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A Growing Culture of Evidence? Findings From a Survey on Data Use at Achieving the Dream Colleges in Washington State

By: Monica Reid Kerrigan & Davis Jenkins

Abstract

A central strategy of the Achieving the Dream (ATD) initiative is promoting a “culture of evidence,” in which colleges collect and use information about students to inform improvements in practice. This report discusses the use of data on students by faculty, administrators, and student services staff at six Washington State colleges that joined ATD in 2006–2007. Using data from surveys conducted in 2007–2008 and 2010–2011, the authors examined differences in data use between the three groups and changes in the frequency and extent of data use between the two survey waves.

Overall, there was broad use of data by administrators and of certain types of data by faculty and student services staff, but there remain opportunities for increasing the use of student data in the Washington State ATD colleges. ATD colleges in Washington State and elsewhere should consider ways to better connect the data to faculty members’ focus on instruction and consider ways to engage student services staff more in the use of data on student progression.