ERIC Number: ED346894
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992-Jun-22
The Siren Call of a Single Success Measure.
Despite the fact that one of the strengths of two-year institutions is their ability to serve the diverse educational needs of their local communities, a single measure of community college effectiveness, the transfer rate, has come to dominate. Because this single measure of success can be used for both internal institutional review, and for public accountability, a major debate concerning how the transfer rate should be calculated has ensued. Two major initiatives, one overseen by the National Effective Transfer Consortium, and the other by the Center for the Study of Community Colleges, are underway to develop a nationally accepted definition of a transfer rate. Each of the two projects examines whether the transfer outcome has been achieved for a defined group of students, either those who entered at the same time (entering cohort) or those who left at the same time (exiting cohort). Both studies qualify who is represented in the potential pool of students, require a minimum number of hours of college-level work to be included in the cohort, and reject classifying students by curricular intent. Neither projects' definition should be endorsed in its current form. Instead, the definitions should be modified in the following ways: (1) multiple transfer rates should be considered, with perhaps one primary rate and several secondary measures; (2) the primary rate should be a pure outcomes measure utilizing an exiting cohort; (3) the entering cohort measurement should be considered as a secondary rate; (4) the transfer rate of vocational students should be reported separately; and (5) student intent should be considered only for a secondary rate. (JMC)
Descriptors: Accountability, College Outcomes Assessment, College Transfer Students, Community Colleges, Comparative Analysis, Definitions, Degrees (Academic), Higher Education, Mathematical Models, Outcomes of Education, Research Methodology, Research Needs, School Effectiveness, Student Educational Objectives, Success, Transfer Rates (College), Two Year College Students, Two Year Colleges
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Summer Institute on Community College Effectiveness and Student Success (4th, Vail, CO, June 21-24, 1992).