The Top Five Indicators of Student Success—And How To Leverage Them To Increase Retention

The Top Five Indicators of Student Success—And How To Leverage Them To Increase Retention

The Top Five Indicators of Student Success—And How To Leverage Them To Increase Retention

A typically high-performing student has been tardy more often the last month. 

And now, they haven’t shown up for three days straight. 

What’s going on?

There are many different factors that go into whether or not a student will succeed, some are surface-level like whether or not they’re showing up to class. 

But other factors require you to dig deeper and connect dots that may be difficult to uncover in time if you’re working across different systems like an LMS, SIS, survey tool, and attendance tool. 

In this blog, we’ll cover the top five indicators of student success, and how you can quickly connect the dots to help more students make it to graduation. 

Emotional indicators of student success

If a student feels neglected, unheard, or otherwise emotionally disengaged from their program, it is less likely that they will be successful in their program.

On the surface level, the best way to measure and quantify how a student is feeling about their program and progress is through direct feedback and surveys. Oftentimes accreditors will require surveys at set intervals throughout the program, but some schools have found success in adding opportunities for feedback at more frequent intervals. Gathering general feedback about your school and program more regularly will help you catch issues early. 

For example, one COO at an allied health school found that students were dissatisfied and struggling because the microwave in the student room was broken. Students would come straight from work or other responsibilities and be unable to eat before class, and we all know how difficult it can be to focus when you’re hungry. 

But self-reported metrics aren’t always the most honest. Because students may feel uncomfortable submitting a poor satisfaction survey, it’s important to pair surveys with behavioral data to identify deeper issues. For example, is a typically high-performing student suddenly skipping a particular class? Perhaps they’re having an issue with the instructor that they don’t feel comfortable raising with administration. 

Looking deeper into student behavior will help uncover emotional roadblocks that may prevent them from succeeding in their program. 

Attendance indicators of student success

According to Ena Hull, COO of Legacy Education, attendance is one of the most significant indicators as to whether or not a student will be successful in their program. 

On the surface level, attendance is straightforward. If a student isn’t showing up regularly, they won’t have enough hours to complete their program, and they’ll fall behind on assignments. If a student isn’t showing up for a class or completing online assignments at all, they’re at risk of being automatically dropped due to the 14-day rule. 

But there are other attendance indicators schools should consider as well. As mentioned, a sudden change in attendance can be a sign of an emotional issue, whether it’s a personal issue or an issue with an instructor or program. Pairing attendance data with satisfaction data can help uncover the root of the student’s issue.

Another attendance indicator is tardiness. If a typically prompt student is suddenly tardy, it could be a sign of a deeper issue. However, if a student is consistently tardy, it needs to be addressed early on in order to ensure the student is workforce ready. While a tardy student may make it to graduation, they may struggle to find success in their chosen career if the tardiness remains an issue. Addressing tardiness early in a student’s journey will ensure their continued success well after they complete your program. 

Finally, do students have insights into their time and attendance? If they don’t, they may not be proactive about making up missed time. They also may not feel as engaged with their educational journey…

Engagement indicators of student success

As with many of the other indicators of student success, there are surface-level indicators of student engagement, like class interaction, communication with instructors / admins, and whether or not a student is prepared for class. A sudden change in any of these engagement indicators could also signal a deeper issue, similar to attendance. 

But diving deeper into these day-to-day metrics helps you uncover a more holistic view of student engagement. For example, are they thinking about their future? Are they excited about seeing their progress reports and motivated to keep moving forward?

Academic indicators of student success

If a student isn’t doing well or understanding the material, they risk falling behind, getting disheartened, or not securing their credentialing post-graduation. 

The academic indicators of student success are straightforward, students are either doing well and understanding the material, or they aren’t. But it’s important to look at academics as part of the bigger picture and consider the impact that one area can have on another. For example, if you have a student who isn’t attending class and has been doing poorly on their academic assignments, it becomes a “chicken or the egg” situation. Are they not attending class because they’re doing poorly on assignments, or are they doing poorly on assignments because they’re not attending class? 

Looking at all the indicators as parts of a whole will help better identify the root cause of a student’s risk and get them back on track.

Pacing indicators of student success

Finally, all these indicators ladder up into student pacing and help you track: 

  • How the student is pacing. Are they on track to graduate? 
  • Are they falling behind their cohort? 
  • Where are they getting stuck? 

These questions can help alert staff to student risk and help them get back on track. 

But you’ve made it this far, so you know we’re not just about surface level metrics.

One of the most powerful ways to help students succeed is by giving them visibility into their own pace and progress. When students understand where they are in their program, they can make decisions that proactively support graduation. 

For example, one beauty and wellness school found that implementing CourseKey’s student application to help students visualize time and attendance helped motivate them to pick up their pace and graduate on time. During a break, students compared their time and progress on the CourseKey app. One student realized that she was falling behind her cohort, and if she didn’t get back on track, she wouldn’t graduate with her friends. She put in the work and successfully achieved her goal of graduating on time with her friends.

Pulling the data together with CourseKey

Individually, each of these five factors can deeply impact student success. But when you look at them individually, you may be missing a deeper root cause that’s impacting success. 

Many schools struggle to look at these factors holistically when data is spread between different systems like the SIS, LMS, digital or paper surveys, and/or paper attendance sheets. 

CourseKey combines all the different risk factors into one clear student record, giving schools quick insights into each of these indicators and how they impact one another. 

Request a demo to learn more about how CourseKey gives schools the data they need to help more students succeed.

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