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Culture of Evidence

“Using data-informed decision-making to close [equity] gaps and improve student outcomes.” - Achieving the Dream

As an Achieving the Dream institution, we recognize that we must create a culture of evidence where there is a cyclical improvement practice of using data-informed decision-making to close equity gaps and improve student outcomes. To be an effective college that uses data in our day-to-day activities, NOVA will move from data → to information → to action.

The goal of this cultural shift is to give Practitioners (faculty/staff) the framework to turn college data into information and ideas which translates to action that will impact the opportunities for access and success for our students. Together, we will:

  • use the ATD framework to ensure that more data is in the hands of the practitioners who need the data to inform their decisions;
  • ensure broader and more systematic dissemination of data across the college and define practitioner expectations for use of data;
  • develop and employ professional development for all practitioners;
  • elevate the student voice to inform decisions;
  • greater inclusion of practitioner voices to inform decisions; AND
  • increase the focus on action and improvement.

This will be an iterative process that includes:

  • Disseminate data to practitioners through Student Success, Data and Equity Summits (more information below). These summits will help practitioners get ideas about problems & solutions.
  • Co-creating research agendas by defining the questions practitioners want answered, the data displays and metrics needed and the schedule for when those reports will be shared. This will include both common performance metrics and benchmarks that practitioners need to use and those that are specific to their area.
  • Administer and give meaning to regularly scheduled surveys (national or institutionally developed) to understand student needs and experiences and ascertain the impact of NOVA’s actions to address needs or gaps.
  • Target student focus groups to delve deeper into specific areas of interest (e.g., transfer experience, intake experience, customer service, climate).
  • Administer ATD’s Institutional Capacity Assessment Tool (ICAT) to help in gathering practitioner perceptions of NOVA’s strengths in seven capacity areas that research has shown are critical to improving student success outcomes. Administration of the online assessment is followed by a Capacity Café to discuss results and identify actions to build capacity. As a result of the ICAT, NOVA will uncover a few quick actions that can be taken in addition to the longer-term steps that need to be developed and implemented.
  • Develop strong assessment processes that enable reflection/evaluation that include implementation fidelity, comparison of actual vs projected outcomes, identification of opportunities to further develop and refine strategies as needed and discontinue ones that are not working. We will do this in a timely, routine, and regular way to end the implementation fatigue.
  • Build a repository of research and resources. Each intervention listed above will be put in a standardized format and disseminated to all via the Daily Flyer.

Institutional Capacity Assessment Tool (ICAT)

The ICAT is an online assessment tool, developed by ATD, which supports institutions to measure their strengths and areas for improvement in the seven key dimensions outlined in their Institutional Capacity Framework.

The SST plans on completing the ICAT and utilizing the results to help improve institutional outcomes related to student success. To learn more about the ICAT and ATD resources, please check out their comprehensive and systematic approach to move forward.

Student Success, Data, and Equity Summit Information

The SST will ensure that more data is in the hands of the practitioners who need to use the data. Through Student Success, Data, and Equity Summits, all practitioners will engage in the learning opportunity to improve the use of data for equity sense-making, to drive college-wide change and support continuous improvement in student success efforts.