Measuring Program-Level Completion Rates

Research Report

Measuring Program-Level Completion Rates

A Demonstration of Metrics Using Virginia Higher Education Data
January 31, 2020


A student’s major can have a large effect on long-run earnings, and program-level earnings data are best paired with information about a student’s likelihood of success in a given major. Program-level graduation rates could provide this context. A useful program-level graduation rate must include as many students as possible, provide an accurate and stable estimate of a student’s likelihood of completion, be consistent across institutions, and align with institution-level graduation rates. We use data from Virginia to assess how close we can get to building the ideal metric and to evaluate the changes institutions would need to make to provide the most accurate measure of program completion.

Research Area: 

Cross-Center Initiative

Cross-Center Initiative: 
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