Strategic Data Use in Higher Education: Using Data to Improve Postsecondary Success

  • Post category:Findings

“We strongly believe that using data to better understand our students and our own operations paves the way to developing new, innovative approaches for improved student recruiting, better student outcomes, greater institutional efficiency and cost-containment, and much more.”

The Strategic Data Project (SDP) at the Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University has a ten-year track record of developing data capacity in state and local PK-12 agencies and organizations and interviewed 40 leaders and analysts at 29 institutions of higher education and postsecondary organizations to explore their data needs to understand why some colleges and university systems are excelling in using data and others have yet to fully realize the potential of their data to inform strategic decisions that transform student success in school and the workforce.

Our key finding is that the missing link is not in the technical infrastructure but in human capacity. If higher education is to take advantage of data analytics to improve student outcomes and increase organizational effectiveness, it will have to find better ways to attract, train, and retain strategic data professionals who can inform policy and practice.

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