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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 (Core Requirement), which states, “The institution identifies, evaluates, and publishes goals and outcomes for student achievement appropriate to the institution’s mission…,” Spelman College has identified student achievement criteria, provided appropriate data, established thresholds of acceptability, and explained how each criteria relates to its 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 Six-Year Graduation Rates are indicators of excellence in the Liberal Arts and Sciences because they provide the most comprehensive evidence of the students’ achievements while at Spelman.   Pass Rates on State Licensing Examinations and Post-Baccalaureate Placement Rates are further indications of student achievement and bring to fruition the mission of the College.

Second Year Retention Rates

The College’s target is to exceed the national Second-Year Retention Rate 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 Second-Year Retention Rate threshold established at 85% ensures 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 threshold 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 2015 cohort Second-Year Retention Rate was 91% for Spelman College.  In comparison, this retention rate continues to outpace those in the comparison group.  The national average rate was 75%, giving the College a 16% margin and a 7% margin over Liberal Arts Colleges (Table 8.1-1: Second-Year Retention Rates). The National Second-Year Retention Rates for fall 2016 are not yet available.

Table 8.1-1: Second-Year Retention Rates

Student Achievement at Spelman College

Spelman College Rention Rates

Graduation Rates

The College’s target is to exceed the National Six-Year Graduation Rate by ten (10) percentage points.  For the 2010 cohort, Spelman’s graduation rate of 77% is 22 points greater than the national average of 55%.  The Six-Year Graduation Rate for Liberal Arts Colleges is 70% -- 7 points less than Spelman’s (Table 8.1-2:  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 2011 cohort.

Table 8.1-2: Six-Year Graduation Rates

Graduation Rates Table

Spelman College 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) percentage points more than the teacher accreditation standard.

The College's Education Department maintains statistics on teacher certification pass rates, which have averaged nearly 97% for students taking the GACE exam since the 2012-13 academic year. The most recent GACE report from the 2016-17 academic year indicates a pass rate 100% (Table 8.1-3:  GACE Passing Rates).  These data indicate student performance on the GACE exam well surpasses the established benchmark.

Table 8.1-3: GACE Passing Rates

GACE Passing Rates

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 by the Office of Career Planning and Development (CPD). In addition, 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 8.1-4 below gives a summary of Spelman College graduates’ placement rates subsequent to program completion. In addition, Table 8.1-5 provides national placement rates as reported by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).

Table 8.1-4 Placement Rates

Spelman College Placement Rates

Survey results also captured participation in other post-baccalaureate opportunities (excluding full-time employment and grad/prof school), considered successful post-graduation outcomes. In 2017, 6% 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 60% of our most recent alumnae are actively engaged in post-baccalaureate opportunities.  The College has established a post-baccalaureate placement benchmark of at least 75% of our graduates.  The College’s placement benchmark was not met in 2016 or 2017.  However, several improvements to the data collection and verification processes have been implemented which should provide a more complete reporting of graduates’ post-baccalaureate endeavors.

Table 8.1-5: National Placement Rates

National Placement Rates

Placement Rate Comparisons

The following graphs provide a visual comparison of Spelman’s Placement Rates compared to National Placement Rates found in Tables 8.1-4 and 8.1-5.

Placement Rate Comparisons

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