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The Missing Manual: Using National Student Clearinghouse Data to Track Postsecondary Outcomes - This academic paper explores the promises and pitfalls of using National Student Clearing House (NSC) data to measure a variety of postsecondary outcomes. To illustrate some of the challenges with NSC data, the article uses two case-study analyses using administrative transcript data from Michigan public colleges. ...

A Better Higher Education Data and Information Framework for Informing Policy: The Voluntary Institutional Metrics Project - For two years, a coalition of 18 institutions of higher education worked on a "dashboard" of five critical issues to inform policymaker decisions about how colleges and universities compared and could be improved. The issues are: repayment and default rates on student loans (revealing whether students who've graduated can get a job that allows them to repay student loans, student progression and completion which would include critical momentum points, cost per degree (the cost for an institution to produce a degree), employment outcomes for graduates, and student learning outcomes. They consider the results a breakthrough framework. ...

Common Sense: Using Common Finals to Measure Postsecondary Student Learning - Very little postsecondary student learning can be measured in ways that allow comparisons to students at other colleges or to fellow students in different sections of a class taught by different instructors. Lacking that measure, it's difficult to know and improve instructor quality. Using exams in two developmental algebra courses at Glendale Community College, the author shows how similar exams can yield data on instructor quality. He concludes by recommending departments administer common final exams in multi-sectioned introductory classes. He points out that university systems could help coordinate such efforts across member institutions. He also suggests administrators directly confront faculty concerns that common finals will be used to evaluate them. (Matthew M. Chingos, Brown Center on Education Policy at Brookings, April 2013)...

A Framework for Measuring Career Pathways Innovation: A Working Paper - In the process of developing a common understanding of what high-quality career pathway systems look like regardless of targeted industry, occupation or design, the authors provide information on the types of metrics that can be used in career pathways and how they can be used. Many, they say, will be useful for continuous improvement. (Center for Postsecondary and Economic Success at CLASP, February 2013)...

Improving Measurement of Productivity in Higher Education: Panel on Measuring Higher Education Productivity: Conceptual Framework and Data Needs - The panel authoring this report was charged with the task of identifying an analytically well defined concept of productivity for higher education and recommending practical guidelines for its measurement. The objective was to construct valid productivity measures to supplement the body of information used to (1) guide resource allocation decisions at the system, state, and national levels and to assist policymakers who must assess investments in higher education against other compelling demands on scarce resources; (2) provide administrators with better tools for improving their institutions’ performance; and (3) inform individual consumers and communities to whom colleges and universities are ultimately accountable for private and public investments in higher education. (National Research Council, May 2012)...

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