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Practices with Promise Success Story

Submitted By: Cheryl Harris, Coastal North County Adult Education Consortium

Creating a Data Culture among Adult Education Stakeholders

The Challenge

The Coastal North County Adult Education consortium was interested in supporting its stakeholders with easier access to relevant and timely data, with the goal to better inform decision-making at all levels of the Consortium’s adult education programs. In 2016, most types of institutional data related to student demography, enrollment trends, and other critical metrics, were only available by request and obtaining reports often took considerable time. We sought to reduce or eliminate “data bottlenecks” and make more types of data widely available and on-demand, so that strategic decisions about programming and other initiatives could be more effectively developed.

The Solution

Over the past three years, the CNCAEC participated in the development of a data warehouse that enabled multiple sources of data to be efficiently analyzed. It also invested in a dedicated Institutional Researcher trained in data visualization methodologies. We created a series of interactive dashboards that allowed us to track student enrollment, academic performance, attendance data, demography, employment patterns, and many other metrics . The dashboards provide tools toward strategic enrollment management (SEM), daily usage of student services (such as counseling and advising), and even allow instructors to look up their current class assignment(s) and view a breakdown of student characteristics.


The implementation of the dashboards seems to have encouraged the growth of a “data culture” at the CNCAEC. Faculty, staff and administrators seek out data to inform planning, and actively engage with it. The more data available to us, the more questions are posed that can be addressed by reliable, timely information. All faculty/staff have access to the dashboards within a web-based portal, and are able to consult with our researcher. Analytics related to how the dashboards are used, and feedback from users themselves, has been applied to continuously improve the dashboards and make them more relevant for user’s needs.

The Data

By democratizing data and finding new ways to share information throughout our programs, we believe we have a valuable tool and method to improve our strategic planning and decisions.

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