Data Sharing and Unit-record Data Release Policy
The mission of Earlham College emphasizes a search for truth wherever that pursuit leads..... while "letting the evidence lead that search." The Office of Institutional Research and Assessment (IR) is an important resource providing assistance to community members in their research by gathering and sharing data and evidence about the College.
The IR Office serves as the primary source of accurate, consistent, definition-driven data about Earlham College. Aggregate data for points of interest such as enrollment and retention rates or survey reports are available to the public on the Institutional Research website.
Much of this institutional data is produced and maintained by other offices such as Admissions, Registrar and the Business Office. Each department is responsible for the accuracy, quality and integrity of institutional data apropos of that office. (For example, Admissions is accountable for application information; Registrar, for enrollment; and Accounting, for billing and financial information etc.) All these data, including IR data, are proprietary, i.e. owned by Earlham College. Some forms of College data are highly confidential and fall under Federal Regulations (FERPA) and may not be released in a public manner. Because extra data sets take time to prepare, this request process allows for planning, coordination and prioritization of these requests.
Note that the IR, Registrar, Admissions and other offices on campus will not release any unit-record data (data with identifying variables) except under very specific conditions and only in accordance with FERPA regulations. All identifiers (such as ID number or name) will be redacted, thereby maintaining the confidentiality of the data. There are specific conditions for the release of unit-record data and they are:
- Requests by Board of Trustee members, senior administrators and faculty representatives of standing committees or academic departments for decision-support, institutional planning or departmental assessment, upon approval by the appropriate senior administrator.
- Requests by recognized researchers for scholarly work, to be considered by IR and the appropriate senior office. A request for data must include reason for research, intended audience and plans for dissemination and/or publication.
- Mandated reporting to the State and Federal government.
Unit-record datasets cannot be released to any other parties, including students (even for classroom use or research purposes.) One exception to this policy is that of class rosters released to instructors from the Registrar's Office. To be eligible to receive any data with identifying factors, the recipient must be approved by the FERPA officer on campus.
Aggregate results of some Institutional Research reports such as the Common Data Set, Factbook and assessment surveys are considered public and are posted on the IR homepage. Although this information is not subject to FERPA regulations, data posted at the IR website and aggregate data released to you should still be handled with care.
If you are seeking data about Earlham College, please first check the IR website and the moodle IR Library (password protected)
If you need to make a customized data request, please complete the Data Request Form. This form should be completed at least 30 days in advance of when the desired data are needed. The IR Office will notify the individual or parties within a reasonable timeline if it can comply with the request.
If you are interested in conducting a survey to collect data from students, faculty, employees or alumni, the survey must be approved in advance. The surveying office should contact the Advisory Committee on Assessment before the 7th week of the semester preceding the semester of the planned survey. Use the same Data Request Form to also request a place on the survey schedule.