By Julia Michaels
One of the biggest barriers to improved data utilization by colleges and universities is the cumbersome process of collecting key data and metrics, then reporting them for voluntary and mandatory data collections. Currently, institutions must submit data — much of it similar — to multiple agencies and organizations, including associations, foundations, government agencies, and national initiatives. The result is a complicated web of data exchanges that entail a significant amount of duplicated effort.
The Postsecondary Data Partnership (PDP) is a multi-stakeholder effort that aims to help colleges and universities compile actionable data for a variety of leading measures to inform strategic and programmatic decision making. It is dedicated to the idea that easier access to better data enables colleges and universities to create interventions and program improvements that lead to better student outcomes. Managed by the National Student Clearinghouse, the PDP serves as a hub for collecting, verifying, and reporting data back to participating institutions and organizations.
APLU is currently evaluating the PDP as a potential resource to help universities distinguish and understand trends from the data about all students, but specifically about low-income and first-generation students, students of color, and adult learners, to assess if their student success initiatives are effectively reducing achievement gaps. We are currently working with a select number of universities to pilot the PDP data collection process, while evaluating institutional need for technical assistance. We are accepting participants for the Fall cohort until August 30, 2019. The results of the pilot will be delivered via a final report in early 2020.
If your campus is interested in this promising tool, we encourage you to participate in the pilot. Please contact Julia Michaels, Deputy Executive Director of the Center for Public University Transformation at APLU, at firstname.lastname@example.org.