NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED520476
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 16
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 12
How One University Examined Graduation Rates of Its Undergraduate Student Population
Paterson, Nicola; Gordon, Garvin
Association for Institutional Research (NJ1), Paper presented at the Annual Forum of the Association for Institutional Research (50th, Chicago, IL, May 29-Jun 2, 2010)
The Office of Planning and Institutional Research (OPAIR), at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus was asked to undertake an analysis of student throughput rates as part of a University-wide initiative involving the three campuses. Each Campus was provided with a template and guidelines for reporting the data. The exercise was intended to develop a consistent methodology for reporting throughput rates among the Campuses and to assist Faculty and Department Heads in monitoring the academic progression of students on a continuous basis. Undergraduate throughput rates were calculated using a time-to-degree measure which tracks entrants from one academic year to the next over a number of years. Incoming cohorts entering in September 2000 to 2004 were tracked up to the period 2007, allowing for a seven-year graduation rate for the initial cohort. The target population consisted of all undergraduate degree seeking entrants regardless of whether or not it was their first time in university. As the debate continues in the United States about the methodology and implications of graduation rates, this paper outlines a number of alternatives for institutions and policy makers to consider. First, universities interested in examining their graduation rates in detail may consider replicating the internal exercise performed by the University of the West Indies, and where institutions suffer low graduation rates based on the time-to-degree methodology, could calculate a Graduation Efficiency Index or expected completion rates to see whether these alternative methods present favorable results. For policy makers, graduation rates need to be interpreted in the context of a number of factors, one being whether or not the institution is public or private and how selective it is of its student population. Where performance funding is a practice of any state, time-to-degree measures do not necessarily reflect the "efficiency" of a given institution as may a Graduation Efficiency Index, and among highly selective institutions with high graduation rates, these institutions may not be performing optimally if their actual completion rates fall below their expected completion rates when using regression analyses. And finally, until such time that the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) is replaced by a student unit record information system, a good resource for tracking transfer students is the National Student Clearinghouse. Appendices include: (1) Guidelines and Checklist for Computing Throughput Rates; and (2) Other Factors to Consider for Computing Throughput Rates and Checklist. (Contains 10 tables and 2 footnotes.)
Association for Institutional Research. 1435 East Piedmont Drive Suite 211, Tallahassee, FL 32308. Tel: 850-385-4155; Fax: 850-383-5180; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: Policymakers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Association for Institutional Research
Identifiers - Location: United States