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Snapshot 20: National Success and Progress Rates Provides First National Benchmark Figures for Institutions Participating in Student Achievement Measure

Snapshot 20: National Success and Progress Rates Provides First National Benchmark Figures for Institutions Participating in Student Achievement Measure

by NSC Blog | Mar 23, 2016 | Research Services, Snapshot Reports |

Year-by-Year Persistence, Stop-out, and Completion Rates Released

By Christine M. Keller, Executive Director, Student Achievement Measure (SAM); Vice President of Research & Policy Analysis, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), and Doug Shapiro, Executive Research Director, National Student Clearinghouse Research Center

Today, the National Student Clearinghouse released Snapshot 20: National Success and Progress Rates. The report, based on the model used in the Student Achievement Measure (SAM), goes beyond typical measures of postsecondary attainment by tracking the fall 2009 entering cohort over time, and showing persistence, stop-out, and completion rates at the end of each subsequent academic year. The data include yearly outcomes for both full-time and part-time starters, and take into account the oft-neglected winter, spring, and summer terms. The results are based on a Clearinghouse dataset covering 96 percent of college enrollments nationwide across all postsecondary institutions, and provide national benchmarks for institutions participating in SAM.

On Monday, March 21, at the AACRAO Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Doug Shapiro presented key findings from Snapshot 20 and provided insights into how institutions can use Clearinghouse benchmarking reports to better understand their own data in relation to national trends.

Among the findings:

  • Across all sectors, including both two-year and four-year institutions, 39 percent of first-time, full-time students had completed a credential by the end of year four and 35 percent were still enrolled. By the end of year six, 59 percent of these students had graduated and 11 percent were still enrolled.
  • In the fifth and sixth years, the percentage of students graduating from a transfer institution grew at a faster rate than the percentage of students graduating from the starting institution. This was the case for every combination of sector and enrollment intensity, underscoring the importance of having accurate data on transfer outcomes.
  • Part-time students at four-year institutions were especially mobile, graduating from transfer institutions and starting institutions in almost equal numbers. By the end of year six, 24 percent of part-time starters at four-year privates had graduated from a transfer institution, compared to 25 percent who had graduated from their starting institution.
  • Tracking year-by-year progress can help institutions identify when their students are most at risk of leaving college. For example, at for-profit institutions, 70 percent of all stop-outs (among full-time starters) occurred in the second year, compared to only about 40 percent at four-year publics and four-year privates.

Snapshot 20, based on the model used in the Student Achievement Measure (SAM), goes beyond typical measures of postsecondary attainment by tracking the fall 2009 entering cohort over time, and showing persistence, stop-out, and completion rates at the end of each subsequent academic year.

The data and outcomes included in Snapshot 20 match those reported by institutions who participate in the national Student Achievement Measure (SAM) initiative. The SAM Bachelor’s model is created using data from the Clearinghouse’s StudentTracker® Cohort Query, which provides a summary of the retention and completion rates of a cohort group by academic year and institutional category.

Where Snapshot 20 provides sector-level benchmarks for student progress and outcomes, SAM data provides a comprehensive picture of student progress on their path to earning a college degree or certificate from an institutional perspective. Compared to the limitations of typical graduation rate measures, SAM reports more outcomes for more students than the federal graduation rate by including the results of students who transfer and those who attend part-time as well as full-time students. Government-led efforts usually underreport student achievement because they do not account for an increasingly mobile student population. The current SAM participants can report outcomes for nearly 600,000 more students than the federal graduation rate.

Participation in SAM is a simple way for public and private universities to publicly show a more complete and accurate picture of the progress and success of all their students.  With the Snapshot 20 release, the nearly 600 SAM participants can now better understand how their institution’s outcomes compare to national data.  Any accredited 2-year or 4-year institution is eligible to be a part of SAM and gain access to these key metrics. Signing up takes only a few minutes, and is free.

SAM is a joint initiative of six national higher education presidential associations: the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), the American Council on Education (ACE), the Association of American Universities (AAU), the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), and the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU).

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