The State Higher Education Executive Officers Association has released three reports on effective use of state postsecondary data systems. Analysis of student-level data to inform policy and promote student success is a core function of executive higher education agencies. Postsecondary data systems have expanded their collection of data elements for use by policymakers, institutional staff, and the general public. State coordinating and governing boards use these data systems for strategic planning, to allocate funding, establish performance metrics, evaluate academic programs, and inform students and their families. In 2015, SHEEO, as part of a project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, surveyed state coordinating and governing boards on their collection and use of postsecondary student-level data. Following the survey, SHEEO conducted in-depth analysis in seven states whose survey responses indicated an exemplary use of data in specific subject areas. Reports regarding the effective use of data systems in three states – part of a larger series – are now available. The reports are:
• “Privacy, Confidentiality, and Security in Arkansas” provides an overview of the Arkansas Research Center’s philosophical approach to ensuring privacy and confidentiality of student data and their advanced technological methodology for safeguarding data security.
• “Promoting Transparency and Accountability in North Carolina” highlights the University of North Carolina’s use of its data resources to support policy priorities including evaluating teacher preparation programs and promoting reverse transfer.
• “Data-Driven Decision-Making in South Dakota” discusses the South Dakota Board of Regents’ (SBDOR) presentation of data to external stakeholders, its focus on Native American students, and the relationship between SDBOR leadership and research staff.