2015-16 Detailed Changes by Component
Outcome Measures (OM) – Winter 2015-16
The Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 established the U.S. Department of Education’s Committee on Measures of Student Success to advise the Secretary of Education in assisting 2-year degree-granting institutions of higher education in meeting the completion or graduation rate disclosure requirements outlined in the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended. The Committee completed its work in December 2011.
In its final report to the Secretary, the Committee noted that the "current federal graduation rate measure is incomplete and does not adequately convey the wide range of student outcomes at 2-year institutions." In addition, the Committee observed that "data are not collected on other important outcomes achieved by students at 2-year institutions."
The Committee recommended that the Department:
· Broaden the coverage of student graduation data to reflect the diverse student populations at 2-year institutions
· Improve the collection of student progression and completion data
· Improve technical guidance to institutions in meeting statutory disclosure requirements
· Encourage institutions to disclose comparable data on employment outcomes and provide incentives for sharing promising practices on measuring student learning
Although its work focused on 2-year institutions, the Committee suggested that its recommendations be considered and implemented for 4-year institutions as well. The Committee’s final report is available at http://www2.ed.gov/about/bdscomm/list/cmss-committee-report-final.pdf .
In April 2012, the Department released an action plan for improving measures of postsecondary student success in support of the Administration’s college completion agenda and based on the recommendations of the Committee on Measures of Student Success ( http://www.ed.gov/edblogs/ous/files/2012/03/Action-Plan-for-Improving-Measures-of-Postsecondary-Student-Success-FINAL2.pdf ).
The Department’s action plan is designed to improve the quality and availability of student success data at the federal level for consumers, institutions, policymakers, and researchers. This plan also includes activities to help institutions, systems, and states increase their capacity for collecting and disseminating data on student success. Various offices within the Department are responsible for implementing the activities within the plan. In the plan, the Department has committed to "revise, where feasible under its current authority, existing data collection vehicles to include more comprehensive measures of student success for a broader group of students."
As part of this activity, the NCES has taken steps to enhance graduation rate and transfer rate reporting in IPEDS. Using existing processes for considering changes to IPEDS, NCES examined the feasibility of broadening measures by collecting outcome information for part-time, degree/certificate-seeking undergraduate students and non-first-time, degree/certificate-seeking undergraduate students in IPEDS.
IPEDS TRP 37 was convened in February 2012 to discuss the feasibility of collecting outcome information on first-time, part-time students. The TRP suggested that the definition of a degree/certificate-seeking student for IPEDS reporting purposes be clarified, and that certain outcome information be collected in IPEDS for first-time, part-time students.
IPEDS TRP 40 was convened in October 2012 to discuss the feasibility of collecting outcome information on non-first-time students. The TRP suggested that certain outcome information be collected in IPEDS for non-first-time students, similar to information that TRP 37 proposed for first-time, part-time students. The TRP also suggested that similar outcome information be collected for first-time, full-time students. Institutions would report outcome information for four cohorts in mutually exclusive categories, as outlined below.
The new outcome information that institutions would report to IPEDS is designed to provide consumers, policymakers, and researchers context for and an alternative to the graduation rates calculated for the purposes of the Student Right to Know and Campus Security Act of 1990.
To expedite the availability of data that will be useful to consumers, policymakers, and researchers, TRP 40 suggested that institutions report on student outcomes retrospectively. If a prospective reporting model were used, outcome measures data would not be available until 2023.
As a result of TRP suggestions and public comments, NCES requested and received clearance to implement a new Outcome Measures component in the Winter collection.