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4.1 Student achievement

The institution evaluates success with respect to student achievement including, as
appropriate, consideration of course completion, state licensing examinations, and job
placement rates. (Student achievement)

Judgment of Compliance

Sam Houston State University does evaluate success with respect to student achievement by considering course completion when it maintains and evaluates measures such as retention rates, graduation rates, and degrees conferred. These measures are maintained by the University’s Institutional Research department and can be obtained in the mini-profile statistical data available on that department’s web site [1]. The most basic measure of success is the one-year retention rate for full-time beginning freshmen. Sam Houston State University has allocated a number of resources for academic support services to include the Student Advising and Mentoring Center, The Reading Center, The Writing Center, and the Math Lab [2] [3] [4] [5]. These efforts have contributed to a steady increase in the University’s one-year retention rate. Specifically, the retention rates for full-time first year students has increased from 64% for the fall 2002 freshmen cohort to 71% for the fall 2006 cohort with the 5 year average rate at 69% [6].

Another key measure of student achievement concerns graduation rates. The six-year graduation rates for full-time beginning freshmen overall rate for the fall 1997 cohort was 33%. For the most recent cohort (fall 2001), this rate increased to 41% [7]. Similar to graduation rates is the number of actual graduates. Following the definition used for the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), which counts graduates from summer through spring, Sam Houston State University conferred 2,522 degrees from the summer of 2002 through the spring of 2003. The number increased to 3,193 for the time period between the summer of 2006 and spring 2007, representing an increase of 27% over this four year period [8].

Upon graduation, the University employs several measures to evaluate the end product of the educational process. Measures include employment rates and pass rates on state licensing exams (e.g., Teacher Certification Exams, CPA exams, etc.). The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) uses employment rates as a measure of excellence for public institutions of higher education. THECB monitors the percent of baccalaureate graduates either employed or enrolled in a Texas graduate or professional school within one year of graduation. Only information on students who are employed in Texas is included. Students who are self-employed or leave the state to work or continue their education are not included in the database. Using this definition, Sam Houston State University regularly has a success rate of approximately 89% [9].

In terms of licensing exams, the teacher certification exam and the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam are the two most significant examinations given the University’s degree program inventory. The teacher certification test is administered by the State Board of Educator Certification, and the teacher certification data can be obtained from their website. For the period of September 2006 – December 2007 the Teacher Certification Pass Rate for Sam Houston State University was 98% [10]. In addition, the teacher certification data can also be obtained from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board website. The teacher certification pass rate data listed on the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board website is the following: 95.0% for FY2004, 97.9% for FY2005, and 98.10% for FY 2006 [11]. The data from these websites regarding teacher certification pass rates indicates continual improvement for Sam Houston State University. This information is used by the division of Academic Affairs when evaluating the performance of the College of Education and by the College of Education when evaluating the performance within the college. Evidence of the College of Education using the data to evaluate the performance of the college is in the College of Education Productivity and Performance Report 2006 – 2007 [12].

The Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam is administered by the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy. A report entitled University Pass Rate on the CPA Exams is listed for each examination period. This is a statistical report indicating the percentage of sections passed on the CPA exam for Texas educational institutions and can be obtained from the board’s web site. For Sam Houston State University the CPA Examination Pass Rate is the following for October/November: 2004 – 27.59%, 2005 – 32.81%, 2006 – 37.04%, 2007 – 48.45% [13] [14] [15] [16]. The data indicates significant and continual improvement for Sam Houston State University students for the CPA Certification Exam. This report is used as an evaluation tool by several departments on campus. A hard copy of this report for each examination period is routed from the Chair of the Department of Accounting, to the Dean of the College of Business Administration, to the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, and finally to the President. This data is used evaluate the accounting program at the University [17]. This information is primarily used by the department Chair of Accounting to evaluate the accounting program as evidenced by a copy of this departmental spreadsheet [18].

Supporting Documentation
Documentation Reference
Document Title
[1] Mini Profile, 2007
[2] Student Advising and Mentoring (SAM) Center, Webpage
[3] Reading Center, Webpage
[4] Writing Center, Webpage
[5] Mathematics Lab, Webpage
[6] Mini Profile, 2007 - Retention
[7] Mini Profile, 2007 – Graduation Rate
[8] Mini Profile, 2007 – Degrees Conferred
[9] Graduate Employment Data - Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board
[10] Teacher Certification Pass Rates, State Board of Educator Certification
[11] Teacher Certification Pass Rates, Years 2004-2006, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board
[12] Productivity & Performance Report, College of Education, 2006-2007
[13] CPA Pass Rate, 2004 - Texas State Board of Public Accountancy
[14] CPA Pass Rate, 2005 - Texas State Board of Public Accountancy
[15] CPA Pass Rate, 2006 - Texas State Board of Public Accountancy
[16] CPA Pass Rate, 2007 - Texas State Board of Public Accountancy
[17] CPA Candidate Success - Texas State Board of Public Accountancy
[18] CPA Exam Spreadsheet, SHSU Accounting Department Chair

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Sam Houston State University
Huntsville, TX 77341
(936) 294-1111