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Student Achievement Measure Statement on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Answering the Call” Report

Washington, DC – Student Achievement Measure Executive Director Christine Keller today released the following statement about the Gates Foundation’s “Answering the Call” report.

“The Gates Foundation’s ‘Answering the Call’ report released today is a reminder of the critical need for more accurate federal postsecondary data and wisely examines the progress and reforms that could be achieved through access to better and more comprehensive data. Unfortunately, current federal graduation data only considers the outcomes of full-time students who start and finish at their first institution. The current federal graduation rate methodology better reflects the profile of college students in 1956 than 2016, as 55 percent of bachelor’s degree recipients now attend more than one institution before completing their degrees and over 60 percent of students at community colleges attend part-time. How can today’s students select the institutions most successfully serving students without knowing accurate graduation rates?

“As today’s report noted, the Student Achievement Measure (SAM) offers a comprehensive metric that better reflects graduation rates at post-secondary institutions by including transfer and non-traditional students in its analysis. SAM provides incoming students with the data they need when determining whether to apply and enroll at an institution that best fits their needs. Nearly 600 institutions have joined SAM and we continue to build a coalition of universities that proactively and voluntarily publish more accurate data. Participation in SAM is open to all accredited, degree-granting colleges and universities and new members are encouraged and welcomed.

“For far too long, students and policymakers have been forced to rely on federal graduation data that doesn’t fully represent student progress and completion. The Student Achievement Measure remains committed providing better student outcomes data and we continue to call for more complete federal graduation measures.”

SAM is a collaborative effort of the six national presidential higher education associations — the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), the Association of American Universities (AAU), the American Council of Education (ACE), the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), and the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU). Funding for SAM is provided in large part by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundations with additional support from the Carnegie Corporation, APLU, and AASCU.

  • Accountability & Transparency

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