OUTCOME DATA ARE CRITICAL!
Outcome (or follow-up) data are crucial for our understanding of the long-term impact of postsecondary education options for students with intellectual disability. At the National Coordinating Center, we use data on the outcomes of these students to advocate for continued funding and legislative support for programs like yours. It is critical that we capture data on students both at exit and annually for the period of time after they complete the program.
We assist you in outcome data collection by providing a data collection tool, offering strategies and tools to conduct outreach, and providing supports for data entry. Our hope is to demonstrate and highlight the benefits these programs have on student outcomes, and to use this information to inform continuous improvement efforts.
Thank you for your dedication to this important effort!
How to collect outcome data
(download a more detailed version of these steps)
Step 1: Before students complete your program, gather contact information.
As students get close to completing your program, set up a process to gather contact information from them as well as their families. We created a Student Contact Form for this purpose.
Step 2: Store contact information along with student system ID and exit date.
Set up one file to store all student contact information, along with their student ID number and date of exit. We created a Student Contact Info Spreadsheet for you to use. Record each time you reach out to program completers, including the date and method of contact. Every time you are able to get in contact with a student, verify that your contact information is current and note any changes.
Step 3: Know when it's time to reach out to program completers.
You only need to collect follow-up data on students who completed your program. You collect data once per year on the anniversary of the student’s date of completion. You'll receive automated reminders from the Data Network when follow-up data collection needs to be entered for your program completers.
You can log on to the Data Network at any time to review upcoming reporting dates. It might be helpful to create a calendar (paper or digital) to record when students complete your program and to mark the annual follow-up data collection time points.
We have established the following window for data collection:
- Annual data should be collected within 2 months (before or after) of the yearly anniversary of program completion.
Record the date that you collect follow-up data from program completers (i.e., the date that you talk to them on the phone or the date that a paper survey is completed), so that you can enter this into the Data Network.
Step 4: Decide how to gather data from program completers.
There are flexible options for gathering follow-up data. Choose the one that works best for you.
Option 1: Phone call: If you decide to contact program completers via phone, you can read the questions from Quickbase or use one of the paper options below to record answers as you talk to them. You may want to prepare a script to use.
Option 2: Paper survey: There are two ways to download a paper version of the survey. 1: You can download the 4-page PDF version of either the the annual survey. Before sending a survey to a student, you must write in the student’s system ID number in the top right corner. 2: You can download a version of the survey directly from Quickbase that has the student system ID number and date of exit pre-filled. Mail the survey to the student with a stamped self-addressed envelope so they can return it to your program.
Option 3: Electronic survey: You can share a link to the follow-up data collection survey via Qualtrics. If you choose this option, you will email or text this link to your program completers to fill out themselves. The data will go directly into a Qualtrics account owned by the Institute for Community Inclusion at UMass Boston. Staff at Think College will then upload responses into the Data Network. You'll be able to access responses through reports in the Data Network.
Think College is not permitted to collect student names or other identifying information. That's why you'll need to give program completers their student system ID number to complete the survey.
Step 5: Enter follow-up data into Qualtrics
Beginning April 2018, all outcome survey responses will be entered into Qualtrics. The data are then uploaded once a week from Qualtrics into the Data Network.
Use the Qualtrics link to input all outcome data once you have gathered it from former students: https://umassboston.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_1BIXNNpsjcIKDzL
Step 6: Think College wants to send your former students a gift card!
Beginning April 16, 2018, the Think College National Coordinating Center will provide each former student with one $10 electronic gift card each time that they provide you with responses to the outcome data survey (once per year). All they need to do is provide an email address and we will take care of emailing them the gift card. They can choose from a Starbucks, Target, or iTunes gift card.
Here’s what needs to happen for the former student to receive a gift card:
- You reach out to your former students each year on the anniversary of when they completed the program.
- Ask your former students to respond to the outcome survey questions. You can do this via phone, paper survey, electronic survey, or in person.
- Ask each former student for their email address and to choose which gift card they would like (Starbucks, Target, or iTunes).
- Enter the outcome data directly into Qualtrics (https://umassboston.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_1BIXNNpsjcIKDzL )
- At the end of the Qualtrics, you will be redirected to a separate google form that will ask you to enter the email address and gift card choice.
- If former students are completing the electronic survey themselves, they can enter their email address and gift card choice directly.
- Repeat the above for each former student you reach out to!
Former students can expect to receive a gift card via email in about 1-2 weeks from when we receive their email address.
Do you have any resources that would help others to stay in touch with students and manage follow-up data outreach efforts? If you have anything to share, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you!