Postsecondary education is awash in data. Postsecondary institutions track data on students’ demographics, academic performance, course-taking, and financial aid, and have put these data to use, applying data analytics and data science to issues in college completion. Meanwhile, an extensive amount of higher education data are being collected outside of institutions, opening possibilities for data linkages. Newer sources of postsecondary education data could provide an even richer view of student success and improve equity. To explore this potential, this brief describes existing applications of analytics to student success, presents a framework to structure understanding of postsecondary data topics, suggests potential extensions of these data to student success, and describes practical and ethical challenges.
Data for students
By Katherine Brittany Leu.
March 2020 Open Access Peer Reviewed
- Data analytics and data science can address challenges to student success.
- Postsecondary institutions have already creatively used analytics to address the problem of college completion through innovations such as academic early warning systems and adaptive learning technologies.
- A diverse array of data on postsecondary education exists both within and outside of institutions and can be used in analytics to provide a richer view of student success and improve equity.
- Increased data collection and analysis open up the challenges of data linkage across units and the risk of ethical and privacy violations, which deserve more attention.
Leu, K. B. (2020). Data for students: The potential of data and analytics for student success. RTI Press. RTI Press Publication No. RB-0023-2003 https://doi.org/10.3768/rtipress.2020.rb.0023.2003
© 2021 RTI International. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.