#CountAllStudents – What is the Student Achievement Measure?

The Student Achievement Measure (SAM) is an organization funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and by the Carnegie Corporation. The organization collects voluntary reporting from the majority of U.S. colleges and universities in an effort to provide a wider understanding of student progress towards degree completion.

Typically graduation rates are calculated for first-time in college, full-time students. This leaves transfer and part-time student outcomes unaccounted for. When comparing completion outcomes among institutions, this narrow definition can distort understanding if the student populations served are significantly different. An institution serving non-traditional students is disadvantaged because the outcomes of most of its students are not counted. A study by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center found that more than one in five graduates complete their degree at an institution different from where they started.

SAM provides a more comprehensive view of student progress by reporting on students who graduated from the institution; those who transferred-out and graduated from a different institution; those who remain enrolled at an institution beyond the typical 4 to 6 year time frame for completion; and those students who transferred out and remain enrolled at another institution. Institutional Research just completed reporting the SAM 2011 cohort.

So, how are SRSU students doing?

The typical count for graduation rates shows 12% of our students graduate within 4 years and 21% within 6 years. However, the SAM helps us understand that another 23% of our students are still active in their academic path after six years. More importantly, it gives us information about those not counted. For example, 53% of SRSU full-time, transfer students complete a degree withing 6-years (41% at SRSU and 12% at other institution). The 6-year graduation rate for fist-time in college, part-time students is 36%; it is 53% for transfer, part-time students. None of these groups of students are included in traditional outcome metrics.

You can check out the SRSU SAM Profile below.