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When managing a federally funded grant program, data must be precise and readily available for policy decisions, funding decisions, and documentation of services provided. AccuTrack has been the only database our program has found to serve all of these needs. Our program would like to highlight some of the ways that AccuTrack’s solid programming and organization has provided us with the creative foundation to meet our demanding reporting needs.
Student Support Services is responsible for successfully assisting students with their transition into their first year of college as well as their successful transition into a bachelor’s degree program. The program needs the ability to track every step of the students’ path during their two years at the associate’s level. To capture this chronological data, we simply converted AccuTrack’s activity feature into a status tracker. This was accomplished by creating an activity category named status, assigning this category with specific benchmarks, and then simply logging the student in for this activity as their status changed within the program.
Example status entries include “Application Received” and “Ready for Intake” which benchmarks the students’ eligibility process. These status activities are also used to culminate the tracking of progress by properly exiting the student from the program. Exit data is later exported from AccuTrack and imported into the Annual Performance Report due to the U.S. Department of Education each year.
The Student Support Services Program awards nearly $150,000 to participants through scholarships, grant aids, and tuition exemptions. These extremely important financial decisions are based on program participation which is tracked in AccuTrack. AccuTrack allows the program to make extremely objective decisions while documenting precisely what determined one student to be awarded monies over another. This is a crucial ability that the U.S. Department of Education expects the program to demonstrate when distributing these types of funds. AccuTrack allows the program to exceed this expectation through its powerful reporting features. The reports imaged here are created by exporting semester visits under the student attendance option into a spreadsheet. This data is then imported into a database where a cross-tab query is created. Staff carefully weights different activities to create a participation score which represents each participant’s level of use of the program’s services. These reports coincide with other performance reports that link the level of program participation with academic progress including grade point averages. AccuTrack helps link the time spent with a student to the success of that student which is an essential tool for program assessment.
One of AccuTrack’s most amazing features is Seminar Registration. With this module, students in the Student Support Services Program are able to register for all of their required activities for the semester for which they receive reminder notifications for each event through AccuTrack. The program will host as many as 50 unique events each semester, all of which must have their exact times and locations finalized before the start of the semester. To accommodate the data entry burden that this type of planning requires, Engineerica’s Lead Developer, Cetin Basoz designed a seminar import feature which will create all the seminars without having to use the Modify Seminar form in AccuTrack.
This feature becomes even more valuable when coupled with export features in popular calendars like Outlook and Mozilla. In our program, our coordinator uses an Outlook calendar to plan the semester’s events by sharing the calendar with all staff and presenters. Once all dates and times are confirmed and rooms have been reserved, the coordinator simply exports this data into a spreadsheet. The spreadsheet is then formatted to line up with AccuTrack’s Seminar Information data and then it is imported easily into AccuTrack’s seminar information. This ensures that all dates and times planned are reflected perfectly in AccuTrack’s Seminar Registration module.
We didn’t stop there, we stretched AccuTrack even further by linking the Seminar Registration feature with its Activity Registration feature. This allows students to reserve their seat in particular events while allowing the program to control how the actual activity sign in is seen in AccuTrack when the students arrive. Now, only students who have registered for the event through Seminar Registration will be allowed to sign in at the time of that event. This helps the event planners prepare for each event knowing which students will attend while tracking the participation data that is crucial to program assessment and financial distribution decisions.
This link between Seminar Registration and Activity Registration is created by simply exporting a Seminar Registration report and then importing that data into Activity Registration. Once the activity is made active in the Student Set-up feature, then only registered students will see the choice when they log in for the event. The same spreadsheet exported from AccuTrack to feed the Activity Registration is used as a mail merge into a Word document to create a professional looking sign-in sheet for students to sign.
Many of these creative ways to get the most out AccuTrack are discussed in the forums at Engineerica’s website. With the new landscape in higher education where accountability has become a prominent agenda, having a sound tracking tool is imperative. Engineerica offers a great deal of support and helpful tips in their forums so, be sure to visit often!
Student Support Services
on State College
Fort Myers, FL