In higher education, nearly every decision is focused on student success. The guided pathways education model is one of the latest methodologies requiring institutions to make crucial choices that have the power to improve student outcomes.
There are many ways in which guided pathways can be beneficial for students but implementing this strategy will require additional attention from faculty and institutional leaders. Fortunately, data is on your side! Here’s how using data analytics can help your institution apply and succeed with guided pathways.
Create Program Maps
Using data analytics, you can get an understanding of student success patterns across certain programs and courses. From there, you’ll have the context necessary to develop structured program maps for all available focus areas.
Here’s an example:
A biology program map for a full-time community college student should identify all required courses and the order in which they should be taken. This might mean taking precalculus and BIO 101 in the same semester. You can use your institutional data to check past success rates for students who have taken these courses during the same semester to determine if the sequence could be beneficial for other students.
Adjusting Your Course Offerings
Since your program maps will create more structure in terms of when students should be taking certain courses, you can also use your data to ensure that you offer the ideal number of sections. This will help avoid waitlists and can keep students on track to achieving their educational goals in a timely manner.
This can also help you eliminate unnecessary courses. A goal under guided pathways — as well as California Bill AB 705 — is to reduce the number of remedial courses that students are required to complete before entering transfer-level classes. With data analytics, you can keep track of enrollments in these courses and remove unnecessary sections. This can also help you save resources such as classroom utilization and professors’ time.
In addition, removing any courses that won’t transfer to a four-year institution can help students accelerate toward their ultimate goal by keeping them in courses that are valuable for their major.
Monitor Student Progress
Under guided pathways, students need and expect more support when it comes to academic and career advising. Instead of seeking out an advisor as a last resort, frequent check-ins and proactive counseling can help students to remain on track throughout their program.
Data analytics can maximize the efficiency of your advising department, which is more important than ever before considering the additional contact advisors may need to have with their students. As a more proactive approach, advisors can easily perform checks and balances to quickly identify students who may be struggling. From there, they can intervene sooner. Since advisors will be seeking out students instead of waiting for them to ask for help, you can potentially prevent someone from failing or dropping out of a course.
By monitoring student trends, your data can be used as a tool to benefit future students. If a cohort seems to struggle in both BIO 101 and MATH 101 when taken in the same semester, you can suggest taking the courses in separate terms.
Evaluate Your Institution’s Success
Most importantly, student data will tell you if the reforms you’ve worked hard to implement are leading to better student outcomes. Here’s how:
- First, data can show you where any improvements have been made. You can evaluate this by pulling reports on course success rates and graduation rates.
- Next, you can pinpoint areas that still have room for improvement. Maybe your business administration program could be more skills-based if students are required to take a business-focused math course instead of just college algebra.
- Finally, you can use data to re-evaluate your curriculum. This could mean eliminating low-enrollment certificate programs or restructuring when and where your basic skills courses are offered.
Since a portion of funding is attributed to your student success metrics, using data as a catalyst toward your goals is a crucial step toward the overall success of your institution.
Whether or not guided pathways is deemed a success will depend on the data. What we do know is that restructuring curriculum and developing program maps means putting your data analytics to work.
Precision Campus is a fully customizable reporting tool developed specifically for higher education. Our software can be easily used by anyone at your institution to gain insight into student trends, course success rates, disproportionate impact rates and other metrics that can help you establish the best guided pathways possible.
Before getting started with Precision Campus, test out the software for free! You can access our demo environment here.