Federal Data Omits Major Components Of College Completion Issue

May 31st, 2010

Currently, most of the data that government agencies and higher education institutions use to report progress on college access and success omit large numbers of students.  Transfer students and part-time students, for example, aren’t included in the success rates reported in the major national database on postsecondary education, nor does the database flag low-income students in a way that enables the public to track their progress (see Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, commonly known as IPEDS). This US Education department survey only covers first-time fulltime freshman. The missing and invisible students constitute two-thirds of the students in many broad access colleges. Students who are not counted will be  ignored in college accountability sytems.

However, 22statewide 4 year college systems are compiling their own data to overcome IPEDS shortcomings, and provide a more accurate overview of college completion. Se www.nashonline.org

One Response

  1. Suzanne says:

    I am glad to see recognition of the limitations of the data filters that may exist in higher education. It reminds me of the old adage that there are “lies, damn lies, and statistics.” But, really, people need to understand and acknowledge the filters through which data passes and what, as a result, is left out or makes it in to the results. Thank you.

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