Concordia University Texas (CTX) documents undergraduate and graduate student achievement outcomes that reflect its mission of developing Christian leaders and utilizes this information for improvement. Student achievement is measured, evaluated, and tracked using six outcomes that fall within three broad categories:
- Retention and Completion
- Academic Engagement and Proficiency
- Licensure, Certification, and Post-Graduate Activities
Current measurement, evaluation, and tracking of achievement outcomes are summarized below. Thresholds of acceptability for student achievement are generally set by CTX to align or exceed those of national student samples, our IPEDS Comparison Group, private institutions of similar size, or standards set by licensing bodies such as the Texas Education Agency. Measures of student achievement that consistently fall below a set threshold are identified by academic leadership and targeted for improvement.
Retention and Completion
- Between 2010 and 2015, an average 59% of first-time, full-time CTX freshman return for their second year (2010-2015).
- Since 2014, CTX’s retention rate has increased to be on par with our IPEDS peer group.
- CTX’s first-time, full-time freshman retention rate for students entering Fall 2015 was 63%
- On average, 37% of first-time, full-time freshman entering CTX from Fall 2005 through Fall 2010 graduated from CTX within six years.
- In the past few years CTX’s graduation rate has increased to be on par with our IPEDS peer group.
Completion rates are also measured, evaluated and used to improve CTX graduate degree programs. In existence since 2010, the MBA program has typically graduated students at and above 80 percent. After recent tracking revealed several Spring-entering cohorts graduating at a lower rate (2012, 67 percent; 2013, 68 percent), admissions procedures and criteria were examined and adjusted by the program director and faculty to raise the academic profile of MBA student entering mid-year.
Academic Engagement and Proficiency
National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE). CTX has administered the NSSE annually each Spring semester since 2009 to freshman and senior undergraduates. NSSE results are tracked and reviewed annually in the form of educational engagement indicators (EIs) reported by undergraduates as well as the degree to which they take advantage of institutional opportunities regarded as high-impact educational practices (HIP). While some NSSE engagement indicators used as markers of student learning outcomes (Higher-Order Learning, Reflective & Integrative Learning, and Quantitative Reasoning, three additional NSSE IEs are tracked and evaluated as indirect measures of student achievement related to our mission of developing Christian leaders: Collaborative Learning, Student-Faculty Interaction, and Discussions with Diverse Others. CTX senior undergraduates consistently report levels of engagement and participation in high-impact practices at and above those of other private institutions in our geographical region. NSSE results are used by faculty, academic administrators, and academic support units to evaluate institutional effectiveness and guide continuous improvement efforts targeting student achievement outcomes. The SSI has been administered regularly to undergraduates since 2009 and the ASPS administered to adult students and PSOL to online students beginning in 2016.
Student Satisfaction Inventory (SSI), Adult Student Priorities Survey (ASPS), and Priorities Survey for Online Learners (PSOL): CTX also uses results from SSI, ASPS, and PSOL to evaluate how student satisfaction is associated with student achievement among our undergraduate, adult degree completion, and online degree programs. Results from these surveys are linked with student retention and completion rates and provided to faculty, academic administrators, and academic support units to evaluate institutional effectiveness and guide continuous improvement efforts targeting student achievement outcomes.
Collegiate Assessment of Academic Proficiency (CAAP) and Collegiate Learning Assessment Plus (CLA+): Since 2008, CTX has utilized direct measures of academic proficiency to evaluate undergraduate student achievement of intellectual and academic skills supporting the mission. Between 2008 and 2015, the completion of the CAAP was a graduation requirement of all undergraduate students. As seniors, Concordia undergraduates consistently scores at or above the national average on CAAP proficiency measures of reading, writing, critical thinking, and science reasoning. However, Concordia undergraduate proficiency in mathematics has tended to be at or below the national CAAP average. These results have been used to guide improvement to general education and educational curricula. For example, changes to math placement procedures for that better identified students likely to benefit from a developmental course in mathematics were implemented after 2008-2009 that resulted in the substantial gain and maintenance of math proficiency of seniors at or near the CAAP national average.
The CLA+ was chosen to replace the CAAP in 2016 because of its ability to provide a "value-added" measure of academic proficiency on a set of skills and abilities aligned more closely with CTX’s educational goals and objectives. An initial pilot administration of the CLA+ found a sample of 80 CTX Seniors scored significantly higher than a sample of 55 CTX freshman on the CLA+ Total Score, Performance Task, and Selected-Response Questions. Comparison of CLA+ Mastery Levels obtained by these samples found that 40 percent of Freshman scored at the Below Basic level of mastery and 92 percent of seniors scored above the Below Basic mastery level. These results were provided to and used by the General Education Committee to guide the improvement of student learning outcomes critical for undergraduate student achievement.
Licensure, Certification, and Post-Graduate Activities
Student achievement is also measured and evaluated using licensure, certification, and employment rates of CTX graduates. Graduates of our both our undergraduate and graduate education programs have, on average, historically high rates of passing Texas Education Agency (TEA) exams required for public school certification as teachers and administrators. Recognition of passing rates at 86 percent for MEd Principal Certification has led to curricular changes designed to better prepare graduate students in this program for certification. Achievement of students enrolled in our undergraduate nursing program is tracked annually using graduation rates, National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) passing rates, and the percent of graduates certified as Registered Nurses (RN). Outcomes on each of these measures is consistently very high and are used to maintain standards for admission and successful completion of the undergraduate nursing program.
CTX began tracking undergraduate employment outcomes and participation in postgraduate education in 2017 using the Higher Education Data Sharing (HEDS) Consortium's First Destination Survey. Results from the First Destination Survey found 77 percent of graduating seniors described their primary expected activity after graduation to be full or part-time employment, 9 percent to be enrollment in a continuing education program, and 12 percent to be seeking employment. This information is used by the Center for Vocation & Professional Development to evaluate and improve its effectiveness in preparing CTX graduates for post-graduate success.