Use of data visualization and analytics in education is growing
Best practices from education institutions using SAS® solutions
By Georgia Mariani, SAS Global Industry Marketing Manager for Education
Forward-looking education leaders in early learning to higher education institutions are expanding their use of data visualization and analytics in education to turn vast amounts of data into data-informed insights.
What’s driving this upward trend? And what does it mean for your organization?
These innovators in education have one thing in common: they understand that when people at all levels have timely access to the right data and reports, they can generate trusted knowledge and insights that help transform programs, curriculums, student outcomes and more – in ways that deliver desired results faster.
When building out a reporting and analytics solution for your organization, make sure you invest in software that can be upgraded, expanded and can scale as your needs evolve.
For example, they can empower decision makers to conduct what-if scenarios that help them anticipate the full impact of the decisions that they make today. Consider, for example, the ability to assess students’ progress during the semester, which then allows advisers to intervene promptly with outreach to students who are underperforming. Using data mining, statis¬tical analysis, forecasting, text analytics, and optimization and simulation, there are no limits on the insights users can gain. And when they give end users access to interactive, self-service analytic visualizations and ad hoc visual data discovery and exploration, they put fast insights within everyone’s reach – even those who lack analytic skills.
But to realize these kinds of benefits from data visualization and analytics in education, they need software that supports three essential activities:
- Data management: The first step in any analytics initiative is to integrate, cleanse, validate and manage data as a valued asset so it can be used to drive strategic decision making. With a comprehensive management solution that supports analytics and decision management, organizations can fully exploit and govern information assets, uncover hidden insights that improve student success and enhance operational effectiveness.
- Data visualization: Intuitive, interactive dashboards empower users to visually interact with data; answer questions quickly; make more accurate, data-informed decisions; and share their findings with others.
- Advanced analytics: As use of reporting and analytics increases, users tend to ask more sophisticated questions. And this usually means doing more than just reacting to data in hindsight; it requires using analytics to empower leaders to become predictive, proactive, data-informed decision makers. For example, users can predict which students are at risk of failing or dropping out of school so they can proactively take steps to retain them.
Customers share lessons learned on the path to success
Implementing transformative software solutions in ways that are widely adopted and deliver expected benefits can be challenging. So through interviews with SAS P-12 and higher education customers, we’ve captured key lessons and best practices and aggregated them in sources such as the following:
- Wayne State University pairs data visualization and Hadoop to make data-informed decisions.
- Des Moines Area Community College uses analytics and data visualization to help students prosper in the classroom and beyond.
- Western Kentucky University determines what’s best for more than 20,000 students.
- New education policy = new opportunities for reporting and analytics series.
- Education meets big data: Statewide longitudinal data systems.
These stories illustrate how our education customers are realizing significant value from analytics. They speak with the voice of experience – and offer time-tested insights that can help streamline and accelerate your evolution and maximize return on investment now and in the future.
I look forward to sharing selected insights and best practices through a series of articles that will provide practical tips on the use of analytics in education.
Georgia Mariani is the SAS Global Product Marketing Manager for the Education Industry. Mariani works with customers to share best practices, successes and recommendations that enable education institutions to get the most productive insights from their data.