What Program are These Students in? Alternative Methods for Measuring College Retention, College Completion, and Labor Market Outcomes

Speaker Information:

Heather L. Fox, OCCRL

Matthew S. Giani, OCCRL

Katie Bridges, OCCRL

Debra D. Bragg, OCCRL

As college completion and performance-based funding have become more prevalent, colleges and universities, funders, and policy-makers are investing significant resources into transformative changes designed to impact student outcomes at a departmental, college, and consortium level. Evaluating these reforms requires assigning students’ to programs of study in a logical and consistent way. This paper addresses: a) why programs of study assignment is critical, b) the fluid and complex nature of programs of study assignment, c) alternative methods for assigning programs of study, and e) strengths and  limitation of these methods. We will share a novel methodology developed to identify students’ programs of study at various points along career pathways utilizing student-level course data and in-depth knowledge of curricular pathways and programs of study.

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American Evaluation Association