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This volume provides an updated examination of student trackingsystems. It illustrates how policymakers, administrators, andinstitutional researchers are using data to follow student pathsthrough postsecondary education and to measure student success.
The focus in student tracking today has shifted away from anexamination of prospective students and students in academicdifficulty, and toward an understanding of student progress throughand beyond a single college or university. This new emphasisresults from a variety of pressures: state and public calls foraccountability, accreditation criteria that place greater attentionon learning outcomes, recognition that enrollment does not ensuresuccess, and an understanding that many students swirl throughmultiple institutions.
This is the 143rd volume of the Jossey-Bass higher educationquarterly report series NewDirections for Community Colleges. Essential to theprofessional libraries of presidents, vice presidents, deans, andother leaders in today's open-door institutions, NewDirections for Community Colleges provides expert guidancein meeting the challenges of their distinctive and expandingeducational mission.
EDITOR’S NOTES (Trudy H. Bers).
1. Using Transcripts in Analyses: Directions andOpportunities (Linda Serra Hagedorn, Anne M.Kress)
Practical lessons about how to do transcript analyses and to trackstudent progress through transcript data are described in thischapter.
2. Retention Tracking Using Institutional Data (FredLillibridge)
In this chapter, the author explains a sophisticated approach fortracking student cohorts within an institution, from entry throughdeparture.
3. Using Student Tracking Data from an InstitutionalPerspective (Joanne Bashford)
This chapter describes several examples of institutional use ofstate- and college-level tracking data to benchmark performance,improve student success, and enhance program effectiveness.
4. A Statewide Student Unit Record System: Florida as a CaseStudy (Jay Pfeiffer, Patricia Windham)
The chapter describes the evolution, content, and use ofFlorida’s unit record system, which includes K–16 andemployment data. It includes examples of how information derivedfrom tracking is used both for state-level policy making andinstitution-level research and practice.
5. The National Student Clearinghouse: The Largest CurrentStudent Tracking Database (Craig Schoenecker, RichardReeves)
The authors describe the National Student Clearinghouse, andopportunities and challenges for tracking community collegestudents. They also offer system and institutional perspectives onusing clearinghouse data to supply more comprehensive student andgraduate tracking for reporting and accountability.
6. Tracking Low-Skill Adult Students Longitudinally: UsingResearch to Guide Policy and Practice (DavidPrince)
Important constituencies for community colleges, noncredit andworkforce development students are often ignored when institutionstrack students and report on outcomes. The author explores how thestate of Washington examines the progress, performance, andoutcomes of noncredit and workforce development students and alsonotes special challenges in researching these populations.
7. Using State Student Unit Record Data to Increase CommunityCollege Student Success (Peter Ewell, DavisJenkins)
This chapter builds on a recent eleven state audit of student unitsystems and subsequent work describing such systems and theirutility for policy makers.
8. Beyond Higher Education: Other Sources of Data forTracking Students (David Stevens)
A variety of nationwide systems might be used for trackingstudents; one example is the federal Employment Data ExchangeSystem, which offers access to a variety of resources.
9. Conclusion and the Future (Trudy H. Bers)
This brief concluding chapter presents final observations abouttracking community college students.