What Do You Know About Participants in Your Education Program?
You may have digital components of your programs or databases of your participants, but what do you really know?
Most organizations have tracking data on their educational programs of some sort or another. Oftentimes though, this data may not be adequate to understand a program’s effectiveness. There are many levels of data quality and analytic capability starting with the most basic enrollment data through leveraged third-party data that can give your organization insight not only into your program’s effectiveness, but also the net outcome as compared to non-participating organizations. At that highest level you can really understand the net impact of your program both today and in the lifetime of a participant. For instance, nutrition programs in the K-12 market can lead to less sick days, which correspond to a higher graduation rate, which ultimately can lead positive outcomes over a lifetime.
Tie info to standardized database
One of the best ways to both assure data quality and leverage the data you gather is to tie your program data to a standardized education market database. In the K-12 space, there are a number of such data sources: NCES, MDR, MCH, Agile, K12 Data, and Great Schools. NCES (National Center for Education Statistics) is the government agency behind much of the statistics data in the other data sources.
What’s important here is that as you collect a contact or a participation record, you’re collecting a school ID along with that data. Having that ID has many benefits, with the first and foremost being you’ll never count two schools as one. You can save your participants a great deal of time and assure accuracy by pulling in location information from your school database.
Past that, you’ll now be able to leverage your enrollment data with whatever demographics are available in your school database such as enrollment, location, size, ethnicity, and socio-economic data. The best part of this is that, if done correctly, you actually minimize the amount of data your users have to enter.
Take hard look at data
Once you’ve established a solid linking to a rigid school structure, you’ll want to take a hard look at the data you are collecting. Remember less is more here, and gather the essentials such as title but focus on key questions that will tell you how much they’re engaged in your program. Ideally you want metrics that give you an indication of their progression in terms of engagement. Hopefully you’ll be able to gather third-party data to measure your outcomes, but if that’s not possible ask a question or questions that can be used as a metric for outcome.
As in most efforts, the most import thing is starting. The information you gather will be one of the most important assets your organization and program have.
MMS Education helps nonprofit and for-profit companies and organizations reach, engage, and measure impact in the PreK-12 education market.
Why do so many of the country’s Fortune 500 companies, corporate foundations, technology companies, government organizations, and education companies choose MMS Education as their partner?
Clients choose MMS Education because of our deep understanding of the education market, backed by nearly 40 years of working with schools, systems, administrators, and agencies.
Most importantly, we embrace your mission and deliver on time and on budget, whether you’re outsourcing one specific project or need a complete turnkey operation.
Call us today at 800.523.5948 or fill out this form to see how MMS Education can help you reach, engage, and measure impact in the PreK-12 education market.