Assessment Brief #106 - Using the NSC Student Tracker as a Tool for Indirect Assessment

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December 2019

Using the NSC Student Tracker as a Tool for Indirect Assessment

As noted on the Assessment Resources website, indirect assessment serves as an important tool for providing context and richness to assessment findings resulting from direct methods. Frequently-used indirect assessment methods include surveys of graduating students, focus groups, and interviews. Some additional questions that sometimes arise when seeking to understand student learning and success concern what happens to students who leave the University or never attend. Examples of such questions might include: Where do students enroll who are admitted at Miami but do not attend? What happens to students who drop out or stop out? and Where do students go for graduate or professional school once they graduate from Miami? The National Student Clearinghouse (NSC) Student Tracker serves as a free tool that can be used to answer these questions and more. 

The NSC was established more than 25 years ago as a means to verify college student enrollment for financial aid verification. It later expanded its role to provide students, schools, and postsecondary institutions with a robust method of tracking student enrollment. The NSC's Student Tracker tool is a nationwide resource for following students' enrollment and graduation across institutions. It can be used for any defined student cohort, such as in the examples above or for students in various groups or those who use certain services. More than 99% of institutions report data to the NS. The tool is FERPA-compliant, and because Miami already pays for its use, it is free for those who use it as a means for indirect student assessment. Additional details about the NSC Student Tracker are available at

If you would like to make use of the National Student Clearinghouse Student Tracker for assessment purposes or would simply like to learn more, please contact William Knight, Assistant Provost for Institutional Research and Effectiveness, at or 513-529-1660.