Many questions have been coming in to Linda Wham and Cheri Johannes as faculty
begin to work through the program reviews. The following information is provided
to help you understand some of the quantitative data you are looking at.
Institutional Research is very happy that faculty are starting to use the
reports and are questioning the data. These are good things to have happen. What
we need to be careful with at this point is to not question the credibility of
the reports and resort to “not correct and therefore of no consequence”
thinking. As we all know Institutional Research has worked to the best of their
abilities to provide accurate information, and they do not want apparent
discrepancies to factor into long term decisions.
As an example, a question was raised by one of the degrees about the number of
graduates reported on the data in Sharepoint. It was pointed out that the number
of graduates reported did not match the number of names in the commencement
bulletin. The commencement bulletin may have students who are going to graduate
the following summer term and their completion record will be counted in the
next cycle of completions data. Also, there has been a significant change in
Federal methodology. The Feds have changed from capturing first and second
degrees in aggregate to only counting the unduplicated number of completers. The
Fed focus is on employment where one student equals one employment possibility
regardless of how many degrees they obtain in one semester or reporting cycle
year. The OCHE office has also adopted this methodology for reporting to OCHE.
This is not often the way we understand “number of graduates” but it is how
Institutional Research must count them. A significant example of this is when a
student gets an AA and a BS/BA degree “at the same” time…end of four years. In
this case the student is only counted as one degree which would be the BS/BA
(most recent). Obviously this runs contrary to our thinking of how we should
count that student/graduate. But, we must report as required by the Feds and by
OCHE, and those are the reports in Sharepoint.
Please let your College representative on the Academic Program Council know if
other questions come to you which you would like further background or
clarification on. The APC will do its best to help answer the question. Thanks
for doing what you do!