A culture of evidence: How big data in education will guide community college transformation

Achieving the Dream President & CEO Dr. Karen A. Stout contributed an April 2016 article to SAS Insights regarding how transforming US community colleges starts with analyzing the data that you have -- learn how leading schools are building an analytics ecosytem.  Excerpt below.


Thinking as educators, how much more might big data analysis teach us about students’ lives and further accelerate the work of Achieving the Dream? The mission of this national reform network is to improve college completion rates, especially for the most underprepared students. Our information systems can be powerful enablers toward this goal.

Technologies such as cloud computing, advanced business intelligence systems, and visual analytics have redefined what community colleges can do with data, how fast it can be done, and how readily it can be shared and applied. Administrative staff can get real-time and accessible reports, dashboards, and data visualizations to optimize services and processes. Students, advisors and instructors can get in-the-moment advice and alerts to improve performance. We have only begun to explore the possibilities.

However, the greatest data and analytics in the world won’t have any effect if they don’t fuel a decision or change something. That requires a culture where people understand, value, and demand fact-based decisions and strategies.

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