Data and Evaluation

Data and Evaluation - Why it Matters

In order to obtain maximum impact and effectiveness, college access and success programs need buy in and support from their local stakeholders and communities. The best way to achieve this is through tracking student enrollment data and degree completion. Consider the following statement by GuideStar, in its article The Importance of Evaluation:

“Well-run organizations and effective programs are those that can demonstrate the achievement of results. Results are derived from good management. Good management is based on good decision making. Good decision making depends on good information. Good information requires good data and careful analysis of the data. These are all critical elements of evaluation” (April 2005). 


NCAN is pleased to help advance college access and success programs by offering the following resources that support data and evaluation efforts.

 Data and Evaluation Toolkit
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. 

 Student Tracker, National Student Clearinghouse
NCAN is pleased to further support college access and success programs through a collaborative agreement with the National Student Clearinghouse. As a result, NCAN offers StudentTrackerSM services at a discount of up to 50 percent for our members, enabling college access and success programs to track student postsecondary enrollment and completion. 

To learn more, visit the NSC Partnership page

Evaluation Toolkit, Pell Institute

The Evaluation Toolkit is designed for professionals who work with college outreach programs that are interested in conducting small scale, high quality evaluations of their programs. 

To learn more, visit
The Pell Institute.

 Data Management - Why Quantifiable Information is Important 
Good management of data and effective assessment is valuable to a college access program for multiple reasons. NCAN shares information about the following:

  • Feedback for program enhancement;
  • Determination of service utilization;
  • Identification of gaps in service;
  • Reporting for program managers, boards of directors and the public;
  • Information for fund providers; and
  • Preparedness for evaluation.

To learn more, visit the Data Management page.

 Data Usage for College Access and Success: Insight from the Field 
Curious about how other programs use data? Confused about which data platform might be a good fit for your organization? This NCAN brief seeks to help you answer both of those questions. Written as a product of the Common Measures Learning Community, the 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. 

To learn more, download Data Usage and Platforms for College Access and Success: Insight from the Field.

"A Practical Approach to Program Data" Webinar Series

The collection, management, analysis, and reporting of data all affect a program’s capacity to serve its students, but these topics can sometimes be confusing. Even programs with a seemingly good handle on working with data can learn new tricks and techniques to help them get better.

In order to help college access and success programs improve their capacity with data, NCAN teamed up with Idealware to offer an exciting benefit for our members! From September 2015 to January 2016 we held a seven webinar series titled “A Practical Approach to Program Data.”

Topics progress from which questions to ask of data all the way through how to make use of data both internally and externally. Although programs will get the most benefit from viewing all seven webinars, each individual webinar is intended to stand alone.