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Graduation Rates: Whose Success Do They Measure? . Diana Natalicio, President The University of Texas at El Paso. What is the mission of regional public universities?.

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Graduation rates whose success do they measure l.jpg

Graduation Rates: Whose Success Do They Measure?

Diana Natalicio, President

The University of Texas at El Paso


What is the mission of regional public universities l.jpg
What is the mission ofregional public universities?

  • To provide opportunities for all talented and motivated students in a region, especially those whose access to higher education has traditionally been limited, to pursue their educational aspirations.

  • To educate a high-quality workforce to meet regional, state and national needs, especially in key fields.

  • To contribute to the economic development and quality of life of the region through the creation and application of knowledge.


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Fulfilling that mission at UTEP, 1985-2005

UTEP provides opportunity for and educates thousands of students who contribute to the workforce and quality of life of the El Paso region.



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So, what’s the issue?

  • Ranked 2nd in

    • Biological & Biomedical Sciences

    • Health Professions & Clinical Sciences

  • Ranked 4th in

    • Engineering

    • Business, Management & Marketing

    • Physical Science

Although UTEP ranks 3rd among all universities in the U.S. in the total number of bachelor’s degrees awarded to Hispanics

and 5th nationally in the number of master’s degrees awarded to Hispanics,

UTEP’s graduation rates are reported to be low (e.g.,Tier 4 range in US News).

  • Ranked 1st in

    • Biology

    • Physical Sciences

  • Ranked 2nd in

    • Mathematics

    • English Language and Literature

  • Ranked 5th in Engineering

  • Ranked 6th in Education

  • Ranked 7th in Business

70% of UTEP’s graduates are not counted in the calculation of graduation rates.

*Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, June 2005


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Not counted are

Transfer students

Part-time students

Returning students

Those who enroll in spring semester

Only a student who is

First-time freshman

Enrolled Full-time

Seeking a Degree

Enrolled in the fall semester=“FTFTF”

So, who is counted incalculating graduation rates?


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And how are graduation rates calculated?

Number of FTFTF startingin Fall semester of given year who graduatein 4, 5, or 6 years

Number of Full-time First-time Freshmen starting inFall semester (FTFTF)of same given year

GraduationRate

=

÷

FTFTF

÷

FTFTF

All Graduates

All Students


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OUT

IN

OUT

IN

OUT

IN

OUT

IN

“EXPRESS TRAIN” UNIVERSITY

Year 1

Year 4

Year 2

Year 3

GRADUATION

Class of 2010

Class of 2010

“FTFTF’s”

“COMMUTER TRAIN” UNIVERSITY

Semester 1

Semester 2

Semester 3

Semester 4…

Semester 8-12…

GRADUATION

FTFTF

STUDENTS

TRANSFER

STUDENTS

PART TIME

STUDENTS

CONTINUING

STUDENTS


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“EXPRESS TRAIN”UNIVERSITY

Are all these entering students counted?

Yes, because they are all FTFTFs!

Year 4

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

GRADUATION

Class of 2010

“FTFTF’s”

Class of 2010


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“COMMUTER TRAIN” UNIVERSITY

Are all these entering students counted?

No, only those who are FTFTFs!

Semester 1

Semester 2

Semester 3

Semester 4…

Semester 8-12…

GRADUATION

OUT

IN

OUT

IN

OUT

IN

OUT

IN

FTFTF

STUDENTS

TRANSFER

STUDENTS

PART TIME

STUDENTS

CONTINUING

STUDENTS


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The Lost Origins of Graduation Rates

  • Established in 1992 by the NCAA to monitor the academic performance of student-athletes.

  • Later adopted by U.S. Department of Education as a measure of academic performance of all students, despite its obvious mismatch with the enrollment patterns of large numbers of today’s university students.

  • Has become one of the “gold standards” by which all institutions are measured.


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Graduation rates mislead us all

As currently defined, graduation rates…

ignore large numbers of students—all the “non-FTFTFs”—who successfully complete degrees at universities across the country. At UTEP 70% of all graduates are not counted.


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Graduation rates mislead us all

As currently defined, graduation rates…

severely devalue the performance and societal benefit of institutions that serve many “non-FTFTFs,” especially large public universities in urban settings.


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Graduation rates mislead us all

As currently defined, graduation rates…

understate the success of all universities by counting as “drop-outs” all FTFTFs who do not graduate from the institution of initial enrollment, even if they successfully graduate “on time” from another institution.


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Graduation rates mislead us all

As currently defined, graduation rates…

reinforce an outdated profile of students and the universities that serve them.


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Graduation rates mislead us all

As currently defined, graduation rates…

create a widespread false perceptionthat universities, especially thosethat serve many“non-FTFTFs,”are a poor public investment.


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Graduation rates mislead us all

  • Ignore large numbers of students

  • Severely devalue the performance and societal benefit of large public universities in urban settings

  • Understate the success of all universities

  • Reinforce an outdated profile of students and the universities that serve them

  • Create a widespread false perception that universities are a poor public investment


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For more information…

Diana Natalicio, PresidentThe University of Texas at El Paso(915) 747-5555dnatalicio@utep.edu