Improving the Quality and Use of Postsecondary Data: A Resource Guide for Smaller Learning Communities Grantees

By Neal Finkelstein, Tony Fong, Becca Klarin, Katie Whitney Luers, Theresa Deussen

With Francie Lindner, Mary Rosenthal, Sara Sellards, Rhonda Barton

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Description

This guide, codeveloped by researchers at WestEd and Education Northwest (formerly the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory), provides Smaller Learning Communities (SLC) grantees and their colleagues with strategies for collecting data on the postsecondary matriculation and retention patterns of their recent high school graduates. With such data in hand, educators can make more informed decisions about how to improve their students’ enrollment and success in postsecondary education.

The guide includes:

  • Definitions of key concepts
  • A brief summary of the available literature on this topic
  • Tips for collecting useful data
  • A step-by-step approach to data collection and use
  • Detailed information about three major strategies for gathering data: tapping into a state longitudinal data systems (LDS); using StudentTracker and other approaches to record matching; and, finally, collecting primary data as an alternative to using existing data resources
  • Resources from practitioners that may assist SLC grantees in making informed decisions about cost-effective, efficient, and user-friendly ways to pursue data collection and analysis

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