The CAA has identified program completion rates as an outcome measure that addresses the quality of the program’s success with respect to student achievement. Further, the CAA believes that program completion rates reflect multiple facets of program effectiveness. When students complete a program within the program’s specified time frame, it suggests that the program’s admissions process was effective, that required course work was offered on a sufficiently regular basis, and that the program provided sufficient clinical education opportunities.
The CAA allows for programs to provide published time frames for students enrolled in different tracks:
- Full-time residential
- Full-time distance education
- Part-time residential
- Part-time distance education
A student should be counted as completing on time if the student graduates within the published time frame for the appropriate component of the program. Program completion rate data are to be reported based on entering cohorts.
Terms of Student Enrollment
The CAA interprets the published time frame as the number of terms an individual student was actually enrolled in the program. The terms do not have to be consecutive, but the total number of terms must meet the program’s expected time frame for completion. University-approved leaves of absences (e.g., for reasons of health, maternity/paternity, mission work, military assignment) do not count toward the number of terms a student was enrolled in the program. Students taking longer due to reasons other than university-approved leaves of absences (e.g., course repeats, remediation plans, personal reasons) cannot be considered as meeting completion expectations. While personal reasons for taking longer to complete or not completing the program may be compelling, such situations are accommodated by the 20% allowance in the 3-year average threshold.
Calculating Three-Year Rates
The CAA calculates three-year rates using raw data for the three-year interval reported by a program in its current accreditation report in order to assess compliance with the CAA-established thresholds for program completion, Praxis examination pass rates, and graduate employment rates. This protocol is in accordance with best practices in mathematics and statistical analysis. It is expected that programs use the same protocol to calculate the three-year averages for these student achievement measures. Averaging the three annual percentages is not an appropriate method to determine the three-year averages in order to demonstrate the program’s ability to meet the CAA-established benchmarks for the student achievement measures.
The CAA does not require programs to post three-year averages as part of the data that must be presented on the program’s website for student achievement. However, when posted the data must be accurate.