Project Title:Degree Attainment Efficiency MeasureInstitution Name:Purdue University Calumet
Innovation Category:Accountability and Advocacy
Project Director:Ralph V. Rogers, Vice Chancellor for Academic AffairsContact Information:(219) 989-2446,
Project Description:In order to compile a more complete picture of degree production at colleges and universities than is provided by the traditional, yet highly imperfect “six year graduation rate, a measure is needed that incorporates all graduates—not only those from the first-time, full-time cohort. Degree Attainment Efficiencyis a measure that includes all of the following student populations: full-time and part-time students, as well as those who attended a single institution, those who transferred in, those who began enrollment during any semester, and those who took more than six years to complete their baccalaureate degrees. Efficiency, as it relates to this measure, is defined as the number of graduates produced annually in relation to the size of the college or university’s undergraduate enrollment (FTE), indexed against a standard of perfect efficiency. A perfectly efficient baccalaureate degree granting college or university would admit 25% of its FTE each year and graduate 25% of its FTE each year. This idealized model is based on the recognition that typical baccalaureate degrees are created as four year plans of study. The Degree Attainment Efficiency Measure involves a simple calculation: (Degree Attainment Efficiency = [Graduates per year / undergraduate FTE] x 4). Applying this formula to Purdue University Calumet in 2010: Degree Attainment Efficiency = 55.9%, compared to a six-year graduation rate in the same year of 28%.This Degree Attainment Efficiency Measure provides an alternative, complementary metric that institutions can use to demonstrate productivity, accountability and the value of public investment in state postsecondary institutions.
- To provide a more complete picture of degree attainment at colleges and universities that enroll substantial numbers of non-traditional students
- To provide an assessment tool to support the public policy effort to expand degree attainment
- To provide students and families more complete information about specific college and university success at graduating students.
- Purdue University Calumet now includes the Degree Attainment Efficiency Measure as part of its strategic plan assessment.
- Purdue University is considering using this measure system-wide. A desirable outcome includes the wider adoption (i.e., across systems, states) of this measure as a supplement to the standard “graduation rate” measure that is currently used as a descriptor of institutional success.
- Use of this measure will be successful when substantial numbers of colleges and universities incorporate it into their standard data reports.
Challenges/Problems Encountered:Promotion of the graduation efficiency attainment measure for wider use. Finding a measure that uses existing reported data (the Degree Attainment Efficiency Measure does use currently existing data).
Evaluation Approach:This project is still in development and has not yet been evaluated.Factors in evaluating the usefulness and effectiveness of the Degree Attainment Efficiency measure should include the extent to which the metric is used for internal and external reporting purposes, how it is used for purposes of advocacy and conveying institutional effectiveness, and the degree to which the measure is adopted and actively used by a wider array of institutions and systems.
Potential for Replication:This measure uses standard data that are collected for all institutions. Use of IPEDS definitions and/or state approved definitions of FTE assures the possibility of making comparisons across institutions.
Additional Resources:“A New Metric for a New Time: A Proposal for a Standardized Graduation Efficiency Measure,” with Nabil Ibrahim, Change Magazine, V.3, n.40, May-June 2008
CEO-to-CEO Contact:Thomas Keon
, ChancellorThomas.Keon@purduecal.eduDate Published: Wednesday, March 23, 2011