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Student Achievement

Student success is an integral part of the mission of College of Charleston. The emphasis on student success is consistent with the statutory mandates and directives of the South Carolina Department of Administration and the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education. The institution evaluates sucess with respect to student achievement consistent with its mission.

Goal 1: Four- and Six-Year Graduation Rates (S.C. Performance Indicator)

Institutional Goal: For students enrolling as degree-seeking undergraduates, the College’s four-year graduation rate will exceed 50% and the College’s six-year graduation rate will exceed 60%.  

The College’s four-year graduation rate (Table 1) for the past several years has ranged between 52% and 58%. For example, based on the 2009 cohort, the four-year graduation rate for the College is third-highest among South Carolina public universities. The College’s six-year graduation rate (Table 1) for the past several years has ranged between 65% and 69%. The six-year graduation rate for the College is third-highest among South Carolina public universities.

Table 1. Graduation Rates of New Full-Time Freshmen Follow-Up Terms: Fall 2010 to Fall 2015

Table 1

Figure 1. South Carolina Six-Year Graduation Rates for Freshmen Entering 2009

Figure 1

Goal 2: Employment Rate for Graduates (S.C. Performance Indicator)

Institutional Goal: The College’s institutional goal is that at least 75% of new graduates of baccalaureate programs will be employed one year after graduation.

Goal 3: Number of Graduates Who Continued Their Education (S.C. Performance Indicator)

Institutional Goal: The College’s institutional Goal is that at least 20% of new undergraduate degree recipients will be enrolled in a graduate, professional, or other educational program one year after graduation.

Figures 2 and 3 indicate recent graduate employment and university enrollments exceed the College’s threshold for student achievement.  Figure 2 presents preliminary data from a survey administered at graduation and indicates that at least half of the survey respondents reported employment at the time of graduation and 14% reported post-graduate education. More information can be found in the Senior Exit Survey Reports for Class of 2013, Class of 2014, and Class of 2015. Figure 3 provides survey data from the one-year post graduation survey for the years 2011-2012 to 2013-2014; data indicates that employment rates are slightly below the goal of 75% and graduate school enrollments are above the 20% institutional goal cited above. Additional data from The Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED) indicates 49 College of Charleston graduates received a doctorate degree in 2014.

Figure 2. Plans following graduation: Senior Exit Survey Classes of 2013, 2014, 2015

Figure 2

Figure 3. Employment Status and Graduate School Attendance One-Year Post Graduation (Classes 2011-2012, 2012-2013, 2013-2014)

Figure 3

Table 2. Number of Doctorate Recipients by Selected Baccalaureate Institution (2009-2014)

Table 2

Goal 4: Employer Feedback on Graduates (S.C. Performance Indicator)

Institutional Goal: When available, employer feedback will indicate a favorable assessment of the performance and/or preparation of College of Charleston students. Institutional goal set to baseline. 

Overwhelmingly, as shown in Table 3, employers favorably rated the College’s graduates on a series of skills and abilities, including the ability to work independently (70%), professionalism (69%), and the ability to work in teams (68%). 

Table 3. College of Charleston Alumni Employee’s Ability Level

Table 3

Goal 5: Scores of Graduates on Post-undergraduate Examinations (S.C. Performance Indicator)

Institutional Goal: Advanced students or recent graduates who complete post-undergraduate examinations will earn scores consistent with or better than those earned by relevant peer groups, when peer data are available, or will show evidence of significant improvement or achievement relative to an appropriate baseline (e.g., at least 10% improvement in achievement between the freshman and senior years).  

As shown below in Table 4, the ETS results showed College of Charleston seniors scored 6% higher than the Carnegie Class in level 3 mathematics, 7% higher in level 3 writing, and 2% higher in critical thinking. 

Table 4. ETS Proficiency Profile Results: Percent Proficient (2009, 2012, 2015)

Table 4

Post-undergraduate examinations are given in some academic programs. For example, for students taking the PRAXIS II, results for the most recent three years show College of Charleston students with pass rates of 96% or better. College of Charleston pass rates were above the South Carolina public university average for the past two years (SC Title II document). 

Table 5. College of Charleston and Statewide South Carolina Praxis Traditional Assessment Pass Rates (2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15)

Table 5

Goal 6: Credit Hours Earned of Graduates (S.C. Performance Indicator)

Institutional Goal: For students who entered the College of Charleston as freshmen, the College’s mean number of credit hours earned for a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) or Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree will not exceed 134 hours (i.e., 10% over and above the minimum 122 credit hours required to earn the degree). Students earning double majors, second majors, or second degrees (including the A.B.) are excluded from measurements relevant to this goal.  

For 2007-2015, as shown in Table 6, students who earned B.A. degrees did so with a mean of 128.5 credit hours. Those who earned B.S. degrees during this period did so with a mean of 132.5 credit hours. Credit hours earned for the B.A. and B.S. degree have remained stable over time.

Table 6. Average Credit Hours to Graduation

Table 6

Source: Institutional Research, Planning, and Information Management

Goal 7: Undergraduate Retention Rates (College of Charleston Indicator)

Institutional Goal: For students enrolling as degree-seeking undergraduates, the College’s first-to-second year retention of first-time, full-time freshmen will consistently exceed 80%.  

As Figure 4 indicates, the College’s retention rate of full-time freshmen was consistently above 80% from 2011-2013 and decreased slightly below 80% in 2014 and 2015. The College’s retention consistently exceeds the mean for all Public Master’s I institutions. In addition, for fall 2014 to fall 2015 retention, the College’s retention rate was second highest among South Carolina comprehensive teaching institutions, the state-designated category for the College of Charleston (CHE retention document).

Figure 4. College of Charleston One-Year Retention Rate, 2011-2015

Figure 4

Goal 8: Degrees Awarded (College of Charleston Indicator)

Institutional Goal: Between 2010-2020, the College of Charleston will increase by 5% the total number of undergraduate and graduate degrees awarded.  

The number of undergraduate (Figure 5) and graduate (Figure 6) degrees earned each year at the College increased by 5.1% between 2010 and 2015.

Figure 5. Bachelor’s Degrees Awarded (2008-2015)

Figure 5

Figure 6. Graduate Degrees Awarded (2008-2015)

Figure 6

Goal 9: Time to Degree Completion (College of Charleston Indicator)

Institutional Goal: The College’s institutional goal for time to undergraduate degree completion will be a mean of 4.2 years and a median of 4.0 years, for all students who enter the College as freshmen. 

For all students earning undergraduate degrees in 2013-2014 and who entered the College as freshmen, the mean time to degree was 4.2 years. The median time to graduation was 4.0 years. For all students earning undergraduate degrees in 2014-2015 and who entered the College as freshmen, the mean time to degree was 4.2 years and the median time to graduation was 4.0 years.

Goal 10: Course Completion Rates (College of Charleston Indicator)

Institutional Goal: The College of Charleston should have DFW (drop-fail-withdrawal) rates at or below 15% for undergraduate course enrollments in an academic year.  

DFW rates have been stable at the College since 2010 as shown in Figure 7.

Figure 7. College of Charleston DFW Rates, 2010-2011 to 2015-2016

Figure 7