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NCAA Division II Institutional Performance Program: Academics Best Practices

Key points to remember when reviewing academic data

  1. The information obtained through the NCAA Division II Institional Performance Program (IPP) should generally be an affirmation of what you already know about your institution.
  2. The first step in beginning your analysis of data is determining your end-user goal(s).
  3. Some of your analysis may not require you to review all of the data that is provided through the management tool.
  4. Information provided on the first page of the academics data section only provides a general overview of the academic health of your athletics teams.
  5. It is important to remember that data only provides part of the total story and other factors may also contribute to the overall analysis of the data.  Using other available resources will assist you in gathering all of the relevant information necessary to make your decision.
  6. It is recommended that institutions work with their research staff when reporting data to ensure consistency to be mindful of federal reporting guidelines.

Accessing and sharing information

  1. There is a difference between the individuals who are given access to the data, which includes the ability to drill down into specific data points and create comparisons versus individuals with whom information is shared.
  2. Institutions should designate an individual to serve as the lead/point person for accessing data in the IPP management tool.
  3. Institutions should always give access to the following individuals:
  • President and chancellor; director of athletics; and institutional designee.
  1. Institutions should consider giving access to the following individuals/groups:
  • Director of your academic support services for student-athletes, faculty athletics representative/faculty athletics committee chair and senior woman administrator.
  1. As a best practice, institutions may consider sharing information with the following individuals/groups:
  • Institutional key decision and policymakers; senior level and sport administrators; academic support staff; coaching staff members; student-athletes; and conference commissioners.

Data analysis: A broad view

  1. There is no prescribed path for reviewing and analyzing data in the IPP management tool.
  2. For a broad-level view, the best place to start is to look at the home page of the academics data section.  This page will provide you with your institution’s overall academic health as it relates to:
    1. Academic Success Rate.
    2. Federal Graduation Rate.
  3. Next, you can review each of the subsections within the academics data management tool, which include the following:
    1. Initial eligibility.
    2. Progress to degree.
    3. Outcomes.
  4. Use the available comparisons to compare your institution’s data with the data of other groups of institutions.
  5. If there is a particular athletics team for which you would like additional information, use the drill-down menu to select that team and review the academics data.

Data analysis: A more narrow view

  1. There is no prescribed path for reviewing and analyzing data in the IPP management tool.
  2. The following questions and responses will be helpful in determining how best to analyze the data:

Question

Response

Where should I start?

Identify the issue and determine your goal in reviewing and analyzing the data.  After you have determined your goal, determine which data points are meaningful and necessary to respond to your inquiry.

What do the numbers mean?

Once you have reviewed some of the data, determine if the data requires specific action or whether you need more data and/or information to determine what action is needed.

How does our institution compare to other groups?

Put your information into the appropriate context and create appropriate comparison groups.

What else do I need to know?

Identify the additional information you need to better explain the data and/or make an informed decision.  This could include additional data from the online management tool or data that must be obtained from other sources.

Where can I get more information?

If the additional information is not available within the online management tool, work with your institutional research staff and/or the NCAA research staff to obtain additional information. Information obtained through interviews and discussions with relevant staff members may also be needed to reach your goal and determine the appropriate course of action.

Who else should be involved in this discussion?

This could include individuals such as student-athletes, students, academic advisors, faculty, coaches and other athletics and nonathletics administrators.

Academic support services review

  1. Institutions should conduct an annual review of the academic support services they provide to student-athletes.
  2. Academic support services reviewed should include individuals within and outside of the athletics department, as well as student-athletes and members of the academic support staff.

Case study example

The academic performance of several of your institution’s sports teams have been decreasing over the course of the past three years.  You would like to review the academic performance of all of your sports teams to do the following:  (1) identify recruiting issues; (2) make appropriate personnel changes; and (3) appropriately fund your academic support services.

Question

Response

Where should I start?

You identified the issue of declining academic performance. The goal of reviewing the data is to determine the cause(es) of the declining academic performance.

The following data points could be helpful in this determination:

  1. Initial eligibility, including average entrance grade-point averages and test scores.
  2. Progress toward degree, including number of hours enrolled and earned.
  3. Outcomes, including graduation and retention issues.

What do the numbers mean?

While the data may indicate that your institution needs to take immediate action as it relates to the number of student-athletes the institution accepts that are “high risk,” declining grade-point average performance or other academic reasons, it is also good to consider the data in the broader context.

How does our institution compare to other groups?

Put your information into the appropriate context and create appropriate comparison groups.  This type of assessment will be important when your institution is looking to be competitive within their conference.

What else do I need to know?

Identify the additional information you need to better explain the data and/or make an informed decision. This may come from academic support staff, team captains, student-athletes, coaches and sport administrators.

Where can I get more information?

Identify where you can find the additional information. The additional information listed above can be obtained through interviews with these individuals.

Who else should be involved in this discussion?

Once a report and analysis has been completed, the findings should be shared with senior level management as it relates to overall student-athlete success and budgeting. The information should also be shared with your academics support staff, head coaches and sport administrators.