Using workforce data to improve student outcomes

So, what do you want to be when you grow up? This seemingly innocuous question gets pretty weighty for college students as they make the decisions that could easily determine their life’s trajectory. And while some students are clear on their career choices, others need more information and guidance, such as which courses will best equip them with the skills employers value and whether their chosen profession will remain in demand.

A recent study by the Economic Policy Institute indicates that for young college graduates, the unemployment rate is 5.3 percent, while the underemployment rate is 11.1 percent in 2018. While that’s good news for around 80 percent of graduates, it still leaves one-fifth who are not finding suitable post-college employment. Perhaps even more alarming is a Gallup study that found “a crisis of confidence” among most students regarding their readiness to launch careers, specifically:

  • Only a third of students believe they will graduate with the skills and knowledge to be successful in the job market (34 percent) and in the workplace (36 percent).
  • Just half (53 percent) believe their major will lead to a good job.

At a time when higher education institutions are being held increasingly accountable for student outcomes and striving to prove their worth as an investment, the six-year completion rate for those who enrolled in 2011 was 56.9 percent. This number indicates that colleges and universities could be doing more to ensure that students see tangible value from their education in the form of a defined career path.…Read More

Learning analytics tools aim to boost student retention, outcomes

Learning analytics software helps professors evaluate their course structures and ensure better student outcomes.

As policy makers and campus leaders focus on boosting college completion rates, learning analytics is a field that has exploded in importance. A number of programs now exist to help instructors and campus leaders track student progress more closely, leading to better student outcomes.

Some of these programs are standalone software packages, while others are modules or features included in leading student information or learning management systems. Here’s an overview of some of the many products that can improve communication between students and professors, allowing everyone to gain a clearer perspective on students’ needs.

Canvas Analytics…Read More