To provide more complete information on student persistence and completion, the Education Department released an action plan today that takes steps to augment its current measures of student success in postsecondary education. Graduation rate reporting required for institutions of higher education will be broadened to include part-time and other students who have previously attended postsecondary education.
Current law excludes a substantial portion of the student population by only requiring that schools track graduation rates for full-time, first-time students. The additional reporting would supplement this existing requirement.
“Not all students take a linear path in their pursuit of higher education,” said Education Secretary Arne Duncan. “Many students work full-time and are balancing family obligations while also attending school. These new outcome measures will accurately demonstrate how postsecondary schools are preparing students for success in different ways.”
Entitled “Action Plan for Improving Measures of Postsecondary Success,” the plan responds to the final report of the Committee on Measures of Student Success (CMSS). The committee was created under the Higher Education Opportunity Act to help two-year degree granting institutions comply with the law’s disclosure requirements, and to develop alternate measures of student success that are comparable to completion and graduation rates. The 15-member committee, appointed by Secretary Duncan in June of 2010, held five public meetings in 13 months and made several recommendations that are incorporated in the action plan. One key recommendation adopted by the Department is that broader measures of student success be implemented for four-year as well as two-year institutions.