Grad rates hit high marks: Division I student-athletes continue to set high marks for graduation, and football and men’s basketball players and minority students are posting significant improvement, according to the latest data from the NCAA. Read more »
View the database for DI GSR, DII ASR, FGR, APR and DI Head Coach APR: Find out how your favorite school, conference or sport fared. Read more »
Trends in Graduation Success Rates and Federal Graduation Rates at NCAA Division I Institutions: PDF from NCAA Research Staff. Read more »
Press conference audio recording from Oct. 27, 2010: Learn more about graduation rates. Listen here »
NCAA grad rate a success by any measure: Graduation Success Rate is one that college and university presidents believe is more useful than the methodology used to produce the federal graduation rate. Read more »
By Michelle Hosick
Even though Graduation Success Rates for Division I football and men’s basketball jumped in the most recent study, the overall Division I GSR didn’t change much.
Todd Petr, NCAA managing director of research, said that part of the explanation pertains to the large number of athletes who are evaluated – more than 25,000 each year. The quantity tends to suppress major movements in overall rates. Petr said the more important indications of improvement or decline come over the longer term. In the nine years of GSR data collection, the rate has risen by five percentage points, a significant increase.
Though the gains in Football Bowl Subdivision football and in men’s basketball were significant, they were offset by small declines in several other cohorts, including both men’s and women’s cross country and track and field, bowling, field hockey, and men’s and women’s fencing.
Additionally, the NCAA altered its process for collecting the graduation-rate data with the latest cohort of students. Historically, those data have been collected in an aggregate manner at the sport level. Now, the data are collected through the Academic Performance Program (APP) at the student level. The change ensures that each student is accounted for in the graduation rates, something the old process didn’t require.
When the data were collected at the aggregate level going back to the beginning of the cohort, it was possible for some student-athletes to be overlooked or forgotten during data collection, especially if a student-athlete entered school six years ago for only one term.
Now that the data is collected through the APP, collection is easier for the membership because one fewer form needs to be completed. Ronald Chrestman, a statistician who handles the APP and GSR submissions for Clemson, said the change in data collection saved him many hours of work.
“With the way it is now, I can do my GSR in less than a day,” he said. “And using the APP, you know it’s more accurate because it’s been checked and re-checked by the NCAA.”
The change will also allow the NCAA to be able to accomplish better long-term analyses.
Though the change in the collection process will not lead to large changes in observed graduation rates, it does mean that the cohort will include people who weren’t there in the past, most likely individuals who did not graduate and those who participated in nonrevenue sports.
The change also could have contributed to the steady overall GSR in the most recent report, even though jumps in the revenue sports were large.
Petr believes that if the change in collection methodology had done anything, it would have caught more negative outcomes (nongraduates) than positive ones (graduates), possibly leading to a lower overall graduation rate. That didn’t happen.
“We were gratified to see with a more robust collection system, things didn’t change all that much. The membership is doing its job,” he said.