NCAN Releases Data and Evaluation Toolkit

March 28, 2016

By Bill DeBaun, Program Analyst 

Exciting news for NCAN members this week: NCAN’s Data and Evaluation Toolkit is now live. This set of resources is designed to help programs better understand topics like NCAN’s Common Measures, program evaluation, and student data security and privacy. More and more programs are realizing the power data have to improve program performance and scale their program capacity, which is why this toolkit comes at a great time. The Data and Evaluation Toolkit was designed with support from the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation.

The Data and Evaluation Toolkit includes the following resources:

Common Measures Quick Reference - This short document lists all of the Common Measures and the abbreviated citations to the research related to them. NCAN’s Common Measures are separated into “essential” and “if available” indicators, as well as by “Access” and “Success” and subcategories therein. To view the full citations for each of the Common Measures, consult the Common Measures Handbook. This is an updated version of the two-pager that was released when the Common Measures first launched.

Common Measures Handbook (members only) - The Common Measures Handbook is a lengthy reference that examines each of the Common Measures indicators and suggests the form in which its related data are stored, data sources, technical and tracking notes, and related research. This document will evolve as new suggestions on tracking and collection are offered by NCAN members and as new research relevant to these measures enters the field.

Data Usage and Platforms for College Access and Success: Insight from the Field (members only) - Curious about how other programs use data? Confused about which data platform might be a good fit for your organization? This white paper seeks to help you answer both of those questions. Written as a product of the Common Measures Learning Community, this paper includes data from a survey of NCAN members and profiles and testimonials of five different data platforms being used by college access and success programs nationally. Future editions of this white paper will consider even more data platforms in the field.

Program Evaluation Primer (members only) - The phrase “program evaluation” is often viewed suspiciously or defensively, but the process of program evaluation can be extremely helpful for understanding what a program is successful at, where it could improve, and where its activities can and cannot be measured. This primer, written in “FAQ” style, is for those trying to learn more about what a program evaluation is and isn’t and whether and when a program evaluation might be right for them.

NCAN Common Measures Program Dashboard Excel Tool (members only) - This Excel spreadsheet is an upgraded version of the data tool that was released by NCAN in 2013. In this version, programs to add student level data, and that data is aggregated to a program-level dashboard that shows the program’s current status on various NCAN Common Measures. For more information on this tool, consult the file’s Instructions tab. This tool will continue to evolve and be updated according to NCAN members’ needs and feedback. Although this tool is not a replacement for a full data platform, it may be helpful for programs getting their start with data.

Not a member? Join today to gain access to the Data and Evaluation Toolkit and many other member-only resources.

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