The PostsecData Working Group Comments on new IPEDS Outcome Measures

Published Dec 08, 2014

by: Institute for Higher Education Policy and Co-Signers

Accompanied by 13 partner organizations, IHEP submitted recommendations for adjustments to the Outcome Measures survey administered by RTI International, which manages the Integrated Postsecondary Education System’s (IPEDS).

The IPEDS Graduation Rate component (GR) serves an important purpose by measuring the the rate at which full‐time undergraduate students graduate from their first institution of enrollment. However, it does not capture the full diversity of today’s college students, nor does it reflect the variety of outcomes that students experience. While the Outcome Measures (OM) survey that will be implemented in 2015-16 captures completion of part-time and transfer students in addition to first-time and full-time students, it has notable limitations.

To manage reporting burden and produce clear, consistent information, the new Outcome Measures should align with the existing GR component and the IPEDS retention rate. Such alignment will reduce the need for institutions to specify multiple similar, yet different cohorts and outcomes, allowing the OM survey to replace the current GR and retention rate

In short, these recommendations:

  • Align progress and outcome reporting across IPEDS components to produce clear, consistent results in one survey, reducing the burden associated with multiple surveys.
  • Capture all students, all institutions, and all outcomes to illuminate student pathways more clearly and give institutions credit for the full breadth of student outcomes.
  • Produce timelier outcome data to maintain relevance in discussions of policy and practice.
  • Provide necessary demographic disaggregates to evaluate equity in student outcomes.

A robust set of Outcome Measures (OMs) can fill these data gaps to provide a better understanding of student success, informing policy, consumer choice, and institutional improvement efforts.To learn more about the proposed Outcome Measures and other recommendations made to RTI International, download the full letter using the button below.

View the PDF to learn more about the proposed Outcome Measures and other recommendations made to RTI International.