November’s webinar on collaborative data-sharing hosted by the Florida College Access Network (FCAN) featured the analytics team at the Central Florida Education Ecosystem Database (CFEED) and their success in leveraging data to improve outcomes for students.

Led by CFEED Director Diana Pienaar, Michael Holt, product director/innovation manager, and Ashton Terry, senior manager, the webinar revealed how a unique collaboration between education institutions in Central Florida is driving student success from preschool to postsecondary education.

CFEED is a collaborative data-sharing project with Valencia College, University of Central Florida, the School District of Osceola County, and Orange County Public Schools.

The project’s unique structure and funding from the Helios Education Foundation has accelerated its ability to assemble a team of analysts and data specialists who actively work each day to curate and analyze 15 years’ worth of individual student data from pre-K through postsecondary completion.

This data not only provides powerful insights for each participating institution, but has also resulted in more than 200 completed projects, institutional action, and student intervention.

The CFEED team’s work has significant implications for K-12 education and post-secondary readiness. Their findings on middle school acceleration and dual enrollment readiness can help decision makers support students as they navigate through their academic journey. CFEED’s research highlights a need to address participation gaps and provide additional support to students who are not participating in acceleration despite demonstrating high levels of readiness. The CFEED team aims to stimulate these proactive conversations about reducing barriers to post-secondary education by identifying where and when students need support, before they slip through the cracks.

The webinar celebrated interventions and initiatives aimed at improving student success at Valencia College, such as the Transfer Scholars Program. This program provides tuition support for relevant courses at Valencia, incentives for remaining part-time during the first semester at UCF, and a campus tour program to help students navigate a new institutional culture and campus. The interactive transfer readiness model uses data and predictive analytics to identify actionable populations of students who need this guided support before and after they transfer. The model focuses on identifying problems and scenarios where students can succeed and facilitating tailored paths for each student.

Our incredible panel of speakers repeatedly emphasized the need for collaboration and data sharing across institutions to improve student outcomes. They explained how CFEED is able to bring together data from multiple sources to provide a comprehensive view of the student journey and identify areas ripe for innovation and intervention. The speakers also addressed concerns about data privacy and explained how CFEED is able to protect student information while still providing valuable insights. Finally, they discussed the potential for CFEED to expand beyond its current ecosystem and become a service available to institutions across the state.

Key Themes

Middle School Acceleration
The CFEED team has compiled data from hundreds of thousands of students in Osceola and Orange counties, and their research has shown that middle school acceleration is a key milestone along the student college access journey. However, there is a gap in participation that aligns with race and ethnicity, with only 25% of Black and Hispanic students being accelerated in middle school. The team has also identified a large group of students who are not participating in high school acceleration like AP or dual enrollment when they demonstrate high levels of readiness. CFEED institutions are working on closing these gaps by providing additional support to students who demonstrate potential but lack access to opportunity.

Matriculation and College Success
Osceola Prosper provides all graduates from high school in Osceola County with free college or technical education at Valencia College or Osceola Technical College. CFEED’s research shows the program is working, but more needs to be done to help all Osceola Prosper students maintain their grade point average and complete their associate degree programs at Valencia.

Transfer Shock Events
CFEED’s findings inspired the Transfer Grant Program at UCF, as CFEED research shows the challenges transfer students to UCF face and which programs experience higher rates of attrition. Transfer shock events, such as low GPAs and withdrawing from courses, are opportunities for early intervention points. CFEED presented a live demo of an interactive transfer readiness model that targets students who are still in Valencia College and getting ready to transfer. The model identifies students who have started the application process to UCF and those who are signaling that they’re getting ready to graduate. The model also identifies students who are veering away from their recommended path and may need additional support in taking extra courses.

Stakeholder Communication
The CFEED team engages with stakeholders from all four institutions through regular governance meetings and various communication methods. They provide training for data interpretation and offer additional assistance for targeted questions. Their research ties into students all over, and they use a LinkedIn page to keep stakeholders current on their projects.

Key Questions

  • What are the benefits of middle school acceleration for students?
  • How can dual enrollment readiness be improved to increase post-secondary success?
  • What challenges do students face in the transfer process from community college to university?

Show Notes:
To find out more about collaborative data-sharing, take advantage of these resources:

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