Student Achievement at
Southern Adventist University

Student achievement at Southern Adventist University is measured by multiple measures including graduation rates, job placements, student performance on licensure exams, student performance on national standardized achievement tests and course-completion rates. Below are institutional student achievement goals and reports of the success of students in attaining those goals

Student Achievement Goal 1: Achieve a 6-year graduation rate of 65%

Table 1 presents graduation rates for first-time full-time bachelor seeking  undergraduates for freshman cohorts from 2009 to 2011 which correspond to graduation years 2014/2015 to 2016/2017. The six-year graduation rate for the three cohorts have remained relatively unchanged across the years under review. There has been a small increase from cohort year to cohort year from 2009 to 2011 (increases: 0.07%  and 1.4% respectively).

Table 1: Six- and Four-Year graduation rates

Freshman Cohort (year of 6th year graduation) Four-year graduation rate Six-year graduation rate
2009 (2014/2015) 22.7% 48.3%
2010 (2015/2016) 23.2% 49%
2011 (2016/2017) 24.8% 51.4%

 

Student Achievement Goal 2: Enable 85% of Southern Adventist University graduates to obtain discipline-related employment or admission to graduate school within one year of graduation.

Job Placements 

Table 2 Annual job placement figures are collected from schools and departments by the Institutional Research and Planning (IR&P) office. The process begins with the IR&P office obtaining a list of graduates from the Records and Advisement office about the middle of the first semester (October). Lists of graduates are then distributed to the appropriate academic unit dean/chair persons. Completed lists showing job placements are returned to the IR&P office by mid-April where the information is recorded and stored. Information on the lists does not always represent the complete number of placements but reflects placements that occur 6 - 8 months after graduation. Table 2 outlines placements for school years 2013/14 to 2015/2016. Data for History and Political Studies and Interdisciplinary Studies is not available in the 2015/16 for school year and collection of Non-Departmental data began in 2014/15. The N values provided represent the number of students reporting data. 77.4%, 72.5%, and 71.7% of graduating students reported graduate and professional school admission data in 2013/14, 2014/15, and 2015/16 respectively.

Table 2: Job Placements of Reporting Graduates by Academic School/Department: 2013/14 to 2015/16

Department/School

2013/14

2014/15

2015/16

N

In Field

Out of Field

N

In Field

Out of Field

N

In Field

Out of Field

Allied Health/Biology

39

5

3

28

1

1

36

1

4

Business

18

15

3

48

35

3

69

55

7

Chemistry

11

1

1

15

3

0

11

2

0

Computing

8

7

0

15

13

0

14

11

0

Education and Psychology

74

51

9

47

37

5

64

48

6

English

1

1

0

8

5

0

5

4

0

General Studies

1

0

1

4

0

0

2

2

0

History and Political Studies

1

0

0

11

4

0

NA

NA

NA

Interdisciplinary Studies

2

0

0

2

0

0

NA

NA

NA

Journalism and Communication

21

17

3

20

12

6

17

11

6

Mathematics

1

0

0

9

5

0

1

1

0

Modern Languages

12

5

2

8

4

1

8

4

0

Music

8

4

2

7

2

0

8

5

0

Non Departmental

NA

NA

NA

3

1

1

13

13

0

Nursing

96

96

0

188

179

0

190

157

0

PE Health and Wellness

25

15

4

25

16

4

23

14

3

Physics and Engineering

2

1

0

3

0

0

1

0

0

Religion

26

23

0

29

20

3

43

29

5

Social Work

59

42

5

38

22

3

34

24

4

Technology

NA

0

0

3

2

1

5

5

0

Visual Art and Design

28

23

2

31

23

4

21

19

1

 

Graduate and Professional School Admissions

The IR&P office also gathers data on admissions of graduating seniors to graduate and professional institutions using the same process as job-placement data. Of the data collected between 2013 and 2016, 14% of graduates gained admission to graduate school while 9% went to professional school. Admission to these institutions have varied significantly across academic departments and schools. For example, the majority of students from Allied Health/Biology enrolled in professional school; School of Nursing graduate admissions increased between 2013 and 2016; School of PE Health and Wellness and School of Religion admissions significantly declined; and School of Social Work admissions remained relatively unchanged between 2013 and 2015 then declined in 2016. The reported admissions to graduate and professional institutions are presented in Table 3. The N values provided represent the number of students reporting data. 77.4%, 72.5%, and 71.7% of graduating students reported graduate and professional school admission data in 2013/14, 2014/15, and 2015/16 respectively.

Table 3. Placements of Reporting Graduates in Graduate and Professional Institutions by Academic School/Department: 2013/14 to 2015/16

Department/School

2013/14

2014/15

2015/16

N

Grad

Prof

N

Grad

Prof

N

Grad

Prof

Allied Health/Biology

39

1

30

28

15

11

36

1

30

Business

18

0

0

48

10

0

69

7

0

Chemistry

11

4

5

15

3

9

11

1

8

Computing

8

0

1

15

2

0

14

3

0

Education and Psychology

74

12

2

47

5

0

64

10

0

English

1

0

0

8

2

1

5

1

0

General Studies

1

0

0

0

0

0

2

0

0

History and Political Studies

1

1

0

11

0

7

NA

NA

NA

Interdisciplinary Studies

2

1

1

0

0

0

NA

NA

NA

Journalism and Communication

21

3

0

20

1

1

17

0

0

Mathematics

1

1

0

9

4

0

1

0

0

Modern Languages

12

2

3

8

2

1

8

4

0

Music

8

0

2

7

2

3

8

3

0

Non Departmental

NA

3

0

1

13

0

0

Nursing

99

2

1

188

9

0

190

32

1

PE Health and Wellness

32

12

1

25

3

2

23

2

4

Physics and Engineering

2

0

1

3

2

1

1

0

1

Religion

29

4

2

29

6

1

43

3

6

Social Work

59

12

0

38

13

0

34

6

0

Technology

NA

NA

NA

3

0

0

5

0

0

Visual Art and Design

28

3

0

31

3

1

21

1

0

Combining the in-field job placement data with the graduate and professional school data yields the total percentages provided in Table 3a. Among reporting students for the years 2013/14 to 2015/16, Southern met student achievement goal 2 discipline-related employment or admission to graduate/professional schools, in the majority of its academic schools and departments with these placements exceeding 85%.

Table 3a. Percentage of Reporting Graduates in Discipline-Related Employment or Admission to Graduate/Professional Schools by Academic School/Department: 2013/14 to 2015/16

 

 2013/14 

 2014/15 

 2015/16 

Allied Health/Biology

92%

96%

89%

Business/Technology

83%

94%

94%

Chemistry

91%

100%

100%

Computing

100%

100%

100%

Education and Psychology

88%

89%

91%

English

100%

100%

100%

General Studies

0%

0%

100%

History and Political Studies

100%

100%

NA

Interdisciplinary Studies

100%

0%

NA

Journalism and Communication

95%

70%

65%

Mathematics

100%

100%

100%

Modern Languages

83%

88%

100%

Music

75%

100%

100%

Non Departmental

NA

67%

100%

Nursing

100%

100%

100%

PE Health and Wellness

88%

84%

87%

Physics and Engineering

100%

100%

100%

Religion

100%

90%

90%

Social Work

92%

92%

88%

Technology

NA

67%

100%

Visual Art and Design

93%

87%

95%

Total

88%

91%

95%

Student Achievement Goal 3: Enable Southern Adventist University (Southern) students to achieve passage rates on external professional licensing examinations that exceed national and state rates. 

Student Performance on Licensing Examinations

Licensing examinations are taken in three programs: AS in Nursing, BA Liberal Arts Education and MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Both nursing and liberal arts education require students to pass these exams in order for them to practice in their fields. Data for the counseling program is not readily available in disaggregated form as for nursing and education. Table 4 presents results of the NCLEX exam for nursing. For the period January 2014 to December 2016, the University’s scores have been lower than national scores (all programs) but the 2017 scores for Southern have recovered. The change in the 2017 scores  has been due to adjustments in the instructional program.

Table 4. NCLX-RN Pass Rates for Nursing Majors 2013/14 to 2016/17

Testing Period

 Southern AS Program
Pass Rate 

 National AS Program
Pass Rate 

 National All Program
Pass Rate 

January 2014 to December 2014

76

79

82

January 2015 to December 2015

83

82

85

January 2016 to December 2016

82

82

85

January 2017 to December 2017

88

84

87

Students preparing for the BA in Liberal Arts Education (elementary and secondary) are required to pass the PRAXIS II exam before the semester of required student teaching. All students taking the PRAXIS II exam must successfully complete the appropriate section of Principles of Teaching and Learning and the particular specialty test(s) for the area of licensure. Table 5 lists average scores for Southern students compared to the state of Tennessee and the national average scores. In each of the examined areas, Southern students have performed better than their peers on selected PRAXIS II exams.

Table 5. Selected PRAXIS II Exam Results: Average Scores for Southern compared to State and National Scores

Tests: Southern/State/ National

2014/2015

2015/2016

2016/2017

Mean

SD

Mean

SD

Mean

SD

Elem. Ed. Curriculum & Instruction Assessment

  • Southern Adventist University

174.4

11.7

170.7

11.7

173.6

7.1

  • State of Tennessee

170.6

13.1

170.6

12.7

170.7

12.2

  • National

168.7

13.0

169.2

12.9

169.7

12.6

Elementary Ed. Content Knowledge

  • Southern Adventist University

170.1

15.3

173.6

13.4

174.3

7.6

  • State of Tennessee

169.0

15.0

167.4

15.3

167.7

15.7

  • National

169.0

17.2

167.2

16.8

165.9

16.8

Principles of Learning and Teaching K - 6

  • Southern Adventist University

177.3

6.7

177.4

9.7

178.8

5.0

  • State of Tennessee

174.3

10.9

174.5

10.3

174.9

10.1

  • National

174.9

10.5

175.1

10.4

175.1

10.5

Principles of Learning and Teaching 7 - 12

  • Southern Adventist University

177.7

6.5

174.1

7.1

175.2

9.1

  • State of Tennessee

172.7

12.2

174.0

11.4

173.5

11.9

  • National

174.3

11.5

174.6

11.5

174.7

11.6

 

Student Achievement Goal 4: Promote high academic achievement levels by students as evidenced by the ETS Proficiency Profile Test.

National Standardized/Achievement Tests

Each year, members of the senior class demonstrate their competence on the main components of the general education program through their performances on the nationally normed Educational Testing Service (ETS) Proficiency Profile test. The test covers mathematics skills, writing skills and reading/critical thinking skills. Results show three categories of attainment: proficient, marginal, and not proficient. The goal of the institution is to increase the percentage of students in the proficient category at level 3 of each skill area. Between 2013 and 2017, the averages for the level-3 proficient category in mathematics and reading/critical thinking declined while in the writing category, scores remained relatively constant. In all categories level-1 and level-2 percentages were not significantly different. Table 6 gives the distribution of percentages for each category for the three skill areas.

Table 6. ETS Proficiency Profile: Summary of Proficiency Classifications 2013/14 – 2016/17

Class

Percent Proficient

Percent Marginal

Percent Not Proficient

SKILL

2013/14

2014/15

2015/16

2016/17

2013/14

2014/15

2015/16

2016/17

2013/14

2014/15

2015/16

2016/17

Reading

Reading Level 1

76

79

84

79

12

14

8

13

11

7

7

8

Reading Level 2

46

50

49

46

24

23

29

22

30

27

23

32

Critical Thinking

9

7

4

6

26

28

32

29

65

65

63

65

Writing

Writing Level 1

78

76

81

73

17

19

16

24

4

4

3

4

Writing Level 2

27

28

29

31

47

45

50

34

26

27

21

36

Writing Level 3

16

18

18

17

33

25

33

26

52

57

50

57

Mathematics

Math Level 1

70

71

72

71

15

17

20

17

15

13

8

11

Math Level 2

39

43

38

38

29

28

31

32

32

29

31

30

Math Level 3

13

10

10

8

19

24

22

23

69

66

68

69

Table 6a compares the performance of Southern students with their peers at baccalaureate liberal arts colleges on level-3 performance for reading/critical thinking, writing, and mathematics on the ETS Proficiency Profile. Southern's mathematics and reading/critical thinking percentages were similar to peers with the exception of the reading/critical thinking percentage in 2015/16. Southern’s writing percentages are significantly higher than peers for the period under review.

Table 6a. Southern Adventist University Level-3 Proficiency Classification (%) for Reading, Writing and Mathematics 2013 to 2017, Compared to Seniors at Baccalaureate (Liberal Arts) Colleges I & II

Skill Dimension 

University/College 

2013/14 

2014/15 

 2015/16

 2016/17

 Reading/Critical Thinking

 Southern

 9

 7

 4

 6

 Bac. Liberal Arts

 7

 7

 7

 6

 Writing 

 Southern

 16

 18

 18

 17

 Bac. Liberal Arts

 10

 10

 10

 11

 Mathematics

 Southern

 13

 10

 10

 8

 Bac. Liberal Arts

 10

 9

 9

 8

Majors from the academic schools/departments listed in Table 7 take the Major Field Test, which measures their performance in these academic areas. The data in the table represents overall percentiles for the cohort taking the test in a given year. School of Business lists percentiles for both fall and winter terms but national percentiles were not available. In 2016/17, the School of Business did not administer the Major Field Test. Percentiles for the Biology department are significantly higher than the national percentiles from 2013/14 to 2016/17.

Table 7. Major Field Test: Cohort Percentiles 2013/14 to 2016/17

ACADEMIC DISCIPLINE

2013/14

2014/15

2015/16

2016/17

SAU %ile

Nat %ile

SAU %ile

Nat %ile

SAU %ile

Nat %ile

SAU %ile

Nat %ile

Biology (Year)

74

43

78

43

78

46

74

46

Business (Fall/Winter)

52/63

N/A

63/72

N/A

61/61

N/A

N/A

N/A

Computing (Year)

Students in the History and Political Studies department take the ACAT achievement test. Table 7a reports the results for years 2013/14 through 2016/17. Scores in 2014/15 and 2016/17 were significantly better than 2015/16, but comparative scores for ACAT are unavailable. Efforts will be made to obtain some means of comparison with the cohort that takes the test for the same group of courses.

Table 7a. ACAT College Outcomes for History and Political Studies

Test Year

Number of Students Tested

Overall Percentile

2014/15

5

82

2015/16

8

56

2016/17

7

82

Student Achievement Goal 5: Promote high academic achievement as indicated by course completion rates near 97%.

Grade distributions for all academic units are collected by the Records and Advisement office and distributed to each academic school/department at the end of each semester. From these figures, it is possible to calculate course completions by subtracting the number of WFs (withdraw failing), Ws (withdraw), Is (incompletes), AUs (audits), and NRs (not reported) from the semester totals of student credits. Overall, the class completion percentages average 89% for each semester from Fall 2014 to Winter 2017. In no academic unit were completion percentages less than 70%, and in some instances, the percentages rose to 96%-98%. Generally, percentages are between 80% and 92%. The fall and winter percentages for Fall 2014 to Winter 2017 are presented in Table 8. The Winter 2016 rate for allied health was not available.

Table 8. Course Completion Percentages Fall 2014 to Winter 2017

Departments/Schools

2014-15

2015-16

2016-17

F14

W15

F15

W16

F16

W17

Allied Health

96

90

98

NA

85

86

Biology

92

91

93

88

89

90

Business & Management

92

94

92

94

94

96

Chemistry

93

95

95

94

94

90

Computing

83

81

83

79

83

79

Education & Psychology

94

90

92

92

93

92

English

91

87

89

88

87

87

History

83

85

84

84

85

87

Journalism & Communication

91

92

94

93

90

92

Mathematics

85

89

89

90

89

87

Modern Languages

82

67

87

87

84

92

Music

88

90

89

87

84

85

Non-Department

91

81

93

89

90

82

Nursing

93

94

92

92

94

93

PE, Health, Wellness

88

86

87

87

88

88

Physics & Engineering

87

94

84

90

88

93

Religion

90

92

89

93

92

92

Social Work

88

89

89

83

90

93

Technology

80

75

78

77

89

86

Visual Art and Design

91

93

93

93

90

92

Overall

89

88

90

88

89

89