2. SAM (Student Achievement Measure)

SAM tracks student movement across postsecondary institutions to provide a more complete picture of undergraduate student progress and completion within the higher education system.

An alternative to the federal graduation rate, which is limited to tracking the completion of first-time, full-time students at one institution, SAM has two models, one for students enrolled in bachelor’s degree programs and one for students enrolled in associate’s degree or certificate programs.

For more information on the two SAM models and the calculations, see the “Resources” page.

“Nationally, more than one in five students who complete a degree do so at an institution other than the one where they started, according to a recent study by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center,” says the SAM website. “For institutions of higher education, the SAM offers an innovative reporting tool that provides a more comprehensive overview of student outcomes and includes a greater number of students. For policymakers and the public, SAM provides a more complete picture of student progress on the path to a degree or certificate.”

SAM is a collaborative effort by six higher-ed institutions (AACC, AASCU, ACE, AAU, APLU, and NAICU) and is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation.

Outcomes reported for the bachelor degree model will include the percentage of students who:

  • Graduated from the reporting institution
  • Are still enrolled at the reporting institution
  • Transferred/graduated from one or more subsequent institution
  • Transferred/are still enrolled at a subsequent institution
  • Have unknown current enrollment or graduation status (include students who transferred by whose enrollment or graduation status is unknown).

For more information on outcomes, data collection and more, read here.

Eligible institutions can sign up to participate by visiting the website.

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