Northwest Shoals Community College (NWSCC) identifies and evaluates goals and outcomes for student achievement using a variety of measures. Criteria for evaluating success include course success rates, retention rates, program completions, graduation rates, job placement rates for career technical students, and licensure passing rates for students in career technical programs that require licensure.
NWSCC measures course success in three ways. A grade report is run at the end of each semester, and the course success rate for all courses is calculated. Students who achieve a final grade of C or better are counted as successful for the course; therefore, the threshold of acceptability is 70% or higher. The College also calculates a departmental course success report each semester from the grade report. This report is aggregated by department, course, and instructor and is distributed to the department heads after each semester. From this data, NWSCC compiles a course success report for the top fifteen (15) enrollment courses, with the goal that each of those courses reaches a 70% success rate. Currently, nine of the fifteen top enrollment courses have achieved 70% success, four courses are over 69% success, and two are above 59% success.
NWSCC tracks the fall-to-fall retention rate of incoming first-time full-time freshmen students. The following chart is a comparison of NWSCC retention rates with other Alabama community colleges based on the latest available data.
NWSCC Retention Rates Compared to All Alabama Community Colleges*
*Rate for Alabama includes all public, two-year colleges overseen by the Alabama Community College System, excepting Ingram State Technical College, comprised of incarcerated students.
NWSCC awarded an average of 724 associate degrees, career certificates, and short-term certificates over the last four academic years.
The College also monitors the number of graduates for each program. The target threshold is an average of 7.5 graduates over a three year period. The following table provides the number of graduates by program along with the three-year average.
NWSCC monitors graduation rates in order to determine whether students are meeting their educational goals. The College reports the three-year graduation rate of its first-time full time cohort as defined by the Integrated Postsecondary Education System (IPEDS). NWSCC’s benchmark for the 150% graduation rate is a floating target within 7% of the average graduation rate among the other institutions in the Alabama Community College System. Comparative state data are accessed through the IPEDS Data Center. The table below shows the NWSCC graduation rate for the last four reporting periods, and the chart that follows displays the graduation rate comparison of NWSCC to other Alabama community colleges based on the latest available data. NWSCC has not met the target graduation rate in the previous two years; however, new student success initiatives were implemented which are already having a positive impact on course success rates and student retention, and on the IPEDS winter data collection graduation rates survey, NWSCC reported a 150% graduation rate of 16%, which is a 23% increase over the previous year.
*Rate for Alabama includes all public, two-year colleges overseen by the Alabama Community College System, excepting Ingram State Technical College, comprised of incarcerated inmates.
Graduate Placement Rates
NWSCC collects data on graduates who are employed in the year following their graduation, and these data are reported in the annual Perkins Career Technical Education Report. The target threshold is 72% of graduates employed in the year following graduation. The following table shows the placement rates for graduates 2013-2014 through 2015-2016, which is the most recent data available.
Licensure Exam Pass Rates
Completers from several NWSCC programs must pass licensure or certification exams in order to work in their disciplines. The College monitors the results of these examinations. The following three tables show completers’ performance on individual licensure exams for the past three years, which demonstrates the strong preparation they received while at NWSCC.