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Gates Foundation Postsecondary Success Strategy Dashboard

A college student looks at books on a library shelf
A data tool to predict the effectiveness of the foundation’s postsecondary educational equity work
  • Client
    Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Dates
    2022 - 2023

Problem

The Gates Foundation wanted to assess the impact of its student success program. 

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Postsecondary Success program seeks to promote the success of students from low-income backgrounds and students of color. The Gates Foundation needed to assess the expected impact of various aspects of this program in helping students graduate from college.  

Solution

NORC developed a data dashboard for predictive analysis. 

The Gates Foundation contracted with NORC at the University of Chicago to provide it with an interactive data dashboard for its Postsecondary Success program. The dashboard visualizes the results of predictive models based on a meta-regression analysis of more than 100 Gates-curated evaluation studies of education interventions. The models predicted the effects of developmental education, advising, and digital learning, separately and in combination, on graduation rates and numbers of bachelor's degree graduates. The tool puts a particular focus on closing graduation gaps for low-income students and students of color. Applying these models to 2018-2020 data from the U.S. Department of Education's Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, the dashboard allows users to perform predictive analysis for single institutions or groups of institutions.  

At the foundation’s request, NORC improved the data tool to include longitudinal adjustments to account for COVID-19-related disruptions to higher education attendance and graduation rates over time.  

Result

NORC is also providing technical support to Gates’s “intermediaries.”

To make the data tool suitable for a broad audience, NORC built an open-source (R-Shiny) data visualization platform that leverages model results for use by partner intermediaries and institutions. The platform allows foundation partners to explore scenarios for portfolio development and student outcome target setting relative to their strategic goals. NORC provided extensive methodological and user documentation as well. 

NORC also contributed to the mission in another way. Key to the Gates Foundation’s strategy is its “Intermediaries for Scale,” postsecondary-education non-governmental organizations that work with groups of postsecondary institutions to implement foundation-supported institutional transformations and student-facing programs in support of the foundation's goals. The foundation asked NORC to provide the intermediaries and postsecondary institutions with technical support on goal setting, key performance indicators, and using the data dashboard tool.

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