Benchmarking and Data Use

We know it's important that college access/success programs are able to demonstrate that their programs and interventions are having a real measurable impact on the students and communities they serve. But many of us run the other way when we hear the words data, benchmarking, measuring, impact, evaluation, etc.

In an effort to help our members increase their level of comfort with data and data use, NCAN has several tools available. These include the Member Program Benchmarking Project, Common Measures and the Common Measures Learning Community. These are some of the many strategies NCAN has been encouraging its members to adopt to facilitate program improvement. 

  • NCAN has produced a Data and Evaluation Toolkit to help members use data to examine and improve program practice and outcomes. The toolkit includes a Common Measures Quick Reference, a Common Measures Handbook, a Program Evaluation Primer, and many other tools and resources.
  • The NCAN Member Program Benchmarking Project is helping us learn more about the postsecondary enrollment and graduation rates of students who have participated in our member programs. During the first year, we collected baseline data but our goal is to collect this data annually and begin to observe trends in graduation and retention rates for students who have benefited from NCAN member programs. Find links to the report and case study series here.

  • Closing the Graduation Rate Gap: National College Access and Success Benchmarking Report 

    This annual report series is the result of NCAN working with our members and with the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center (NSCRC) to establish meaningful metrics about the outcomes of students served by college access and success programs. Using data collected from NCAN member programs, the NSCRC calculates an enrollment rate and graduation rates for students served by these members. Developing and tracking these metrics are critical as the college access and success field increasingly turns toward data for improving program performance and understanding student outcomes.

    Round 1 Report (Classes of 2007, 2008, 2009, 2013)
    Round 2 Report (Classes of 2008, 2009, 2010, 2014)
    Round 3 Report (Classes of 2009, 2010, 2011, 2015)
    Round 4 Report (Classes of 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015)

  • The Common Measures is a standard set of evidence-based outcomes and indicators to guide and assess college access-success programming. The framework specifies two key outcomes (college enrollment and completion) as well as associated interim indicators that all college access and success programs serving traditional-age students should use (12 “essential” indicators and 25 optional indicators).