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Institutional Research Planning and Assessment

Student Achievement

Statement of Goals for Student Achievement

The University evaluates student achievement in a variety of ways. These include analysis of enrollment data; retention and graduation rates; academic performance of freshmen; student portfolio results; licensure examination pass rates; job placement rates; grade distributions and course completion.

Freshman Markers

National research has shown for freshmen that GPA earned, credit hours successfully completed, and satisfactory completion of general education (GE) mathematics and writing courses are strong indicators of persistence and, ultimately, graduation. Therefore, the University tracks the percentage of First Time Freshmen who earn a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher, who complete 30 or more semester hours, who complete one or both required general education writing courses, and who complete a general education mathematics courses.

Thresholds and Rationales

1) GPA earned—A student is expected to achieve consistent progress toward the attainment of a University degree. A minimum cumulative GPA of 1.5 is considered minimum academic progress for Freshman. However, a minimum UM GPA of 2.0 is considered good standing and thus, is the target for Freshman. The University expects 95% of Freshman to earn a minimum GPA of 2.0.

2) Credit Hours Successfully Completed by Freshman—The University is a Member of the Complete College America Alliance (CCAA) and aligns its threshold for Credit Hours Successfully Completed by Freshman with the CCAA recommendation that students will enroll in 15 hours each semester or 30 hours per year (including summers) to boost the number of students who are on track for on-time graduation. The University expects 80% of full-time Freshman to enroll in 15 hours each semester or 30 hours per year (including summers).

3) Completion of GE mathematics and writing courses—The University also aligns this threshold with the CCAA recommendation to increase gateway course completion within the first year by enrolling all Freshman into Math and English courses. The University expects 80% of full-time Freshman to enroll in one required, level appropriate Math course and one required, level appropriate English course.

Enrollment, Retention, and Graduation

The University monitors enrollment trends and totals for freshman and transfer, full-time and part-time undergraduate students as well as for graduate students.

The University completed development and began implementation of an Undergraduate Strategic Enrollment Plan in 2017. The development of this plan was guided by the Student Engagement and Success portion of the University’s Strategic Plan 2015-2020 that includes the over-arching goal of enhancing the climate of the University to cultivate greater levels of student success as measured by retention and completion. The Plan was also determined using information and ideas from the President’s Enrollment Task Force (fall 2016 and spring 2017) and the Enrollment Advisory Team (spring 2017) as well as recommendations from the Warren Group (spring 2017) and Credo Higher Education consultants, who visited campus and offered guidance during fall 2016 and spring 2017. The Undergraduate Strategic Enrollment Plan includes thresholds and rationales for Undergraduate Enrollment, Retention and Graduation.

Undergraduate Enrollment Thresholds and Rationale

The rationale for the undergraduate enrollment thresholds is based on mission and capacity and was determined considering the information presented above in consultation with academic units.

The thresholds are:

1) Enroll 550 freshman students by 2020 with goals of 520 in fall 2017, 535 in fall 2018, and 550 in fall 2019.

2) Enroll 230 transfer students by 2020 with goals of 190 in fall 2017, 210 in fall 2018, and 230 in fall 2019.

Undergraduate retention is captured in the Freshman Markers report for the percentage of students who enroll for a second semester and the percentage who return for their sophomore year. The University also analyzes retention by gender, ethnicity, major, and ACT scores. The first year retention rate over the 5-year period from 2012 to 2016 has remained relatively stable but dropped a few percentage points in 2016. Moreover, the retention rate from one class to the next–freshman to sophomore, sophomore to junior, and junior to senior–has for some time consistently dropped about 10 percentage points each year, leading to a six-year graduation rate of 50% for first time, full time freshmen.

Retention and Graduation Thresholds and Rationale

As indicated in the Undergraduate Strategic Enrollment Plan in 2017, these rates are aspirational and based on mission and capacity. The goal is to establish strategies to maintain retention and graduation rates at the levels indicated below with rates being re-evaluated during the 2020 strategic planning process.

75% freshman to sophomore

65% sophomore to junior

55% junior to senior

50% graduation rate

The University completed development of a Graduate Strategic Enrollment Plan in 2016 in order to address a decline in enrollment in recent years. The development of this plan was guided by the Student Engagement and Success portion of the University of Montevallo’s Strategic Plan 2015-2020 that includes the over-arching goal of enhancing the climate of UM to cultivate greater levels of student success as measured by retention and completion.

Graduate Enrollment Thresholds and Rationale

The rationale for the graduate enrollment thresholds is based on mission, capacity, market demand, and was determined in consultation with academic units.

The thresholds are:

College of Education – Counseling program will maintain current enrollment (approximately 110 students).

College of Education – The Instructional and Teacher Leadership program will seek a 10% (approximately 5 students) increase in enrollment.

College of Education – The Instructional Technology program will seek a 10% (approximately 3 students) increase in enrollment.

College of Education – The Elementary, Secondary, and Deaf and Hard of Hearing Programs will seek a 10%  (approximately 12 students) increase in enrollment.­­­

College of Arts and Sciences – Speech-Language Pathology program will maintain current enrollment (approximately 50 students).

College of Arts and Sciences – The English Program will seek an increase from current enrollment of 11 students to the mean enrollment for the last 6 years of 12 students.

College of Business – The Master in Business Administration program will seek an increase in enrollment from 35 to 50 students.

Licensure Pass Rates

Licensing examination pass rates offer a picture of student achievement in a number of disciplines. The table below shows pass rates along with thresholds and rationales by College and Discipline based on the latest data available from 2017.

Summary Table of Licensure/Praxis Pass Rates by College and Program
Program Measure Pass Rate Threshold and Rationale
College of Arts and Sciences
Speech Language Pathology (SLP) Praxis Exam 100% The SLP program’s pass rate threshold for the Praxis exam is aligned with the threshold of their discipline specific accrediting body, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) which requires a 3 year average pass rate of 80%.
Social Work Social Work Licensing Exam 83% The goal of the Social Work Program is a licensure pass rate consistent with or higher than the North American Pass rate as determined by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB). The 2016 North American Pass rate was 70%.
College of Business
Accounting CPA Exam 36% The goal is to rank in the upper half of undergraduate only institutions in the state. UM’s CPA exam pass rate is 5th of 11 undergraduate only institutions in 2016.
College of Education
Collaborative-Education of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Special Education Praxis

 

96% The threshold set for student achievement on the Special Education Praxis exam is a pass rate consistent with or higher than the Alabama pass rate. The 2017 pass rate for the state of Alabama was 97%.

-Clinical Mental Health Counseling

-Couples and Family Counseling

National Counselor Exam 90% The Counseling Program compares the CPCE mean scores in each of the 8 core areas with the yearly national means reported by the CPCE exam. In the past three years, students have met or exceeded the mean scores in each area. The goal is to meet or exceed the national mean scores and to meet or exceed the national pass rate (currently at approximately 84%).
-School Counseling Praxis Exam 100% Each year, the University of Montevallo Counseling Program compares the Professional School Counselor Praxis mean scores with national and state mean scores in each of the four test categories. UM students have consistently scored above both the national and state means in each category. The goal is to meet or exceed the national mean scores and the Alabama pass rate. In 2017 the Alabama pass rate was 94%.

Elementary Education

 

PLT K-6 Praxis Exam 100%

The threshold set for student achievement on the Elementary Education PLT K-6 Praxis Exam is a pass rate consistent with or higher than the Alabama pass rate. The 2017 pass rate for the state of Alabama was 95%.

Elementary Education

 

Teaching and Reading 82% The threshold set for student achievement on the Elementary Education Teaching Reading Praxis Exam is a pass rate consistent with or higher than the Alabama pass rate. The 2017 pass rate for the state of Alabama was 82%.

Elementary Education

 

Mathematics Praxis Exam 75% The threshold set for student achievement on the Elementary Education Mathematis Praxis Exam is a pass rate consistent with or higher than the Alabama pass rate. The 2017 pass rate for the state of Alabama was 84%.

Elementary Education

 

Reading and Language Praxis Exam 72% The threshold set for student achievement on the Elementary Education Reading and Language Praxis Exam is a pass rate consistent with or higher than the Alabama pass rate. The 2017 pass rate for the state of Alabama was 75%.

Elementary Education

 

Science Praxis Exam 76% The threshold set for student achievement on the Elementary Education Science Praxis Exam is a pass rate consistent with or higher than the Alabama pass rate. The 2017 pass rate for the state of Alabama was 82%

Elementary Education

 

Social Studies Praxis Exam 72% The threshold set for student achievement on the Elementary Education Social Studies Praxis Exam is a pass rate consistent with or higher than the Alabama pass rate. The 2017 pass rate for the state of Alabama was 78%.
Exercise and Nutrition Science-Nutrition Wellness Registered Dietician Certification Exam 100% The EXNS-NW program’s pass rate threshold for the Praxis exam is aligned with the threshold of their accrediting body, the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) which requires a pass rate of 80%.
Family and Consumer Sciences Praxis Exam 29% The threshold set for student achievement on the Family and Consumer Sciences Praxis Exam is a pass rate consistent with or highter than the Alabama pass rate. Teh 2017 pass rate for the State of Alabama was 50%
Instructional Leadership* Praxis Exam 97% The threshold set for student achievement on the Instructional Leadership Praxis Exam is a pass rate consistent with or higher than the Alabama pass rate. The 2017 pass rate for the state of Alabama was 78%.
Secondary Education Praxis Exam 97% The thresold set for student achievement on the PLT 7-12 Praxis Exam is a pass rate consistent with or higher than the Alabama pass rate. The 2017 pass rate for the state of Alabama was 89%.

*Courses in this program are delivered 100% via distance learning.

 Graduate/Professional School and Job Placement

Disciplines in which students must further their education in graduate or professional school in order to pursue their chosen career track post-baccalaureate placement rates. In addition, a few disciplines track job placement rates for students as they graduate.

Health Professions

The majority of UM students interested in the Health Professions seek acceptance to Medical, Dental, Pharmacy, Optometry, and Veterinarian programs at public institutions within the state. The Biology, Chemistry, and Math Department (BCM) has tracked acceptances of students to these programs since 2004. Acceptances of interviewed candidates to these programs is 30-50% at Alabama public institutions.

This goal was based on the interview acceptance rates and the program’s intent to produce high quality students. Since 2004, 81% of all our students who applied to one of these programs was accepted. In addition, our department set a goal to increase the total number of acceptances by 20% for the 5-year period of 2013-2018. This goal was based on the previous 5-year period 2008-2012, which showed that 5 students per year were  admitted to these programs at an 88% acceptance rate.  In the period of 2013-2017, 14 students per year were accepted (280% increase) although at a smaller acceptance rate of 74%. Even though the acceptance rate goal was met the program would still like to increase it to above 80%.  To this end, the program added speakers from these institutions, created a health profession society to increase participation, and has developed freshman seminar courses in biology and chemistry that focus on post-baccalaureate expectations.

Thresholds and Rationales

UM’s BCM department has set a goal of 70% acceptance rate for graduates who apply to Medical, Dental, Pharmacy, Optometry, and Veterinarian programs. This goal was based on an aspiration to exceed the State interview acceptance. Since 2004, 81% of all our students who applied to one of these programs were accepted.

In addition, BCM set a goal to increase the total number of acceptances by 20% for the 5-year period of 2013-2018. This goal was based on the previous 5-year period 2008-2012, which showed that 5 students per year were  admitted to these programs at an 88% acceptance rate. In the period of 2013-2017, 14 students per year were accepted (280% increase) although at a smaller acceptance rate of 74%.

Communication Science and Disorders-Speech Language Pathology (SLP) 

The SLP program boasts a 100% employment of graduates from the M.S. SLP program. The Speech Language Pathology website displays various student learning outcome information.

Threshold and Rationale

The SLP program’s employment rate is aligned with the threshold of their discipline specific accrediting body, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), which requires that across a 3 year average the number of students employed (or pursing further education) within one year of graduation be at 80%.

Counseling Program

The Counseling Program reports that 93% of Mental Health Counselor graduate are employed in the field; 100% of Couples and Family Counseling graduates seeking employment are employed in the field; and 82% of School Counseling graduates are employed in the field. The Counseling Program website displays various student learning outcome information.

Threshold and Rationale

The average job placement rate for CACREP programs in Alabama in 2016-2017 was 80% for Clinical Mental Health Counselors/Couples and Family Counselors and 78% for School Counseling graduates. The goal is to meet or exceed the yearly average placement rate.

Master of Business Administration (MBA) Program

The MBA program surveyed 73 of 77 graduates from the graduating classes of 2010-2015. Of the graduates, 67 (92% percent) report being employed in a field related to the MBA.

Threshold and Rationale

The MBA program sets a goal that no less than 80% of MBA graduates be employed in an area directly related to the field within six months of graduation. Employment in a related field should be an option for any MBA graduate in a normal economic period. However, some MBA graduates choose a doctoral degree program or some other graduate degree program while others choose non-business employment; thus 80% is considered a reasonable standard.

Social Work Program

The Social Work Program reports that approximately 60% of their graduates are employed immediately following graduation and 40% continue on to a graduate degree program. In order to facilitate student employment post graduate, the program maintains a virtual job board pushed out to the alumni listserve. The program informally tracks employment and graduate school enrollment rates via long-term contact with graduates.

Threshold and Rationale

While the Social Work program’s accrediting body (Council on Social Work Education) does not set expectations for job placement and graduate enrollment, programmatically these are both priorities with a goal of 100% employment or graduate school enrollment for all immediate graduates.

In the 2016-2017 academic year, the Social Work Program graduated 27 students. Nine of those students were accepted into graduate programs in social work. Nine of the students were immediately hired into child welfare practice, 2 were hired into positions working with senior adults, 2 are working with families who have survived domestic abuse, 1 has relocated abroad for a year and 4 have not reported their current employment status.

Distance Learning

The University monitors student achievement, specifically grades and course completion rates, across course delivery methods for both graduate and undergraduate students.

Distance Learning Threshold and Rationale

To ensure that distance learning courses and programs are consistent with face-to-face courses and programs, the University expects comparable grade distributions and course completion rates for students in distance learning courses/programs and students in face-to-face courses/programs.

The table below includes data for course grades and completion rates for the 2016-2017 academic year. It should be noted that synchronous delivery courses did not begin at the University until the Fall of 2017. Overall, the grade distributions are very similar across all course delivery methods for both graduate and undergraduate students. Completion rates for undergraduate and graduate students in distance learning courses are comparable to the completion rates for students in face-to-face courses.

Course Grades and Completion Rates by Delivery Method for Graduate and Undergraduate Students
A B C D F/NC* P** IP/W/AU***

Percent

Completion

Summer 2017
Undergraduate
Hybrid 73% 25% 0% 0% 0% 15% 4% 96%
Online 58% 25% 7% 2% 2% 0% 6% 92%
Face-to-Face 57% 25% 7% 2% 2% 2% 4% 93%
Graduate
Hybrid 91% 6% 1% 0% 0% 0% 4% 98%
Online 88% 6% 1% 0% 0% 0% 3% 98%
Face-to-Face 88% 12% 1% 0% 0% 0% 5% 98%
Spring 2017
Undergraduate
Hybrid 42% 34% 14% 5% 2% 0% 3% 95%
Online 44% 28% 11% 3% 3% 0% 11% 87%
Face-to-Face 49% 25% 12% 3% 3% 1% 6% 91%
Graduate
Hybrid 78% 34% 3% 0% 1% 0% 9% 96%
Online 86% 1% 2% 0% 1% 0% 4% 95%
Face-to-Face 83% 28% 1% 0% 0% 0% 17% 97%
Fall 2016
Undergraduate
Hybrid 56% 25% 11% 3% 3% 0% 3% 95%
Online 42% 26% 12% 5% 5% 0% 9% 85%
Face-to-Face 46% 26% 14% 3% 3% 2% 6% 90%
Graduate
Hybrid 69% 44% 3% 1% 0% 0% 7% 97%
Online 84% 2% 1% 0% 1% 0% 9% 92%
Face-to-Face 82% 3% 1% 0% 1% 0% 18% 97%

*NC=No Credit **P=Pass ***IP/W/AU=In Progress/Withdraw/Audit

Indirect Measures

Results of indirect measures are reviewed annually from the administration of the UM Senior Survey and biannually from national surveys such as the Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP) Freshman Survey and the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE). Results from the latter are compared to results from other Council of Public Liberal Arts (COPLAC) institutions with the aim of being at or above the COPLAC average.