Institutional Data Sets for Higher Education Providers
What is this data?
Your institution will have a range of internal data sources about your students with disability. This includes:
- students who enrol and indicate they have a disability, the type of disability, and whether they need/want support
- the information you collect from the students who register with your services, and about the services you provide (often in a specific disability service database only accessible to disability practitioners). Some examples of databases from practitioners include Simplicity, Service Now, Point and Click and Oracle.
- the interaction and overlap (or not) with Higher Education sector statistics.
One area for improvement in your data collection is to consider how well your institution’s enrolment numbers marry with your registered students and how to close the gap in those figures. This might mean considering campaigns or processes to do this. In a recent survey of Disability Services Managers we asked them about this. Some key strategies included:
- sought permission from service users (students) to make the changes to student systems on their behalf
- made changes to enrolment processes to encourage more students to identify
- instigated awareness campaigns during orientation/enrolment activities
- developed regular student newsletter and feedback processes
- additional monitoring.
How is institutional data collected?
Apart from collecting student numbers there is so much more our systems can do now. For example:
- linking to other student management systems to get richer data about demographics, course information, participation levels etc
- developing a report or summary from survey responses of most common requirements.
What information are institutions collecting?
It varies from institution to institution, but common parameters include:
- number of students
- disability information and type, including multiple disability types
- number of access plans delivered
- types of accommodations/adjustments
- number of appointments
- hours of services provided
- costs per students
- ratio of students to advisors
What else do institutions collect?
- information about assistive technology and equipment
- faculty and unit details
- what works and what could be improved?
There have been many improvements in what systems can do but it often can’t do everything. For example, the system can’t encourage students to disclose disability; or improve centralised support for systems.
How can planning units assist?
Many Managers and practitioners don’t have the time, knowledge and resources to make the best use of this data. This is where your planning unit can help.
The value of this data and how it can be used
- distributing access plans
- considering caseload and numbers including the ratio of students to staff
- identifying specific trends e.g., increased participation of certain types of disability, grouping of particular disabilities in some disciplines compared with others so you can resource these students more appropriately
- informing the Department about enrolments in order to receive appropriate funding.
For examples of how universities use their institutional data explore the section Case studies.