Student Achievement Measures

Virginia Tech is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

In June 2014, the SACSCOC Board of Trustees approved a policy statement on “Institutional Obligations for Public Disclosure.” The policy requires that an institution accredited by SACSCOC publish “statements of its goals for student achievement and the success of students in achieving those goals.”

Virginia Tech has a strong history of evaluating the achievement of its students in relation to its mission. The university monitors achievement of students through the Institutional Performance Standards developed by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, and through the university’s long range plan scorecard.

Institutional Performance Standards

While the university monitors first-year retention rates and graduation rates (Table 1), no specific university-level targets have been set for those rates. Instead, the university has developed targets for degree awards at each student level (Table 2) as established in the Institutional Performance Standards. Retention and graduation rates are critically important in developing these targets. In concurrence with the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, the university considers a threshold of 95% of the target to be acceptable performance.

Table 1.  First-year retention rates and six-year graduation rates for first-time, full-time, first-year baccalaureate degree seeking students.

First-Year Retention Rates

Six-Year Graduation Rates

Cohort Year

Number of Students in Cohort

Percentage of Students from Cohort Retained after One Year

Cohort Year

Number of Students in Cohort

Percentage of Students from Cohort Graduated within Six Years

2011

5157

93%

2006

5030

83%

2012

5413

91%

2007

5059

83%

2013

5298

93%

2008

5397

83%

2014

5403

94%

2009

4994

83%

2015

6261

93%

2010

5136

84%

2016

5864

93%

2011

5157

84%

Table 2.  Degree targets for 2016-17 and actual degree awards

 Total

 

In-State

 

Target

Threshold

Actual

Target

Threshold

Actual

Associate Degrees

45

43

49

44

42

46

Baccalaureate Degrees

5995

5695

5952

4426

4205

4468

Master’s Degrees

1520

1444

1514

822

781

201

Doctoral Degrees

465

442

516

197

187

803

Doctor of Veterinary Medicine

120

114

119

80

76

75

In addition, the university has established targets for the production of associate and baccalaureate degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Health (STEM-H) fields:

2016-17 Target: 2011
Acceptable Performance Threshold: 1910
2016-17 Actual degree production: 2196

Long Range Plan Scorecard

The university also assesses the extent of student achievement through the long range plan scorecard (commonly called the university scorecard). Many of the metrics reflect the extent to which students take advantage of or successfully complete various experiences that enhance learning within and outside of the classroom (Table 3).

 Table 3.  Participation in specific experiences at Virginia Tech

 

2016-17

Target

2016-17

Actual

Target Achievement

Number of graduating undergraduates who participated in at least one research experience

4277

4037

94%

Number of graduating undergraduates who have participated in a study abroad experience or foreign language course

3289

2472

75%

Number of graduating undergraduates who have participated in experiential learning

10522

11560

110%