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RETENTION, PROGRESSION & GRADUATION: DEGREE COMPLETION ANALYSIS AND SIX-YEAR GRADUATION RATES TELL DIFFERENT STORIES SAIR Award for Best Paper in 2007.

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Presentation on theme: "RETENTION, PROGRESSION & GRADUATION: DEGREE COMPLETION ANALYSIS AND SIX-YEAR GRADUATION RATES TELL DIFFERENT STORIES SAIR Award for Best Paper in 2007."— Presentation transcript:

1 RETENTION, PROGRESSION & GRADUATION: DEGREE COMPLETION ANALYSIS AND SIX-YEAR GRADUATION RATES TELL DIFFERENT STORIES SAIR Award for Best Paper in AIR Forum -- Session 709 Ed Rugg, Donna Hutcheson & Erik Bowe Enterprise Information Management Kennesaw State University

2 THE SKY IS FALLING! THE SKY IS FALLING! Education Trust strikes an alarmist cord -- far too many entering students fail to earn a baccalaureate degree within six years, especially minorities.

3 USDOE AND STATE SYSTEMS USE 6YR GRADUATION RATE FOR ACCOUNTABILITY But, Beware… But, Beware…  This model for RPG in college is outdated  Students and graduates go uncounted  Misleading & misguided judgments arise  Institutional productivity is short- changed  It perpetuates myths about college attendance

4 FLAWED ASSUMPTIONS UNDERLIE THE SIX-YEAR GRADUATION RATE Times have changed--the majority of the today’s college students exhibit nontraditional attendance patterns and characteristics Times have changed--the majority of the today’s college students exhibit nontraditional attendance patterns and characteristics

5 NCES Study, 2002 Key Finding: Three-fourths of today’s college students are nontraditional to some degree …So, why does USDOE put so much stock in the traditional student model of the 6Yr Graduation Rate?

6 NONTRADITIONAL ATTENDANCE PATTERNS ABOUND AT A METROPOLITAN UNIVERSITY LIKE KSU

7 MOST NEW COLLEGE STUDENTS ENTER IN THE FALL ONLY 60% of New Students Each Year Start in the Fall At KSU

8 MOST NEW COLLEGE STUDENTS ENROLL AS FRESHMEN At KSU Transfers Outnumber New Freshmen & Many Stopouts Re-enroll After 2yrs

9 FRESHMAN TO SENIOR CLASSES SHRINK FROM ATTRITION More Seniors than Freshmen at KSU Despite Low Graduation Rates

10 TRADITIONAL FRESHMEN FOLLOW TRADITIONAL ATTENDANCE PATTERNS Traditional-age Freshmen at KSU Quickly Adopt Non-Traditional Characteristics

11 Majority is Nontraditional-Age by the Sophomore Classification at KSU Traditional Age Trads Nontrads By Classification Freshman <20 70% 30% Sophomore <21 44% 56% Junior <22 36% 64% Senior <24 34% 66%

12 Progression Rates Are Surprisingly Slow at KSU Retained First-Time Full-Time Freshmen Average 13 Hours/Sem Retained First-Time Full-Time Freshmen Average 13 Hours/Sem so… so…  Only 1/3 are Sophomores after 1 yr  Only 1/4 are Juniors after 2 Yrs  Only 1/5 are Seniors after 3 Yrs

13 RPG Distraction at KSU— Attractive Employment Opportunities in Atlanta Three Times More KSU Freshmen Work >20 Hours Per Week Than Natl Peers Three Times More KSU Freshmen Work >20 Hours Per Week Than Natl Peers

14 A CALL FOR MORE INCLUSIVE ANALYSIS THAN THE SIX-YEAR GRADUATION RATE CAN PROVIDE

15 DEGREE COMPLETION ANALYSIS YIELDS DIFFERENT AND STRONGER RESULTS THAN SIX- YEAR GRADUATION RATES 6Yr Grad Rates track specific cohorts from the entrance of the pipeline, ignoring all other student groups (input and process)

16 DEGREE COMPLETION ANALYSIS YIELDS DIFFERENT AND STRONGER RESULTS THAN SIX- YEAR GRADUATION RATES Degree Completion Analysis focuses on all degrees coming out of the pipeline and disaggregating outputs

17 DIFFERENT STORIES  6Yr Rates: Only 400 graduated from each cohort of 1,200 FT/FT Freshmen in recent years  Deg Comp Anal: Five times as many, 2200, received bachelor’s degrees from KSU in recent years

18 DIFFERENT STORIES  6Yr Rate: No credit to KSU for degree productivity associated with undergraduate transfers.  Deg Comp Anal: Two-thirds of KSU’s bachelor degrees went to students who transferred to KSU—average age was 29 (nontraditional)

19 DIFFERENT STORIES  6Yr Rate: Only graduates who started as full-time freshmen and who completed in 6 years count, implying that others dropped out  Deg Comp Anal: Of the bachelor graduates who started at KSU as freshmen, 20% took longer than 6 years to complete their degrees, and their average age was 31 (nontrads)

20 *** DIFFERENT STORIES ***  6Yr Rate: Less than one-third of KSU’s most traditional FT/FT Freshmen graduate in 6 years  Deg Comp Anal: Almost one-half of KSU’s bachelor’s graduates are traditional-age, finishing college(s) in six years or less

21 *** DIFFERENT STORIES ***  6Yr Rate: Graduation rates are often lower for minority than majority freshmen  Deg Comp Anal: Representation of minority and majority groups at graduation closely match their representation in the undergraduate student body

22 Shouldn’t We Be More Concerned About…  All degrees conferred that contribute to a more educated workforce?  Instead of the few degrees that a narrowly defined and unrepresentative group of college students earns in 6 years?

23 Degree Completion Analysis  More Inclusive  More Informative  More Accurate  More Positive  More Meaningful

24 Let’s Tell Our Full Story Start a Movement Conduct a Degree Completion Analysis

25 HUDDLE UP! What Would Be a Useful Replacement for the 6Yr Graduation Rate? What Would Be a Useful Replacement for the 6Yr Graduation Rate?

26 THANK YOU! QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS ?


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