Common Institutional Effectiveness Terms

Terms Related to Institutional Research:

Census Date (Freeze Date): The date on which a snapshot of institutional data is taken (i.e., “frozen”) from the administrative information system. The resulting freeze file serves as a permanent record of institutional data. It is used to generate institutional statistics (e.g., pertaining to admissions, enrollment, degrees, instructional activity) in response to state, federal, and other organizations that ask for institutional data as of an official reporting date. Freeze data ensure accurate, consistent data for trend analyses and tracking of progress toward established institutional goals.

Note that the Academy freezes institutional data in both the fall and spring semesters for admissions, enrollment, and instructional activity reporting. This occurs after the add/drop deadline and the resumption of graduate program classes (i.e., the second Friday in November during the fall semester and the last Friday in March during the spring semester). Additional snapshots of institutional data are taken and archived at other points during the academic year, including on or about the first business day in October for annual degree completions reporting; in early January for annual graduation rate reporting; approximately two weeks after final grades are submitted for course outcomes reporting; and after June 30th each year for 12-month fiscal year reporting.

Course section end date: The specific date on which a course section ends. This may or may not fall within the associated term.

Course section start date: The specific date on which a course section begins. This may differ from the term start date but must fall within the associated term.

Enrolled Student: For official reporting purposes to the state, federal government, and related entities, an enrolled student is a student who is actively attending class for the relevant term (e.g., for fall enrollment, enrolled students are those who are in attendance for class as of the institution's official fall census date).

Persistence: (adapted from the National Student Clearinghouse) Continued enrollment (or degree completion) at any higher education institution — including one different from the institution of initial enrollment.

Retention: (adapted from the National Student Clearinghouse) Continued enrollment (or degree completion) within the same higher education institution.

Terms Related to the Assessment of Student Learning:

Learning Objective: A statement of what students will be exposed to during the course of a learning experience (e.g., "Students will read texts of celebrated 20th century American authors.").

Learning Outcome: A detailed statement of what students are expected to gain in terms of knowledge, skills, and attitudes from a learning experience (e.g., "Students should be able to write research reports in APA style.").