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The Impact of Data on Student Retention

Colleen McConeghy (Helix Education, USA)
Amy Hale (Helix Education, USA)
Session Information
July 8, 2015 - 11:20am
Institutional Leadership & Strategy
Areas of Special Interest: 
Institutional Initiatives
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Best Practices
Institutional Level: 
Universities and Four Year Institutions
Audience Level: 
Session Type: 
Information Session
Governor's Square 15
Session Duration: 
50 Minutes
Concurrent Session 6
Virtual Session

The power of data helps us understand student behaviors, progress and performance. Learn how to aggregate, analyze and act on it to increase student retention.

Extended Abstract

Context Aggregate. Analyze. Act. These are the three cornerstones of a successful student retention strategy, and at the core of each component is data. Data from institutional sources, (including lead information, SIS and LMS platforms) allows you to identify, characterize and consolidate your intervention strategies so you can reach out to students as individuals and address their unique needs. Problem More than 30 million people enrolled in college over the last two decades but left before earning a degree, some leaving only after one term. Student retention is a major challenge facing educators today. Students drop out for a variety of reasons, some within and some beyond the control of the institution. Educators need to make significant, lasting changes that will keep students moving toward graduation, improving completion rates, affordability, and effectiveness. Approach This session will take a look at the kind of data points you should be collecting, and then the ways that your coaches, advisors, faculty and others can apply this data in a student centric manner to connect with, mentor and motivate students.

Topics of discussion will include:

Step 1: Aggregate Collecting information from a student's first inquiry and throughout the enrollment process (previous schooling, transfer credit, learning style, personal commitments, age, career goals, and more) Collecting information throughout the student's education path (evolving jobs, changing personal situations, and more) Configuring fields and forms to meet the needs of your institution Filtering activities based on priorities Creating student and course data sets based on relevant information

Step 2: Analyze Visualizing individual and cohort performance for an intuitive view of risk status Using data sets to determine appropriate flags or markers Identifying data trends across time and programs Assigning a weight to each marker to indicate retention risk Creating individualized risk assessments Segmenting and forecasting retention risk

Step 3: Act Creating action plans (personalized communications, customized interventions) Prioritizing outreach (automated, manual, prescriptive/time driven)


Attendees will learn how to mark, tag, or flag the most relevant information within student or course records in order to set a basis for understanding each student's needs. They will learn how to implement a step-by-step approach to creating their own retention programs based on student and behavioral data. They will leave this session understanding how to establish the specific set or sets of unique Student Markers, Action Plans, and Risk Models that drive actions to measurably support and impact student success across the student life cycle, regardless of modality.