Student data derived from your online learning program can be a powerful tool for monitoring progress, setting goals, and measuring success. But if you’re not maintaining your student data, you could lose out on those benefits and potentially risk making decisions based on faulty information.
So what’s the best way to keep your data accurate? The answer is simple: conduct regular data cleanups—and the more often you do this, the more reliable your data will be.
It’s best to come up with an ongoing schedule for when your school or district should conduct student data cleanups. For most schools, the best time to do this is at the end of each semester to ensure you’re working with a clean slate at the beginning of the next semester. But do what works best for you.
Here are some things to think about once you’re ready to break out the digital mops and brooms:
What do I need to do to keep my student data clean?
First, be sure to disable, archive, or remove students from your system as necessary. If there were students enrolled who transferred or dropped out before completing classes, you don’t want those numbers to skew any reporting on the progress of remaining students.
You’ll want to take the same steps for students who have graduated or left your online program for other reasons. This way, those enrollments won’t distort the percentage of students on track to complete courses on time or any other report that may be dependent on enrollment figures.
Depending on what system you’re working in, you may also need to disable, archive, or remove data associated with those students, such as specific courses in which they were enrolled.
The courses themselves are another important aspect of your data cleanup. Course statuses need to be kept current. Again, depending on the system you’re working in, this can include updating course start dates and end dates or marking whether a course has been completed.
If courses aren’t kept current, it can distort your completion numbers. Accidental enrollments that are never disabled and courses that have actually been completed (but not marked completed) could make your program look less effective than it actually is.
What are the benefits of regular student data cleanups?
The biggest benefit to keeping your data up-to-date is that it will ensure your student data is accurate. That means any cumulative reports you look at will be more reliable. This can be especially valuable when setting goals or measuring the efficacy of your program.
Good student data is also more actionable because you can trust that it’s correct. If student data is accurate, it’s easier to make decisions about which students need instructional support.
Being able to trust your data means being able to make those decisions without spending a lot of time digging through the numbers to figure out who’s actually falling behind or struggling. And that’s more time that can be spent individualizing instruction for your students to ensure their success.