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Project #161

Using Technology to Collect and Analyze Data to Answer Key Questions on the Success of Students in STEM at PSU


The purpose of the Using Technology to Collect and Analyze Data Project was to collect key questions from faculty and units relating to improving student success in STEM, then finding ways to try to answer those questions.


  • Engaged with collaborators (Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Chemistry, Biology, Engineering, Physics, and the Pre-Health Advising Office) to identify and articulate measurable indicators (eg. grades, transfer credits, etc.) and program objectives which define success and identify intermediate variables that correlate to student success.

  • Worked with The Office of Institutional Research and Planning (OIRP) to identify available institutional data that will help identify and understand the "leaks" in the pipeline and/or other bottlenecks and leverage points in the pathway.



This project attempted to identify needs, address challenges, and improve student success in STEM. The initial findings include:

  • The most common path to graduation begins at a community college

  • Efforts to support underrepresented students have shown positive results

  • The analysis of Maseeh College of Engineering & Computer Science data pointed to the need to look at disaggregated data related to student success in other STEM degrees and pathways (including non-degree seeking, pre-health pathways), and

  • Recent changes in math and statistics course structure (e.g. larger class sizes) may be pushing students to community college for lower-level, prerequisite courses.  

Further, in order to effectively handle enrollment management and reduce barriers to student flow, the research group recommends that “end-users” of the data (e.g. faculty, STEM research team, and others) be engaged in discussions about what data is needed, and how to best access such data.



For more information, please see the project End-of-Project Report, Project Artifacts, and Final Expenditure Report. 


  • Paul Latiolais - Professor, Fariborz Maseeh Department of Mathematics and Statistics


  • Carlos Crespo - Director, School of Community Health, College of Urban & Public Affairs
  • Steven Bleiler - Department Chair, Mathematics and Statistics
  • James Hook - Associate Dean, Engineering & Computer Science
  • Drake Mitchell - Associate Dean, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
  • Sybil Kelley - Assistant Professor of Science Education & Sustainable Systems
  • Melissa Yates - Pre-Health Adviser
  • Jeremy Parra - Instructor, physics
  • Gwen Shusterman - Associate Professor, Chemistry  
  • Liza Finkel - Associate Dean, Academic Affairs
  • Joyce O'Hailoran - Professor, Fariborz Maseeh Mathematics and Statistics
  • Austina Fong - Instructor and Placement Coordinator, Fariborz Maseeh Mathematics and Statistics
  • Kathi Ketcheson - Director, Office of Institutional Research & Planning



Project Management Plan

Project Plan

 Status Reports

Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)

 Original Proposal