Analyzing Student Flows through Course Sequence
University of California Davis, Center for Educational Effectiveness
Catherine Uvarov, Marco Molinaro
Each term, the course enrollment must be estimated long before students register because departments need to determine how many sections of a class to offer, reserve adequate classroom space, and find instructors for the classes. Proper estimation is necessary to ensure students have access to courses they need to graduate. This estimation is complicated when a multiple-course sequence can be taken discontinuously, and enforcement of prerequisites is not automated during class registration periods. The purpose of these visualizations is to show how historic course grade data could be used to determine the enrollment composition of a course. These visualizations show student flows leading into enrollment in the third course in a 3-course long sequence (CHE 2A, 2B, and 2C), and how changes to prerequisite enforcement could change enrollment.
The Ribbon Tool, developed as part of TEA, was chosen to help visualize student flows over multiple time points, with filters for student information. The Ribbon Tool is freely available (1). The Microsoft Windows Snipping Tool was used to grab screenshots of the visualizations since exporting of images is not currently available.
The data for these particular visualizations were created from a data file of compiled gradebook and assessment data for the courses and terms in question. Similar course enrollment and grade information could also have been obtained from the University Registrar.
The layers for the Ribbon Tool are:
- Enrollment Status (Enrolled, Not Enrolled)
- Grade – Rounded (A, B, C, D, F)
- Grade – Exact (A+, A, A-, B+, B, B-, etc.)
For more details about what evidence was collected, and actions taken, join the Tools for Evidence-based Action group on Trellis.