e-AIR Newsletter January 2018

Reauthorizing HEA: What’s in Store for Data?

By Jamey Rorison, Director of Research and Policy, Institute for Higher Education Policy

ABC College Bar GraphLast month, Representative Virginia Foxx (R-NC) introduced a bill to reauthorize the Higher Education Act of 1965. The Promoting Real Opportunity, Success, and Prosperity through Education Reform (PROSPER) Act (H.R.4508) includes a few key provisions related to postsecondary data, most notably the creation of a College Dashboard website. Rep. Foxx, who chairs the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, envisions the College Dashboard website as a tool that will empower students and families to make informed decisions. It would include key enrollment, completion, cost, and financial aid information about each Title IV-participating college and university. This concept is not entirely new – previous iterations of the College Dashboard featured in legislation introduced by Foxx in the 113th Congress (H.R. 4983) and again in 114th Congress (H.R. 3178). The key difference in this latest Dashboard proposal is the addition of program-level data on the following:
  • Percentage of graduates who borrowed federal student loans
  • Average debt of borrowers at graduation
  • Median earnings of students who received federal financial aid both five and ten years after graduation
IHEP released an analysis comparing the data elements to be included in the proposed Dashboard with those currently available through College Navigator and the College Scorecard. Under PROSPER, the College Dashboard replaces the former, while the bill does not directly address the latter. MORE
Affiliated... And it Feels So Good
Ellen Peters
AIR President
So, I’ve edited the Peaches and Herb lyrics a bit, but I think it’s apropos. As the Board has attended Affiliated Organization (AO) meetings across the country this fall, our purpose has primarily been engaging members in listening sessions, and gathering the voice of the membership as we think about the future of our profession. It’s been very instructive, and we’ve written about that in previous Board Corners. I’ve noticed in my interactions, however, that it’s also been a chance for us to see the strength in both the AOs and our relationship with them.

I had the opportunity to attend conferences at the Pacific Northwest Association for Institutional Research and Planning (PNAIRP), my “home” AO, as well as the Northeast Association for Institutional Research (NEAIR). Later this month, I will head to Taiwan to present at the Taiwan Association for Institutional Research (TW-AIR). Other members of the Board attended conferences ranging from California Association for Institutional Research (CAIR) to Southern Association for Institutional Research (SAIR), to Maryland Association for Institutional Research (MdAIR). We noted the more intimate feel of these conferences, and the great opportunity to learn from you all in smaller groups. MORE
Keeping AIR Members Informed
Submit a case study proposal for the textbook, Casebook of Needs Assessments, to be published by Sage. This textbook seeks to help students apply the abstract concepts and theories of needs assessment in dynamic real-world organizations. MORE
Measuring Student Outcomes in Community Colleges
The Voluntary Framework of Accountability (VFA) is a data collection of student outcomes for two-year colleges by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC). There are three categories of main differences between the VFA and the Department of Education’s (ED) Outcome Measures (OM)... MORE.
The Student Satisfaction Survey
Dear Julie: Our Institutional Research Office is conducting a student satisfaction survey for the first time in several years. How can we make the most out of this data set?

Student satisfaction assessments are a powerful way to capture student perceptions about a wide-range of campus experiences. The data can provide the student voice for your campus leaders in their decision-making process in a variety of ways. In our work with hundreds of four-year public and private institutions as well as two-year community colleges and career schools each year who are administering the Student Satisfaction Inventory, we have gathered a range of suggestions for making the most of these data. You will find a better return on your investment of time and resources with conducting satisfaction surveys when you are able to use the resulting data for multiple purposes on your campus. MORE

This month’s question is answered by Julie Bryant, Associate Vice President for Retention Solutions at Ruffalo Noel Levitz. She manages the Satisfaction-Priorities Surveys, working with hundreds of IR offices across the country and managing the national data base for student satisfaction.

New Education Opportunity: NSF Public Use Data Course
Puzzle pieces This week, AIR released its newest online education opportunity, the National Science Foundation (NSF) Public Use Data Course. Available at no cost, this course is perfect for any individual seeking to understand the resources and tools publicly available with the NSF Student Surveys and Establishment Surveys.

Upon completion of the self-paced course, participants will be able to: identify the NSF student and establishment surveys, locate and download data from both the student and establishment surveys, and use the NSF online tools to create simple tabular outputs to answer research questions.

The course is comprised of two “core” lessons. The first lesson focuses on the NSF Student Surveys, and includes the following topics... MORE
Appreciative Inquiry (AI): Measuring the Holistic Student Experience
By Jessica Egbert, Vice President of Institutional Effectiveness & Community Engagement, Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions

Jan Measuring the holistic student experience is complicated. To ensure meaningful and actionable data, strategies for evaluating and demonstrating learning must go beyond grades. Similarly, strategies for evaluating student perception of the experience must go beyond cursory survey data.

At my institution, we are not tied to standardized surveys (many are not relevant as we offer only graduate-level education). The disadvantage is that national benchmarking without standardized surveys is more cumbersome; however, the advantages include increased flexibility towards meeting our ever-changing data needs, opportunities to rapidly integrate internal and external best practices and trends, and customized analyses of institutional mission fulfillment.

The scouring of literature led to an institutional survey structure change in 2017 that introduced focused appreciative inquiry. “AI is a qualitative approach focusing on potential strengths, and is an important approach in the current economic climate of austerity” (Collington and Fook, 2016). Utilizing AI adjusts the survey approach from a deficiency model to an abundance model. MORE
Morraine Valley Daily Enrollment Dashboard
By Nilkamal Shah, Assistant Director for Institutional Research, Moraine Valley Community College

The Daily Enrollment Dashboard* shows a daily growth of enrollment which can be filtered to the granular level of courses and sections. By activating the filters on the right-hand side of the interactive dashboard, one can see daily growth from different perspectives such as prefix/course/section/credit type/course type/location. This makes the enrollment growth data useful at an institution where various levels of staff are responsible for enrollment in a specific limited area.

Filtering daily enrollment data allows different levels of staff to view enrollment in their specific domains. MORE

Formatting Numeric Data to “Millions” in Excel
By Liying Cui, Statistical Modeling Analyst, Southern New Hampshire University
Excel Logo
When we report large numbers (especially related to financials), the default number formatting in Excel does not show up nicely in tables or charts, making it hard to read in a glance.

One way to address this is to use custom number formatting in Excel, to show numbers in “millions.” instead of integers.

Follow These Simple Steps
  1. Select the cell you’d like to format.
  2. Click the ribbon Home, right-click on the cell, then expand the default to show “Format Cells” dialog. MORE
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