Achieving the Dream colleges are expected to conduct longitudinal analysis of student progession and outcomes on a regular basis. This is accomplished by tracking entering cohorts of students each fall and documenting their success in meeting key milestones. The cohorts exclude high school students earning college credit and matriculators having previously earned NC State credit in high school. Cohort data is presented both as a whole as well as "disaggregated" into smaller demographic groups.
Breaking into uniform cohorts allows for "apples to apples" comparison on how NC State is progressing toward improving success in these metrics. Each intermediate milestone serves as a building block toward the eventual goal of completing a credential or transferring after achieving at least 18 quarter credits at the college level.
*Some data has been omitted for very small pockets of students to ensure compliance with federal privacy laws. Consequently, tables below also omit results for very small cells of students.
Successful Completion of Developmental Coursework
The first category of milestones involves the rate at which students successfully complete developmental instruction and advance to credit-bearing courses. Since students who struggle in developmental classes have little chance of graduating or transferring, this has been the main thrust of NC State's Achieving the Dream work. The key category metrics are cohort students referred to developmental math, writing or reading who:
-Complete any developmental course with at least a C
-Complete the entire developmental sequence*
*Students with minimal college-readiness may have to complete multiple courses in math and writing
*Students who are referred to a developmental course, but do not attempt it within the specified time frame, are given the same weight as students who fail a course.
Gateway Course Completion
The next milestone category involves the rate at which students enroll in and complete the initial college-level, or "gateway", course in math and English. All NC State students must take the same gateway English course, and by fall 2012 all but nursing majors will have to take a college-level math course.* Performance in these courses directly relates back to preparation at the developmental level. It also reflects on the capabilities of students not placed into developmental.
*Currently, certain majors only have to complete the developmental math sequence. All new students except nursing majors by fall 2012 will be assigned college-level math.
*Students who do not attempt a gateway course within the specified time frame are given the same weight as students who fail the course.
There is strong correlation between students who complete developmental and gateway courses and those who persist in college. Cosnequently, entering fall cohort student persistence is tracked according to the following metrics:
*The Achieving the Dream methodology counts cohort students who achieve a credential within the "retained" group.
Likewise, there is strong correlation between students who complete a significant amount of credits attempted (eg, 26 quarter credits within a year) and credential completion. This category tracks the rate at which cohort students complete all the courses they take with a grade of C or better. Metrics include:
*Credit completion measures both developmental and college-level courses attempted.
The intermediate milestones are intended to result in improved completion of certificate, associate degrees or transfer* within specified time frames. Cohort credential completion rates are presented within both three and four years.
In addition, the college's annual Balanced Scorecard tracks completion of major credentials and non-graduate transfer of those earning at least 18 college-level credits at NC State.