Meg Casper Sunstrom, Deputy Commissioner for Strategic Communication
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BATON ROUGE, La. – Seeking to track data over time to monitor progress toward meeting its Master Plan goal of doubling the number of postsecondary credentials awarded annually by 2030 while improving the overall prosperity of the state, the Board of Regents launched a publicly accessible data toolkit on its website today. The toolkit can be accessed at https://regents.la.gov/datatoolkit and includes the Master Plan Data Dashboard, the Prosperity Index and the Louisiana Higher Education Factbook.
The Master Plan Data Dashboard includes nine interactive attainment metrics, disaggregated by race/ethnicity, geography, and age range, that can be filtered by system and institution type to track progress and inform decision-making. Metrics include enrollment, Pell enrollment, GO Grant enrollment, retention, math passage rates, completers, Pell completers, time to degree and full-time faculty. The Factbook includes static information relevant to enrollment demographics, persistence, graduation rates and more.
The Prosperity Index is a pilot application designed to measure high-level changes in the state’s prosperity over time. It contains five core dimensions – education, economy, wellness, infrastructure and society – and compares them across Louisiana Regional Labor Market Areas (RLMAs). This pilot uses publicly available (pre-COVID) data sources, broken down to the parish level. It was created by the Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL) based on information collected through comprehensive literature reviews, focus groups and interview sessions with leaders from a cross-section of Louisiana agencies.
Regents envisions using the Master Plan Data Toolkit to examine the effects of system-level policy changes in driving progress towards meeting both 2030 Master Plan goals: doubling the number of credentials conferred annually and achieving 60% degree/credential attainment among Louisiana’s working-age adults. In fact, the Master Plan directly calls for the creation of the Louisiana Prosperity Index to “report broader, society-wide measures such as income, poverty and employment.”
“I am excited about the power of these tools and how we knit them together to measure progress and improve our work,” said Commissioner of Higher Education Kim Hunter Reed. “We are bringing to the table education, economic and workforce development, and human services, allowing us to conduct analyses in ways Louisiana could not do in the past. For our campuses and communities, we are looking to accelerate success so that more of our students and families prosper,” said Commissioner Reed.
The Prosperity Index and Data Dashboard are complimentary tools which allow policy makers to expand their research beyond traditional education metrics in order to explore the many dimensions that inform a prosperous Louisiana. However, because the Prosperity Index uses standardized scales, the resulting scores should not be interpreted as “good” or “bad” and do not represent actual values, like data found in the Dashboard.
“With our Master Plan, Regents now has a higher calling,” said Chairman Blake David. “Our focus is not just on how higher education is performing. We can now ask, is Louisiana doing well? Are we more prosperous? From there, we can convene the kinds of conversations needed in every region of the state to bring people together and move forward. This is a tremendously productive use of existing data and I only see it growing over time.”
Looking ahead, Regents plans to finalize the Prosperity Index over the next year, working with partner agencies to identify additional data needs in priority areas such as such as criminal justice, industry-based certifications and dual enrollment, for inclusion in the model. Additionally, workshops among cross-sector agencies will allow Regents to inform its partners on how to use the Master Plan Data Toolkit appropriately and effectively in their agencies and communities.