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How to Mine NCES Reports for Hidden Treasures

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Computer-related Issues

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

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Paper Authors


Barry Dupen Purdue University, Fort Wayne

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Dr. Dupen is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering Technology at Purdue University Fort Wayne (PFW). He has nine years’ experience as a metallurgist, materials engineer, and materials laboratory manager in the automotive industry. His primary interests lie in materials engineering, mechanics, and engineering technology education. He is also an experienced contra dance caller.

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The National Center for Education Statistics is a treasure trove of information on primary, secondary, and postsecondary education. NCES follows students from kindergarten through postgraduation employment, and reports the data in an annual report which is supplemented by detailed tables in spreadsheet form. This report discusses the ways in which many factors in higher education have changed over time; these factors include the popularity of different college majors, student diversity (e.g. age, gender, ethnicity, economic background), graduation rates, and employability of graduates by major. Some data, such as employability of 25-29 year olds with a bachelor's degree, have only been collected in very recent years, while other variables have been collected for decades. With the data, we can answer historical questions such as “how did the Great Recession affect college attendance and majors?” and student advising questions such as “given my interests and abilities, would an Engineering Technology degree be a good choice if I want to pay back my student loans by age 30?” In addition, NCES publishes projected statistics for the next decade. Projections indicate a 13% increase in college enrollment in the next 11 years, with the highest growth rates amongst women, people of color, Hispanics, Asians, and students over 35. Professors and administrators in higher education can use this information for academic advising, for requesting resources, and for planning. This paper will review some of the more interesting datasets available from NCES reports through the lens of the Baldrige Excellence Framework, which requires that data graphics show levels, trends, and comparisons (relevant benchmarks) over time. This paper will also discuss ways we can use NCES data to improve Engineering Technology education and advising.

Dupen, B. (2018, June), How to Mine NCES Reports for Hidden Treasures Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30586

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