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Harnessing data to bolster program assessment, planning

Students flip their tassels

Illinois State spring commencement, 2011.

Planning, Research, and Policy Analysis (PRPA), in collaboration with the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost and the Analysis, Insight, Management Information (AIM) office, is in the process of developing a standard set of metrics related to both undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

The metrics, called Academic Program Profiles, are designed to provide annual data updates for use in ongoing program assessment and planning.

Early last fall, PRPA engaged in conversations with the Provost’s office and, using the metrics required for the academic program review process as a base, discussion about additional metrics centered on what was important for program administrators and academic leadership to have to help monitor and evaluate data trends. Following these discussions, a draft list of metrics was developed that focused on program inputs (application and enrollment trends), program productivity (student grade point averages, persistence rates, and cost per credit hour), and program outcomes (degrees granted, graduation rates, and time to degree).

Academic Program Profile

The new dashboard for the Academic Program Profiles.

The draft list of metrics was shared broadly with deans and chairpersons/directors, and feedback and suggested changes were incorporated into the list. Once the list of metrics was finalized, PRPA and the Provost’s office engaged AIM to help build the data infrastructure and visualization design of the profiles.

Given the size and scope of providing more than 50 metrics for 135 academic programs and a desire to get the data to the program administrators as soon as possible, it was determined that the project would be split into phases.

In phase one, the profiles will include the metrics required for the program review process and will be completed in fall 2013. Additional metrics will be added to the profiles as the University continues build its data infrastructure and moves forward with an enterprise-wide business intelligence tool.

 

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