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Spelman College Student Achievement

Student Achievement

In accordance with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) Federal Requirement 4.1, which states, “The institution evaluates success with respect to student achievement consistent with its mission…,” Spelman College has identified student achievement criteria, provided appropriate data, established thresholds of acceptability, and explained how each criteria are related to the mission. The student achievement criteria identified by the College are in the areas of program completion, state licensing examinations, and job placement rates. 

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.” Accordingly, the College uses four criteria to document student achievement: 

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

Each criterion is in alignment with the College’s mission statement.  Second Year Retention Rates and Graduation Rates are indicators of excellence in the Liberal Arts and Sciences because they provide the most comprehensive documentation of the students’ achievements while at Spelman.   State Licensing Examinations and Placement Rates are an outcome of the College’s mission as well. 

Second Year Retention Rates

The College’s benchmark is to exceed the national Second Year Retention Rate by a minimum of five (5) percent.  In support of its responsibility to our students and their first year experience at Spelman College, the threshold for the Second Year Retention Rates was established at 85% to insure that the College remains committed to retaining a majority of its first year students. In addition, the College will continue striving to exceed the national average for Liberal Arts Colleges and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). This is more than reasonable for a college of Spelman’s heritage, which has a rich history and reputation for providing the highest quality education to women of African descent.

The fall 2016 Second Year Retention Rate (2015 cohort) was 91%. This represents a modest increase from the previous fall’s retention rate.  By contrast, the national average retention rate was 75% for fall 2014, giving the College a 15% margin over the national average and 6% over Liberal Arts Colleges (Table 4.1-1: Second Year Retention Rates). The National Second Year Retention Rates for fall 2015 are not yet available.

Table 4.1-1: Second-Year Retention Rates

Student Achievement at Spelman College

Spelman College Rention Rates

Graduation Rates

The College’s benchmark is to exceed the National Six-Year Graduation Rate by ten (10) percent.  For the 2009 cohort, Spelman’s graduation rate of 76% is 22 points greater than the national average of 54%.  The Six-Year Graduation Rate for Liberal Arts Colleges is 70% - 6 points less than Spelman’s (Table 4.1-2:  Six-Year Graduation Rates).

Although the College exceeded both the National and Liberal Arts Colleges graduation rates by several percentage points, it continues to strive for a graduation rate of at least 75%. The National Six-Year Graduation Rate is not yet available for the 2010 cohort.

Table 4.1-2: Six-Year Graduation Rates

Spelman Gollege Graduation Rates

State Licensing Examinations

Spelman College students pursuing teacher certification are the only group who routinely take state licensing examinations; namely, the Georgia Assessments for the Certification of Educators (GACE) and Education Teacher Performance Assessment (edTPA). The College’s benchmark for these students is a pass rate of at least 85%, which is five (5) percent more than the teacher accreditation standard.

The College's Education Department maintains statistics on teacher certification pass rates, which have averaged nearly 95% for students taking the GACE exam since the 2012-13 academic year. The most recent GACE report from the 2015-16 academic year indicates a pass rate 100% (Table 4.1-3:  GACE Passing Rates).  These data indicate student performance on the GACE exam well surpasses the established benchmark.

Table 4.1-3: GACE Passing Rates

Year Passing Rate
2012-13 83%
2013-14 100%
2014-15 100%
2015-16 100%
During the 2015-16 academic year, edTPA also became a requirement for teacher certification in the state of Georgia. In 2015-16, the Spelman College pass rate was 100% with a mean “cut score” for edTPA of 49.5.  A “cut score” is the minimum score set by a state or institution to pass the edTPA.  The cut score for Georgia was 29, 35 or 42, based on the number of rubrics per content area. The average edTPA score for the state of Georgia in 2015-16 was 44, while the national average was also 44.  Spelman College pursued cut scores of at least 32, 38 or 45, respectively, based on content areas – 3 points greater than the state average.

Placement Rates

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. In addition, the Office of Career Planning and Development (CPD) re-administers the survey 6 months following graduation to gather more detailed information about employment, pursuit of graduate/professional education, and other academic or leadership opportunities post-graduation. Table 4.1-4 below gives a summary of students’ placement rates subsequent to graduation. In addition, Table 4.1-5 provides national placement rates as reported by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).

Table 4.1-4 Placement Rates

Spelman College Placement Rates

Survey results also captured participation in other post-baccalaureate opportunities, considered successful post-graduation outcomes.  In 2016, 17% 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 graduate/professional school placements, the data show that 63% of our most recent alumnae are actively engaged in post-baccalaureate opportunities.

The College has established a benchmark of verifying the post-baccalaureate placement of at least 75% of our graduates. The College’s placement benchmark was not met in 2016. However, several improvements to the data collection and verification processes were implemented which should provide a more complete report and increase these rates.

Table 4.1-5: National Placement Rates

National Placement Rates
Graduate survey restructured for the 2015 collection
**Data were not collected prior to 2014
***NACE – National Association of Colleges and Employers
****NACE data are not yet available for 2016 Graduates   †Graduate placement data is updated based upon National Student Clearinghouse Data

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