Year of Publication

2012

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

Education

Department

Educational Policy Studies and Eval

First Advisor

Dr. Kelly D. Bradley

Abstract

Increasing demands for accountability from both the public and the government have resulted in increasing pressure for higher education professionals to use data to support their choices. There is significant speculation that professionals at all levels of education lack the knowledge to implement data-driven decision making. However, empirical studies regarding whether or not professionals at four-year postsecondary institutions are utilizing data to guide programmatic and policy decisions are lacking. The purpose of this exploratory study was to explore the knowledge and habits of undergraduate admission professionals at four-year colleges and universities regarding their use of data in decision making. A survey instrument was disseminated and, the data collected from the instrument provided empirical information, which serves as the basis for a discussion about what specific knowledge admission professionals at four-year institutions possess and how they use data in their decision making. The instrument disseminated was designed specifically for this study. Therefore, before the research questions were addressed, Rasch analysis was utilized to evaluate the validity and reliability of the survey instrument. Data was then used to determine that undergraduate admission professionals perceived themselves as using data in their decision making. The results also indicated admission professionals feel confident in their ability to interpret and use data to in their decision making.

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