An organization can document that a student completed a program of study while enrolled at the institution, but there may be several institutions that awarded credits to the student.
Should this achievement be considered institutional success only by the institution awarding the degree? Should all other involved institutions also be able to consider the completion as success?
The 2012 National Student Clearinghouse Research Center Signature Report “Completing College: A National View of Student Attainment Rates” noted that approximately 22.4 percent of students did not earn a degree at the first institution they attended.
A deeper analysis of the data indicated that 23.6 percent of traditional aged students and 34.1 percent of students who began at two-year institutions completed degrees a different institution than where they started.
Many institutions are beginning to incorporate data analytics into their decision processes and the WCET PAR project is one example of how datasets shared by a group of institutions can provide insight into factors of success across targeted groups of students in order to improve persistence and completion.
On the other hand, student success is achieved when they meet personal goals. It may be a few courses or an entire degree, but they often have difficulty identifying institutional programs and services that will support their needs.
Current ranking structures and various transparency websites, including the U.S. Department of Education’s College Navigator, provide data, but a review across several sites does not provide consistent comparable data nor do they provide much information about student or institutional success.
So how does a student discern what institutions would be a good “fit” to reach personal goals?