Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right (maybe)

So, I am kind of moody about the latest BSO (Bright Shiny Object) to hit the ether this week. While I think the new report from EdTrust about Pell Graduation Rates is a good piece of work, I am again frustrated that the attention is on having a national database to play with…especially since it merely documents what some of us knew already.

Pell students tend to have lower graduation rates than the institution average and lower than non-Pell recipients.

We’ve been publishing such data since 2008, here in THE Commonwealth. Further, we have it by gender, race/ethnicity, part-time students, transfer students, and those taking remedial courses in the first year. Oh, we also do the same for all other Title IV programs and Virginia aid programs.

Of course, I am getting kind of oldish and dated. It is rare that I get excited by, let alone chase, each new BSO, even if it is a data BSO. I have more data than people are able to use. I also spend a lot of time thinking about reshaping published data, and doing so. So any new data must add value beyond what I have already. And that is a pretty high bar.

My relationship with data goes back a long ways. Long enough to explain the why my database is still relational. Data, she’s harsh mistress, but she doesn’t have to worry about me leaving her for the newest data. In fact, the older she gets, the more I care about her.

But I do get jealous that she doesn’t get the attention she deserves. Too often there is a bias for two things: national data and easy-pezy comparisons. I keep wanting the story to be along the lines of, “Very nice, you caught up with Virginia. Now what are you going to do with it? What’s your goal?”

You can read about our goals here.

I also want the occasionally story to be, “Oh, look at Virginia has done. Nice. Now what are you going to do with it?” “Well, let me tell you…..”

Dude, it is tabular. The data are tabular. Abide.

It ain’t no use in callin’ out my name, Gal
Like you never did before
And It ain’t no use in callin’ out my name, Gal
I can’t hear you anymore
I’m a-thinkin’ and a-wond’rin’ walkin’ all the way down the road
I once loved a woman,a child I’m told
I gave her my heart but she wanted my soul
Don’t think twice,it’s all right

Be nice. It won't hurt either of us.

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