Working with Clearinghouse Data

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Pam Borkowski-Valentin, Swarthmore College

Laptop required
Software required: SPSS (version 18 or later); Excel (any version)

To participate in this workshop, an attendee will need to:

1. Have SPSS version 18 or later on their laptop.
2. Have Excel (any version) on their laptop.
3. Have some experience working in SPSS (e.g., Sort, Compute Variable, Select Cases, Identify Duplicate Cases).
4. Have experience working in Excel (e.g., inserting columns, formatting cells, copy/paste, sorting and other basic functions).

*Please note: in order for the workshop to begin on time and cover all material as described, participants are expected to arrive at the workshop with all software and supplemental materials pre-loaded on to their laptops.

NSC data provides Institutional Researchers with valuable enrollment and graduation information for prospective, current, and former students. However, this data becomes even more powerful when linked to institutional data. For example, an Institutional Researcher could connect the processed NSC detail return file to institutional data and examine differences in matriculation behavior based on selected characteristics, such as intended major, athletic status, level of financial need, or any other demographics as compared to those who did enroll. By working with NSC and institutional data, Institutional Researchers can provide additional information such as this to decision makers at their institution.  

While the NSC detail return file holds much information, it is necessary, however, to first  parse out the most useful records for each student so that these additional analyses can be run. This workshop will provide an overview of the process of working with NSC data, from preparing the batch query file (which is how we ask the NSC about the group that we want to examine) to working with the NSC return files.

Intended Learning Outcomes:
Participants in this workshop will:

1. Learn how to use Excel to create a StudentTracker batch query file (including using multiple search dates in a file and what to consider when selecting search dates).
2. Learn when to use the aggregate return file and when to use the detail return file.
3. Learn what project-specific decisions have to be made before working with a detail return file.
4. Learn various ways in which NSC and institutional data can be utilized to answer institutional questions.
5. Learn how to use SPSS syntax to place degrees into degree categories.
6. Learn how to use SPSS to select one record per person (first enrollment record, first degree, highest degree).