Think, Know, Prove: Final KPI Entry

Think, Know, Prove is a regular Saturday feature, where a topic with both mystery and importance is posted for community discussion. The title is a shortened version of the Investigative Mantra: What do we think, what do we know, what can we prove? and everything from wild speculation to resource referencing fact is welcome here.

Ok, so I’ve been a total failure at fulfilling my original plan and getting something written about Performance Based Funding (at least in part because I’ve been dragging my feet on reading the actual law), but I remain optimistic that it will happen next week. In the meantime, I’ve written about Key Performance Indicators twice (here and here) and found some interesting reading elsewhere on the topic that I thought I’d share.

First, there was this piece from Inside Higher Ed in which the author makes six suggestions in the hopes of informing the “new set of national metrics for assessing student performance at two-year institutions” under development by the Feds.

The six recommendations are:

Completion Rates for Community Colleges Should Include Transfers to Baccalaureate Institutions.

Completion Rate Calculations Should Exclude Students Not Seeking Degrees.

Recognize that Community College Students Who Start Full-time Typically Do Not Remain Full-time.

Extend the Time for Assessing Completion to at least Six Years.

When Comparing Completion Rates, Compare Institutions with Similar Students.

Support Hopeful Signs at the Federal Level.

Their justifications are just as important and interesting as the suggestions themselves. It is a piece well worth reading.

The other one is an article about what colleges can learn from Moneyball. I thought it was interesting, anyway, and less scattered than my attempts on the same topic (see links above).

So, with all of that in your heads and maybe some additional knowledge about what is the current state of KPI development (ongoing at the FC4 level, in coordination with local administrations (looking at you Metoyer) and district office): What do you think? What do you know? What can you prove?

3 thoughts on “Think, Know, Prove: Final KPI Entry

  1. I read the two linked articles. Decent ideas, but I still have concerns.
    First, do I need to be logged in to see the comments. If so, then I can understand why I see no comments. If not, I am concerned that there is no feedback. We as educators should be talkin’.
    Second, I believe data, stats, and metrics are useful in education but I will not back down from my position that education and entertainment are two different worlds with very different purposes. I say educators should be careful and cautious in making comparisons and/or analogies.
    Baseball pursues the best possible athletes in order to draw more fans. More fans equals more revenue and thus profit. Professional sports is all about making a profit. I have yet to read the book, but does it state why the A’s adopted these new measures? I doubt they did it to simply prove a point. I believe it had to do with putting fans into the empty seats. Correct me if I am wrong.
    In education, we have a different bottom line. It has nothing to do with revenue. It has everything to do with providing the best possible educational opportunities for the members of the community.
    I don’t like that funding will be tied to KPI. By accepting this metric for money, we simply are accepting to play by the rules of capitalism. That’s a dangerous move and we best be careful before moving forward.

      • From the first article:
        “Community colleges serve many students not seeking a college degree, and these students should be excluded from the calculation of completion rates.”

        A better way to define degree-seeking status is based on student behavior. Have students demonstrated pursuit of a degree by enrolling in more than two or three classes?

        From the second article:
        “… a university is not what its buildings look like, or what its reputation or rankings say, but what it has done. And by done, we don’t mean research. The link between research and instructional efficacy is unproven at best.”

        “How ironic that we may be doing a better job gathering baseball statistics at colleges than we are at gathering education statistics. It is essential that we begin to track persistence data on part-time and transfer students on a systematic basis.”

        Just because the last quote includes a statement about baseball, it does not mean I am contradicting myself. I agree that business has done a better job at collecting data and crunching numbers than the education world. They do it in the name of profit. Education must do its share of data gathering but not for the sake of capitalism or to follow in the footsteps of corporate america. We need to clean house, but not to follow the money, but to guide the students.

        Thanks for asking.

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