The federal government recently announced that it plans to change the way it measures student success. Instead of measuring graduation rates using first-time, full-time students, the new measurements will take into account part-time and transfer students. The Integrated Postsecondary Educational Data System (IPEDS) has been outdated for several decades now and fails to take into account the changing landscape of students in the United States. This new change is good news for many of the nation’s colleges and universities.
Although community college leaders are the main force behind this change in measurement, the new strategy will also have a significant impact on the measuring of student success at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) as well. A few years ago, I co-authored a policy paper for the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, which focused on changing the way IPEDS measures student success with the focus on HBCUs. In the paper, we noted that HBCUs serve many part-time, transfer, and stop-in/stop-out students. Unfortunately, IPEDS’s traditional ways of measuring student success do not capture the impact of HBCUs on students. They fall through the cracks.
The new way of measuring success will capture, in part, the role that many HBCUs play.
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