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The Benefits of Longitudinal Data

by NSC Blog | Nov 2, 2018 | K-12, Research Services, StudentTracker for High Schools |

Why StudentTracker for High Schools Follows High School Graduates For Eight Years

StudentTracker for High Schools presents its data over a six-to-eight-year timeframe, as a given high school class moves forward. Some of our participating schools and school districts ask why we track graduates for so long. Let’s examine the benefits of looking at postsecondary outcomes longitudinally.

As students graduate from high school, some may not know what they’re doing next. If they have the intention of enrolling in college, that may not always come to pass as they expect. Measuring college admission rates, or using graduating student surveys, doesn’t provide accurate data the way college enrollment records do.

But enrolling in college – as verified by the colleges themselves, not the students – is only the first step in students’ postsecondary journeys. It’s only the beginning of the story the data can tell. For example, a longitudinal look can help you determine:

  1. What percentage of students drop out of college – and when along their degree paths do they drop out? Do some of them re-enter later on, and if so, when?
  2. Why are students dropping out?
  3. Is there something that can be done at the high school level – more college funding advice, perhaps, or a greater focus on organization and time management – that could boost persistence rates?

And once a policy change has been made, whether at the school, district, or statewide level, a longitudinal data set can help schools track the change’s effect. This can help schools evaluate the before-and-after of anything from a principal-led mentoring program to a new curriculum.

StudentTracker for High Schools’ longitudinal approach equips educators with the data they need to improve student performance – both during and after high school.

StudentTracker for High Schools’ longitudinal approach equips educators with the data they need to improve student performance – both during and after high school.

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