What Can Student Right-to-Know Graduation Rates Tell Us About Community College Performance?
This paper examines the validity of the Student Right-to-Know (SRK) graduation rates as measures of community college performance. The SRK rates are the only performance measures available for every undergraduate institution in the U.S. Many community college educators argue that the SRK rates give an inaccurate picture of community college outcomes. Using data from national longitudinal surveys of college students, we examined criticisms commonly leveled against the SRK measures and found that the SRK rates do indeed yield a biased and potentially misleading picture of individual community college student outcomes. We then analyzed the usefulness of the SRK rate as a measure of relative institutional performance. Specifically, we considered whether using different measures of performance would result in substantially different rankings of Florida’s 28 community colleges. Contrary to initial expectations, we found that the relative performance of the colleges did not change substantially as different students or outcomes were used. Even after we adjusted for student characteristics that might affect outcomes, the college rankings were still fairly stable.
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