huffington Post piece "Driving Accountability: 'I'm Sorry Officer, the Gas Gauge Shows I Wasn't Speeding." 

Educators embrace the kind of accountability which provides tools that help them make adjustments and respond to students needs in time to be successful.  


Too often, we post the signs for what we want performance to be and publicly report offenders, but don't provide the drivers of education the right gauges for monitoring and correcting. This is changing. We love hearing about new examples.  

Data Use Demystified

More colleges are realizing data can be a powerful tool for making a real difference in students' lives. But how does a college move to a culture of positive data use? 

One way colleges are beginning to embrace this work lies in training data coaches. 

New workshops developed by IEBC demystify data use and empower faculty and staff to help coach their colleagues to identify patterns and insights in data that guide measurable improvements in student learning, persistence, and degree completion. 


College Degrees That Hold Value

Two significant efforts are bridging the divide between the classroom and the workforce: Tuning  and the Degree Qualifications Profile (DQP) .

Tuning is a faculty-driven process that identifies: a) what a student should know and b) what a student should be able to do in a chosen discipline.

Degree Qualifications Profile (DQP) is a framework that looks beyond the discipline of study to the overall skills, knowledge and ability acquired in the college experience at each degree level: associate, bachelor and masters.

More than 600 institutions across the US are already engaged in both of these programs. Read more.

College Completion's Last Mile


The Lumina Foundation released its annual report with a call to close the 20 percentage-point gap between the goal of 60 percent of the nation holding a college degree and reality. Not satisfied with small improvements in degree attainment, Lumina is focusing on those still not served well by the nation's higher education system - our fastest growing populations and demographic future.


This last mile might be the hardest distance to cover in a sector historically resistant to change, but it is nothing less than a national imperative.  



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 [email protected] or call us at 760-436-1477.