Why is SAM Important?
Nationally, more than one in five students who complete a degree do so at an institution other than the one where they started, and 15 percent of students had previously attended college in at least one other state, according to a recent study by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. Yet the typical method for calculating graduation rates, as stipulated by federal legislation, counts only those students who enroll full-time and then start and finish at their first college or university. SAM provides an improved measure to better account for the success of these students.
For institutions of higher education, the SAM offers an innovative reporting tool that provides a more comprehensive overview of student outcomes and includes a greater number of students. For policymakers and the public, SAM provides a more complete picture of student progress on the path to a degree or certificate.
The Student Achievement Measure (SAM) Project is a joint initiative of the six national higher education presidential associations: the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), the American Council on Education (ACE), the Association of American Universities (AAU), the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), and the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU).
Funding for the initial two years of the SAM Project is provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, AASCU, and APLU.
For more information or questions regarding the Student Achievement Measure project contact the Executive Director, Christine Keller at ExecutiveDirector@studentachievementmeasure.org.
What is SAM?
There are two models included in SAM, one for students enrolled in bachelor’s degree programs and one for students enrolled in associate’s degree or certificate programs.
Each SAM model will report results for two groups of students.
The bachelor’s degree model will report on (1) full-time students attending any college for the first time and (2) full-time, transfer-in students attending the reporting institution for the first time.
The associate’s and certificate program model will report on (1) full-time students attending the reporting institution for the first time and (2) part-time students attending the reporting institution for the first time.
Each SAM model will report multiple student outcomes.
The bachelor’s degree model will report on the percentage of students who have graduated either from (1) the reporting institution or (2) a subsequent institution, as well as students who are still enrolled at (3) the reporting institution or (4) a subsequent institution. The final outcome reported will be the percentage of students whose enrollment or completion status is unknown.
The associate’s and certificate program model will report on the percentage of students who have (1) graduated from the reporting institution, (2) are still enrolled at the reporting institutions, (3) transferred to a subsequent institution, or (4) whose enrollment or completion status is unknown.
An important source of data for the Student Achievement Measure is the National Student Clearinghouse, a nonprofit organization that provides enrollment and degree verification services as well as analytical tools for participating institutions.
For more information on the Student Achievement Measure models and calculations, read the SAM FAQs.hide »