ERIC Number: ED320638
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1990-Jul
The President's Role in Student Tracking.
Today's outcomes assessment movement places great expectations on a college's ability to generate longitudinal data on student flow and achievement. Though computers and data managers will play an important role in meeting these expectations, outcomes assessment is not just a data collection task. Its success depends on how clearly the goals of the inquiry are stated and how the results of the inquiry are used. The president's involvement will ensure that data collection yields needed insights into student goals and expectations and the effects of college experience on their career and academic development. A central leadership task is to specify the indicators of student progress and outcomes that the college will use. These indicators should be tied to the college's mission, have clear operational definitions, and allow the college to spot trends in such areas as course completion, retention, transfer, and job attainment rates. While much of the data for a tracking system is available through routine student records, tracing the academic and career experiences of students once they leave the college is more difficult. Presidents can help overcome these difficulties by committing sufficient financial resources to follow-up studies and personally working with the presidents of neighboring four-year colleges. Presidents should also play a role in setting guidelines for reporting and using student tracking data. They should require that outcomes reports be brief; focus on no more than one, clearly defined indicator at a time; avoid rank-order comparisons and complex inferential statistics; and stress that indicators are not absolute measures. (WJT)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: George Mason Univ., Fairfax, VA. Center for Community Coll. Education.