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Spelman College Student Achievement

Student Achievement

In accordance with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) Standard 8.1, “The institution identifies, evaluates, and publishes goals and outcomes for student achievement appropriate to the institution’s mission…,” Spelman College has identified student achievement metrics, provided appropriate data, established thresholds of acceptability, and explained how each criteria relates to its mission. The student achievement measures identified by the College are:

  1. Second-Year Retention
  2. Six-Year Graduation
  3. State Licensing Examinations
  4. Post-Baccalaureate Placement

The Spelman College mission statement indicates that the College is “…dedicated to academic excellence in the liberal arts and sciences and the intellectual, creative, ethical and leadership development of its students.” Each measure is in alignment with the College’s mission statement. The College strives to attain the highest student achievement outcomes possible, which often exceed those of the national average, Liberal Arts Colleges, and Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs).


Second Year Retention Rates

The College’s target is to exceed the national average for Second-Year Retention by a minimum of five (5) percentage points. In support of the College’s responsibility to its students and their first-year experience at Spelman College, the threshold for Second-Year Retention has been established at 85%. This ensures that the College remains committed to enhancing the student experience and thereby, retaining a majority of its first-year students.

The current Second-Year Retention Rate is 89% for Spelman College. In comparison, this retention rate outpaces those in the comparison group, giving Spelman a 12-percentage point margin over the national average, 7 points over Liberal Arts Colleges, and 22 points over HBCU’s. The 2020-21 retention rate of 89% represents a slight increase in retention from the previous year and exceeds the established benchmark of 85%.

Table 8.1-1: Second-Year Retention Rates
Academic Year Cohort Spelman College National Average* Liberal Arts Colleges** HBCU***
2017-18 2016 89% 78% 83% 65%
2018-19 2017 91% 78% 83% 66%
2019-20 2018 88% 78% 83% 66%
2020-21 2019 89% 77% 82% 67%

*National Average includes all 4-year Degree-granting, primarily baccalaureate or above Institutions
**Liberal Arts Colleges: Carnegie Classification, Baccalaureate Colleges: Arts & Sciences Focus
***HBCU includes all 4-year Historically Black Colleges and Universities

Graph depicting Second Year Retention Rates compared to national average, liberal arts colleges and HBCUs

The 2020-21 Second-Year Retention Rate for Spelman College’s 2019 cohort has been further disaggregated by race/ethnicity and by socioeconomic level.  Pell eligibility, the most closely related variable, has been used represent socioeconomic level as shown in the chart below.

Second Year Retention by race/ethnicity and by socioeconomic level


Six-Year Graduation

The College’s target is to exceed the national average Six-Year Graduation Rate by ten (10) percentage points. For the 2013 cohort, Spelman’s graduation rate of 75% is 17 points greater than the national average of 58%. This exceeds the target by 7 points. In addition, the Six-Year Graduation Rate for Liberal Arts Colleges is 71% -- 4 points less than Spelman’s (Table 8.1-2: Six-Year Graduation Rates). Although the College exceeded the Graduation Rates of those in the comparison group by several percentage points, it continues efforts to surpass a graduation rate threshold of 75%. Spelman’s Six-Year Graduation Rate for the 2014 Cohort holds flat at 75%. The 2014 Cohort Graduation Rates for those in the comparison group are not yet available.

Table 8.1-2: Six-Year Graduation Rates
Academic Year Cohort Spelman College National Average* Liberal Arts Colleges** HBCU
2016-17 2010 77% 55% 70% 34%
2017-18 2011 75% 56% 71% 35%
2018-19 2012 75% 57% 71% 36%
2019-20 2013 75% 58% 71% 37%
2020-21 2014 75% N/A N/A N/A

*National Average includes all 4-year Degree-granting, primarily baccalaureate or above Institutions
**Liberal Arts Colleges: Carnegie Classification, Baccalaureate Colleges:  Arts & Sciences Focus
***HBCU includes all 4-year Historically Black Colleges and Universities
N/A - Comparison group data are not yet available for the 2014 Cohort in the IPEDS Data Center

Graph depicting six-year graduation rates compared to national average, liberal arts colleges and HBCUs

The 2020-21 Six-Year Graduation Rate for Spelman College’s 2014 cohort has been further disaggregated by race/ethnicity and by socioeconomic level. Pell eligibility, the most closely related variable, has been used represent socioeconomic level as shown in the chart below.

Chart depicting Six Year Graduation Rates by Race Ethnicity Pell Eligibility


State Licensing Examinations

Spelman College students pursuing teacher certification routinely take the state licensing examination, the Georgia Assessments for the Certification of Educators (GACE). The College’s benchmark for these students is a pass rate of at least 85%, which is five (5) percentage points greater than the teacher accreditation standard. The College's Education Department maintains statistics on teacher certification pass rates, which have averaged nearly 97% since the 2012-13 academic year for students taking the GACE exam. The most recent GACE report from the 2020-21 academic year indicates a pass rate of 100% (Table 8.1-3:  GACE Passing Rates). These data indicate student performance on the GACE exam far surpasses the established benchmark.

Table 8.1-1: Second-Year Retention Rates
Academic Year Passing Rate
2017-18 100%
2018-19 100%
2019-20 100%
2020-21 100%

As of July 2020, the Education Teacher Performance Assessment (edTPA) exam is no longer a certification requirement in Georgia as reported in previous years.


Post-Baccalaureate Placement

The College obtains information annually on job placement as well as graduate and professional school acceptance through the First Destination Survey administered prior to graduation by the Office of Career Planning and Development (CPD). In addition, CPD re-administers the survey six months following graduation to gather additional detailed information about employment; pursuit of graduate/professional education; and other academic or leadership opportunities post-graduation. Table 8.1-4 below gives a summary of Spelman College graduates’ placement rates subsequent to program completion. For comparison, Table 8.1-5 provides national placement rates as reported by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).

Table 8.1-4: Spelman College Placement Rates


2017 2018 2019 2020
Spelman Graduates (IPEDS Reported) 460 446 465 469
First Destination Survey Respondents 398 404 436 447

First Destination Survey Response Rate 87% 91% 94% 95%
Spelman Student First Destination Survey Results
Employed, Full-Time 145 109 125 136

Employed, Full-Time Placement Rate 32% 24% 27% 29%
Military 4 8 3 2

Military Placement Rate 1% 2% 1% 0.4%
Service (Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, etc.) 5 9 5
2

Service Placement Rate 1% 2% 1% 0.4%
Graduate Fellow/Graduate Internship/Research/Fulbright 5 16 4 15

Graduate Fellow/Graduate Internship/Research/Fulbright Placement Rate 1% 4% 1% 3%
Entrepreneur 3
3
3 6

Entrepreneur Placement Rate 1% 1% 1% 1%
Freelance 3 0
0 1

Freelance Placement Rate 1% 0% 0% .2%
Additional Reported Placements (PT Employment/FT & PT TEMP/FT & PT Contract) 11 15 43 25

Additional Reported Placements Rate 2% 3% 9% 5%
National Student Clearinghouse & First Destination Results
Grad/Prof School 100 150 132 154

†Grad/Prof School Placement Rate 22% 34% 28% 33%
Total Placement Headcount 276 310 315 341

Total Placement Rate 60% 70% 68% 73%

†Grad/Prof School placement data is based upon National Student Clearinghouse Data and First Destination Survey results.

Survey results also captured participation in other post-baccalaureate opportunities (excluding full-time employment and grad/prof school), considered successful post-graduation outcomes. In 2020, 11% of Spelman graduates reported participation in other post-baccalaureate opportunities including military enlistment, Fulbright engagements, research, internships and fellowships. When combined with full-time employment and grad/prof school placements, the data show that 73% of our most recent alumnae are actively engaged in post-baccalaureate opportunities. The College has established a post-baccalaureate placement threshold of at least 75% for our graduates.

Although the post-baccalaureate placement rate for the 2020 graduates is slightly less, we continue to strive for the benchmark in various ways. The Office of Career Planning and Development (CPD) has improved its job fair offerings inviting more companies to attend on campus. CPD also works with our students to help improve their job interview skills. Graduate school recruitment events are hosted throughout the academic year to help students decide on the right graduate school. In addition, improvements to the data collection and verification process including gathering grad/prof school data from the National Student Clearinghouse and the First Destination Survey, have been implemented providing a more complete reporting of graduates’ post-baccalaureate endeavors. The CDP has also employed new methods in its efforts to increase the response rate and integrity of the First Destination Survey. From 2017 to 2020, the total placement rate of Spelman graduates increased by 13%, due in part to these improvements in data collection methods.

Table 8.1-5: National Placement Rates


2017 2018 2019 2020
**NACE, Total National Graduates 549,694 529,299 549,972 ***
Employed, Full-Time 317,694 310,698 328,333 ***

Employed, Full-Time Placement Rate 58% 59% 60% ***
Grad/Prof School 96,191 101,625 102,295 ***

Grad/Prof School Placement Rate 18% 19% 19% ***
Military 4,397 4,234 4,950 ***

Military Placement Rate 0.8% 0.8% 0.9% ***
Service 4,947 4,763 4,400 ***

Service Rate 0.9% 0.9% 0.8% ***
Post-Grad Fellowship/Internship 12,093 10,056 10,449 ***

Post-Grad Fellowship/Internship Rate 2.2% 1.9% 1.9% ***
Entrepreneur 5,496 4,763 4,950 ***

Entrepreneur Rate 1.0% 0.9% 0.9% ***
Freelance 3,298 3,175 4,400 ***

Freelance Rate 0.6% 0.6% 0.8% ***
PT Employment/TEMP/Contract 43,973 30,699 37,948 ***

PT Employment/TEMP/Contract Rate 8.0% 5.8% 6.9% ***
Total Placement Headcount 488,089 470,013 501,574 ***

Total Placement Rate 89% 89% 91% ***

**NACE – National Association of Colleges and Employers
***NACE data are not yet available for 2020 Graduates

Contact Us 

Institutional Research
404-270-5675
iresearch@spelman.edu
350 Spelman Lane
Box  875
Atlanta, GA 30314