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You are here: Home Compliance Certification Section 4 - Federal Requirements 4.1 - Student Achievement

4.1 - Student Achievement

The institution evaluates success with respect to student achievement consistent with its mission. Criteria may include: enrollment data; retention, graduation, course completion, and job placement rates; state licensing examinations; student portfolios; or other means of demonstrating achievement of goals.

Judgment of Compliance

The College certifies compliance.


The mission of Cleveland Community College cannot be accomplished without student success. The College regularly utilizes a number of measures to evaluate student achievements and uses that data to make informed decisions for improvement.

North Carolina Community College System (NCCCS) Performance Measures

Cleveland Community College utilizes numerous methods to measure student achievement. The College participates in the North Carolina Community College System's (NCCCS) accountability process, from which results for the 58 North Carolina Community Colleges are published annually in the Performance Measures for Student Success Report (2015, 2016, 2017). Each year, CCC provides NCCCS performance measures data via the Academic Bulletin and Student Handbook. Measures include Basic Skills Student Progress, College-Level English Course Success, College-Level Math Course Success, First Year Progression, Curriculum Student Completion, Licensure and Certification Passing Rate, and College Transfer Performance.

The State Board of Community Colleges began monitoring performance data on specific measures to ensure public accountability for programs and services in 1993. In 1998, the General Assembly directed the State Board to review past performance measures and define standards to ensure programs and services were of sufficient quality.

In 2010, System President Scott Ralls established a Performance Measures Committee to develop new performance-based student success measures to go into effect in 2013. After a year of researching, drafting, and soliciting feedback from college faculty and staff on potential measures, the Committee formally presented eight measures to the State Board. The measures were formally approved by the State Board in November 2011, submitted to the General Assembly in March 2012, and adopted in June 2012.

One of the outcomes of the Committee’s work was the establishment of system-wide consistent, statistically-defined "baselines" and "goals" (now called excellence levels) for each measure to promote transparency, simplicity, and objectivity. Based on three years of historical data (if available) for each measure, baselines were set two standard deviations below the system mean, and the goals were set one standard deviation above the system mean. These baselines and goals remained static for three years and were reset in the 2016 Report.

In 2017, CCC met or exceeded the excellence level in three measures, basic skills progress, first-year progression; and, college-level math course success. The College also performed above the college average in one other measure, curriculum completion.

Basic Skills Progress

To assess the achievement of adult literacy students in basic skills, CCC uses the NCCCS state performance measure of success established for all community colleges. Performance is based on the progress of Basic Skills students as a result of an increase in Educational Functioning Levels. This is determined by initial assessment and a post-test following 60 hours of instruction. CCC exceeded the state performance measure for system excellence in 2015-2016.

CCC offers Adult Basic Education (ABE), Adult High School (AHS), and High School Equivalency (HSE) through the College’s Learning Center. The system baseline for Basic Skills Progress for 2015-2016 was 34.5% with average performance at 59.1%. The measure for System Excellence was 68.3%. CCC exceeded the goal for system excellence with a score of 79.4%.

Credit English Success

The student success rate in college-level English courses is the percentage of first-time Associate Degree seeking and transfer pathway students passing a credit-bearing English course with a “C” or better within two years of their first term of enrollment. The purpose of this measure is to ensure students are successfully completing credit-bearing English courses within their first two academic years. The excellence level for this measure was 55.9% and the baseline was 23.8%. The College achieved a 35.2% success rate.

The College established the Enrollment, Retention, and Success Committee in 2014 with the purpose of planning, evaluating, and implementing procedures and actions, including marketing, to improve enrollment, retention, and success for all instructional areas of the College and to review and recommend actions designed to meet the performance measures of the NCCCS. In reviewing data collected for the Credit English Success measure, the Committee unanimously voted to develop ENG-111 (Writing and Inquiry) as a Master Course meeting Quality Matters (QM) standards. Quality Matters is designed to promote and improve the quality of online education and student learning through the development of current, research-supported, and practice-based quality standards and appropriate evaluation tools and procedures. ENG-111 was designed using QM in an effort to improve student performance on this measure.

Credit Math Success

The student success rate in college-level math courses is the percentage of first-time Associate Degree seeking and transfer pathway students passing a credit-bearing Math course with a “C” or better within two years of their first term of enrollment. The purpose of this measure is to ensure students are successfully completing credit-bearing math courses within their first two academic years. The excellence level for this measure was 32.5% and the baseline was 10.1%. The College achieved a 38.4% success rate, surpassing the excellence level.

First Year Progression

The First Year Progression measure is the percentage of first-time fall curriculum students attempting at least 12 hours who successfully complete at least 12 of those hours within their first academic year (fall, spring, summer). The System’s excellence level for this standard is 75%. CCC scored above the excellence level with 78%. The purpose of this standard is to ensure first year students reach an academic momentum point that helps predict future credential completion.

Curriculum Completion Rate

The NCCCS defines Curriculum Completion as the percentage of first-time fall credential-seeking students who graduate, transfer, or are still enrolled with 36 non-developmental hours after 6 years. The excellence level for this standard is 51.9%. CCC was above the system average of 43.7% with a score of 49.0%. This standard helps to ensure student completion and persistence toward a post-secondary credential.

In the 2016 fall semester, the College began requiring students in degree programs to take a student success course (either ACA-115 Success and Study Skills or ACA-122 College Transfer Success) as a way to give students foundational support with time management skills, study skills, goal-setting, and critical thinking. Also, exposing them to myriad services, resources, and academic planning should give them the tools they need to graduate, transfer or persist and the College anticipates this will help improve performance on this measure.

Licensure and Certification Passing Rate

Students completing Radiography, Cosmetology, Esthetics, Manicurist, Basic Law Enforcement Training, Emergency Medical Technician, Practical Nursing, and Associate Degree Nursing programs of study must take state licensing examinations before they are eligible to work as a licensed professional.

The purpose of this standard is to ensure programmatic coursework that prepares students to competently practice in their chosen profession. The Licensure and Certification Passing Rate measure looks at aggregate institutional passing rate of first-time test-takers on licensure and certification exams. Exams included in this measure are state-mandated exams that candidates must pass before becoming active practitioners. All licensure and certification exams taken for the first time during the licensure agency’s most recent reporting year are represented. The NCCCS baseline for this standard is 69.9%. CCC scored above the baseline with an aggregate score of 78.7%. The current passing rates for the licensure exams are shown in the table below:

Program of Study Current State Results
 Radiography 83%
 Cosmetology 94%
 Esthetics 67%
 Basic Law Enforcement Training 84%
 Emergency Medical Technician 64%
 Practical Nursing 100%
 Associate Degree Nursing 95%

The following provides additional details regarding specific licensure pass rates for individual programs, as well as actions being taken to improve licensure pass rates, based on the data from this measure.

Radiography Technology (RT)

Due to lower passing rates in licensure and certificate examinations within the Radiography Technology program, tutoring has been added for all first and second year students. Tutoring is available to students through the Student Success Center and by faculty.

Radiography Technology faculty review American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) scores, American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT) curriculum, and course information annually making adjustment and revision to course content as needed. Each Radiography Technology instructor reviews their area of expertise with students and provides supervision for remediation as needed. RAD 271 (Radiography Capstone) is a course that provides a comprehensive review of each area. Additionally, an external review program and testing has been added to prepare students for the licensure exam.

Cosmetology (COS)

Practice tests, a mid-term and a final are given to prepare students for the licensure exam. An exit exam has also been established requiring students to score 75 or higher. In addition, students are encouraged to take their state test before they graduate.

Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET)

All students are now required to review each “end-of-block” test they take, regardless of the grade. If the student scores below a 70, they are not considered proficient and are required to re-test. The minimum score for the state exam is a 70 or higher. A comprehensive practice exam is being developed.

The Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET) program has an instructor accountability standard wherein if the BLET class as a whole consecutively fails a respective unit that a respective instructor is teaching (2 BLET state exams in a row), then the instructor will be assigned to a different topic of instruction. While the student is ultimately responsible for how they test, the instructor must be held accountable as well. Students are also encouraged to form study groups.

Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)

The Emergency Medical Technician program experienced a decrease in first-time passing results on the licensure exam. Statewide, other Emergency Medical Technician programs also experienced a decrease in passing rates when the exam was changed.

After exam scores dropped statewide, the North Carolina Office of EMS (NCOEMS) instituted new instructional guidelines for all EMS Educational levels during this transitional period for EMS education in NC. In an effort to improve, CCC is offering test prep classes to help students better prepare for their certification exams. The test prep course helps prepare students by reviewing questions from the EMS National Standards, regarding the didactic and psychomotor learning domains for knowledge and skills required of practicing EMTs.

College Transfer Performance

The college transfer performance measure is the percentage of students who exited the College after having completed an Associate Degree and/or at least 30 cumulative hours of articulated transfer credits and subsequently transferred to a four-year college or university and earned a GPA of 2.5 or better after two consecutive semesters within the academic year at the institution. The purpose of this measure is to ensure the academic success of community college students who transfer to a four-year college or university. The excellence level was 87.6%, while the baseline level was 65.1%. Cleveland Community College achieved a 77.0% success level.

The prior year’s transfer performance rate for Cleveland was 83.3%. The ERS Committee will be reviewing results to continue making recommendations for improvement based on data.

Other Evaluations of Student Achievement/Use of Results

As part of its program review process, the College reviews programs and services on a regular basis to determine student success, as detailed in our response to Comprehensive Standard 3.3.1. Student achievement is regularly reviewed by each program’s advisory committee as part of the program review process. Program review participants use data (grade distributions by delivery method, for example) to monitor pass, fail, and withdrawal rates. Program Learning Outcomes and Student Learning Outcomes are identified by faculty participating in program review, and quantifiable goals are set for each outcome. Faculty assess the outcomes and report on each one. In areas where they fall short of the outcome goal, specific measures to address each shortcoming are included in the review and/or reported on in the Program Review One-Year Follow-Up Report.

As evidenced in the Credit English Success performance measure discussed above, the ERS Committee reviews data, and implements actions for improvement based on their findings. In addition to the State’s Performance Measures, the Committee’s efforts focus on enrollment, retention, and success and related metrics are included in the Committee’s Enrollment Management Plan. An example of the use of results for improvement is evidenced in Administrative Council Minutes, where a recommendation based on analysis of data to develop additional Master Courses was approved.

Illustrated by ongoing, periodic reviews of State Performance Measures, program reviews, and Enrollment Management Plan metrics, the College demonstrates that it regularly evaluates success as it relates to student achievement, takes action based on data towards continuous improvement, and takes appropriate measures to facilitate the continued achievement of our students in reaching their personal educational goals.