John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education

First-Year Data Audit and Analysis Toolkit

2001-2002 Academic Year Pilot Project Overview

The National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS) and the Policy Center on the First Year of College jointly sponsored a project during the 2001-2002 academic year to provide guidance to colleges and universities on how to assemble data on the implementation of first-year programs and the first year of college.

The project resulted in the Data Audit and Analysis Toolkit, a comprehensive collection of materials, resources, and guidelines which is designed to assist institutions in local data source compilation, data assembly, and data analysis procedures.

A key finding from the work of highly respected assessment scholar, Peter Ewell, Senior Associate with NCHEMS, is the critical need for institutions to inventory their current databases as the first step in developing a comprehensive assessment plan. The Policy Center partnered with NCHEMS to create a template that institutions can follow to: a) develop a complete inventory of their current data collection, and b) utilize the data to effect change in campus programming and policy development.

NCHEMS and the Policy Center worked with a selected group of colleges and universities to develop a system for identifying existing campus data and data sources and making use of that data as a vehicle for improving the first year of college. A pilot study was conducted under the direction of Mike Siegel from the Policy Center and Karen Paulson from NCHEMS during the 2001-2002 academic year to test the functionality of data audit tools and materials and assess the key factors that have an impact on the implementation of the data audit process at participating colleges and universities. NCHEMS and the Policy Center selected 10 pilot institutions representing a wide range of both two-year and four-year schools for participation:

  • Augustana College
  • Blue Ridge Community College
  • Lynchburg College
  • Northeast State Technical Community College
  • Ohio University
  • Santa Fe Community College
  • The University of Texas at El Paso
  • University of Cincinnati
  • University of Maryland
  • University of Minnesota, Duluth

For more information on the Data Audit Toolkit, please visit the NCHEMS website