Solutions, or Data-Driven Decision-Making? (EDUCAUSE Review)

"Business analytics is quickly infusing its way into the decision-making processes of higher education. We all regularly hear the siren call "show me the data." This is an opportunity-rich step beyond the emotionally or empirically based decisions that have long been the cornerstone of decision-making. Under this "tyranny of the empirical," if student X has a particular problem, it must be universally true for all students. The natural response, then, is "Let's fix this problem!" The so-called problem, though, is frequently something that we don't truly understand and that pulls resources from other issues that arguably have a higher need for those resources. Resources that are increasingly scarce at institutions of higher education certainly cannot be spent fixing problems that may not exist in the first place. Using data to inform rather than drive decisions is one incremental step forward—and a giant evolutionary step for administrator-kind."—Source: EDUCAUSE Review

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With masses of data at our fingertips, it clearly is poised to help push institutional decisions forward. But don't make the mistake of relying only on the metrics — thoughtful analysis of the data is a key piece of the puzzle.