To help fulfill the mission of the institution, Fayetteville State University (FSU) evaluates success with respect to student achievement.
Evaluation of student success enables the institution to better assess the university's curriculum and its quality at every level.
The institution uses multiple measures to document student success at programmatic and institutional levels through a comprehensive system of planning and evaluation.
Fayetteville State University engages in ongoing, comprehensive, and integrated research-based planning and evaluation processes that focus on institutional quality and effectiveness and incorporates a systematic review of institutional goals and outcomes consistent with the institutional mission.
Outcomes Assessment Reports (OPARs)
At the programmatic level, all academic programs engage in an annual outcomes-based assessment process and produce annual Outcomes Assessment Reports (OPARs) that focus on student achievement in relation to identified program level student learning outcomes. The outcomes assessment process evaluates student learning at all academic degree levels.
Comprehensive Program Reviews
In addition to participating in annual cycles of student learning outcomes assessment, all academic programs conduct comprehensive program reviews every three to five years. Comprehensive program reviews evaluate program effectiveness, student achievement, and factors impacting student achievement. The data generated through this comprehensive process are utilized at the School/Division/Department levels for programmatic improvement and at the institutional level by informing the Strategic Planning Process.
FSU student achievement is evaluated using the following multiple measures:
- National Student Clearinghouse Graduation Rates
- IPEDS Graduation Rates
- IPEDS Student Retention Rates
- Course Completion Rates
- DFW Rates
- Student Performance on State Licensure Examinations
- Career Outcomes Rates
Expected Institutional Goals for Student Achievement
Fayetteville State University (FSU) is a public comprehensive, Historically Black University, that offers robust and innovative degree programs rooted in the liberal arts tradition. The university advances knowledge through the integration of teaching, learning, research, and public service. FSU strives to meet the educational, career, and personal aspirations of its students from rural, military, and other diverse backgrounds so that they are equipped with academic and practical knowledge to serve local, state, national, and global communities as enlightened citizens, globally astute leaders, and engaged solution creators.
Fayetteville State University has established four goals for student achievement:
1) Approximately forty-five (44.7) percent of FSU first-time, full-time, degree-seeking students will graduate within six years (150% time of normal enrollment length) according to the 6-year National Student Clearinghouse Total Completion Rate.
2) Fall-to-fall retention rates for first-time bachelor's degree-seeking students at FSU will exceed 71 percent.
3) Baccalaureate graduates' overall career outcome rates will exceed the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) national rate.
4) FSU will meet or exceed the state or national pass rates for programs leading to licensure or certification requirements to practice.
Rationale of Criteria and Thresholds of Acceptability
Fayetteville State University established acceptability thresholds for Expected Institutional Goals for Student Achievement by evaluating student achievement data and measures from peer institutions, national organizations, and national/state licensure/certification examination data. The specifics of the goals fall into three categories - graduation, retention, and graduation outcomes.
Institutional Student Achievement Goal #1, "Approximately forty-five (44.7) percent of first-time, bachelor's degree-seeking students at FSU will graduate within six years (150% time of normal enrollment length) according to the 6-year National Student Clearinghouse Total Completion Rate." The criteria of 45% was established as part of the process to develop FSU's Strategic plan and by tracking the institutional National Student Clearinghouse rate. While the criteria for success is 45%, the threshold of acceptability is 41%. This minimum threshold has shown to be achievable and is acceptable for FSU student success goals, even though the ultimate criteria for success on the National Student Clearinghouse 6-year graduation rate is 45%.
Institutional Student Achievement Goal #2 - Fall-to-fall retention rates for first-time, bachelor's degree students at FSU will exceed 71 percent.
FSU established the 71 percent criteria by comparing fall-to-fall retention rates of its peer institutions. The peer institution five-year average retention rate is 70.4 percent and FSU's current five-year average is 70.8%. The median of the peer institution five-year average is 71%. As a result, FSU has chosen the criteria of 71%. Although, FSU is currently leading peer institutions on the five-year average retention rate, the yearly retention rate has shown more variability than preferred. Therefore, the minimum threshold of acceptability for FSU on retention rates is 69%, which represents the first quartile of the five-year peer institution average. The table below shows the percentages for each institution.
|First-time First-Year Fall-to-Fall Retention|
|FSU & Peer Institutions||Fall 2016||Fall 2017||Fall 2018||Fall 2019||Fall 2020||Five-Year Average
|Alabama State University||63||59||59||61||62||61|
|Alcorn State University||72||75||73||80||74||75|
|Elizabeth City State University||68||74||73||70||76||72|
|Fort Valley State University||75||76||75||73||73||74|
|Grambling State University||60||68||72||74||77||70|
|Norfolk State University||77||71||70||74||68||72|
|Prairie View A&M University||69||71||74||66||74||71|
|Savannah State University||60||58||60||61||69||62|
|University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff||70||71||70||72||74||71|
|University of North Carolina at Pembroke||67||69||74||72||71||71|
|Virginia State University||74||71||66||65||62||68|
|Winston Salem State University||77||76||77||78||77||77|
Institutional Student Achievement Goal #3 - Baccalaureate graduates' overall career outcome rates will meet or exceed the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) national rate.
The most recent NACE Overall Outcomes rate is 82%, and FSU has selected this as the criteria of success for student goal #3. Historically, FSU has not met this criteria as it is an aspirational goal. The minimum threshold of acceptability for FSU is 68%, which represents the average FSU overall outcomes rate for the past four years.
Institutional Student Achievement Goal #4 - The University will meet or exceed the state or national pass rates for programs leading to licensure or certification requirements to practice.
Graduates of Two programs at FSU (education and nursing) are required to take licensure examinations to enter their professions. FSU established the criteria for success and threshold of acceptability by using the national and state passing requirements.
Results of Student Achievement Goals
The narrative continues with a discussion of the results of each of the four student achievement goals.
Student Achievement Goal #1 - Approximately forty-five (44.7) percent of first-time, bachelor's degree-seeking students at FSU will graduate within six years (150% time of normal enrollment length) according to the 6-year National Student Clearinghouse Total Completion Rate.
FSU uses the six-year graduation rate definition used established by the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) Integrated Post-Secondary Education Data System (IPEDS). As noted previously, the University monitors the National Student Clearing House graduation rate; however, it uses IPEDS graduation rates to compare our progress with our peer institutions. In addition, the IPEDS data enable the University to disaggregate the data into demographic groups (i.e., gender and race/ethnicity) for further analyses.
FSU did not meet the 44.7 percent criteria set by the University for first-time degree-seeking students to graduate in six years. However, the National Student Clearing House data indicate that the six-year graduation rate for the 2015 first-time students cohort is 41.6 percent and this rate meets the FSU threshold of acceptability of 41%.Two hundred and sixty-one 261 students graduated within six years with a four-year degree from either FSU or another institution out of 627 total students in the cohort.
FSU also monitors IPEDS 6-year graduation rates as a way to monitor student success in relation to peer institutions. The table below shows that FSU's average percentage of students who graduated in six years across five cohorts (2010 - 2014, the years publicly data released by IPEDS) is lower than our peer institutions. However, FSU's five-year average six-year graduation rate is only 3 percentage points below the average of peer institutions and leadership is confident in University continuous improvement efforts to increase student success in terms of graduation rates in the future.
|FSU & Peer Institutions First-time, Full-time First-Year Students Six-Year Graduation Rates|
|FSU & Peer Institutions||Fall 2010 Cohort||Fall 2011 Cohort||Fall 2012 Cohort||Fall 2013 Cohort||Fall 2014 Cohort||Five-Year
|Fayetteville State University||32||33||35||34||36||34||37|
Using the IPEDS FSU internal data for the 2015 cohort, the data is disaggregated by race/ethnicity and gender to better understand the overall six-year graduation percentage. In addition, disaggregated data enable FSU to design institutional strategies that focus on all groups, especially groups with the lowest graduation rates.
|Race/Ethnicity||Total Fall 2015
|# Graduated Within
|% Graduated Within
|American Indian or Alaska
|Black or African American||509||196||39%|
|Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander||2||0||0%|
|Two or more races||1||1||100%|
|Race and ethnicity unknown||25||8||32%|
Based on the IPEDS race/ethnicity classification, the data show that American Indians or Alaska natives had the lowest six-year graduation. Except for Hispanic/Latino students, the percentages among the other racial/ethnic groups are below the overall six-year graduation percentage.
Fall 2015 FSU First-time, First-Year Students Six-Year Graduation by Race/Ethnicity
In the table below, the data are disaggregated to determine whether there are any gender differences in the six-year graduation percentages. The six-year rate for male students is 10 percent below the percentage for female students.
Fall 2015 FSU First-time, First-Year Students Six-Year Graduation by Gender
|Gender||Total Fall 2015
|# Graduated Within
|% Graduated Within
To address the differences among the various demographic groups, FSU has adopted several strategies and initiatives. The strategies and initiatives include strengthening advising and faculty mentorship. Another strategy focuses on creating career pathways for majors and programs. Finally, there is an intense focus on addressing issues facing black male students across the University.
Student Achievement Goal #2 - Fall-to-fall retention rates for first-time, bachelor's degree students at FSU will exceed 71 percent.
As one of the key goals in Fayetteville State University's strategic plan, using IPEDS data, the University continuously reviews the fall-to-fall retention rates for first-time bachelor's degree students. Retaining first-time students ultimately results in higher graduation rates. However, as indicated in the table below, the results show that FSU has not achieved its goal of retaining 71 percent of first-time, degree-seeking students from one fall semester to another. Although the University did not meet this achievement goal, FSU's average five-year fall-to-fall percentage is extremely close to meeting the criteria and is comparable to its peer institutions, indicating the challenges of retaining students at institutions with similar student profiles. The institution also fell short on the minimum threshold for acceptability for the Fall 2020 cohort. However, the institution met the threshold over the past three years. It is suspected the COVID-19 pandemic played a role in the decrease in student retention for the Fall 2020 cohort.
|First-time First-Year Fall-to-Fall Retention|
|FSU & Peer Institutions||Fall 2016||Fall 2017||Fall 2018||Fall 2019||Fall 2020||Five-Year Average
The 2020-2025 FSU Strategic Plan identified five action plans to reach the 71 percent threshold to address the first-time students' fall-to-fall retention problems. First, the plan includes creating more engaging activities and programs in living and learning spaces on campus that appeal to a wide array of first-year students. Second, developing orientation courses and activities to develop and apply essential skills and incorporating the various campus resources into the first-year experience courses. Finally, increasing financial assistance to students and working with first-year students to maintain no lower than a 2.0 GPA.
Student Achievement Goal #3 - Baccalaureate graduates' overall career outcome rates will exceed the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) national rate.
As a critical measure of student achievement and student success, FSU tracks the career outcome status of its graduates. Three metrics are measured consistent with the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) guidelines. First, the overall career outcome includes graduates working, pursuing further education, enlisted in the military, or volunteering. Second, the percentage of graduates in full-time employment is measured. Third, the percentage of graduates pursuing further studies is also calculated.
FSU employs surveys, interviews, and telephone conversations in gathering information on graduates after program completion. Specifically, graduates are contacted six months and twelve months post-graduation to determine their employment or graduate school status. Reviewing the most current NACE report shows that the national average overall career outcome rate is 82 percent. As indicated in the table below, FSU has historically not met the NACE national rate However, FSU has met the minimum threshold of acceptability for the past two years. The table shows four years' employment and graduate school placement rates for baccalaureate graduates.
To improve the overall career outcome of graduates, FSU's Office of Career Services offers numerous resources to students and alumni in career planning and development. The Office organizes workshops to better prepare students for the job market and graduate school. Topics covered during the workshops include resume preparation, interviewing techniques, and effective job search and networking. The Office also organizes career fairs that link prospective employers to students and alumni.
|Graduating Term||Overall Career Outcome Rate*||Percent Employed Full-Time||Percent Graduate
School Placement Rate
|2019-2020||70.8 %||52.63%||15.79 %||20.6 %|
|2018-2019||65.5%||48.40 %||13.70%||37.3 %|
*Overall career outcome rate includes working, continuing education, military, and volunteering
**Knowledge rate is a term used by NACE instead of "survey response rate" to reflect the approach of going beyond simply relying on a survey for obtaining outcomes information.
Student Achievement Goal #4 -The University will meet or exceed the state or national pass rates for programs leading to licensure or certification requirements to practice.
FSU has two programs that prepare graduates to take national licensure examinations to enter the professions. The two programs are the Bachelor of Science (BSN) pre-licensure program and the Bachelor of Education programs.
Nursing Program: National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN)
The North Carolina Board of Nursing (NCBON) requires accredited nursing programs to have NCLEX-RN passing rates for first-time writers at 95% or greater of the national rate, based on a rolling three-year average. As indicated in the table below, FSU's three-year average (2018-2020) is 93 percent, which is higher than both the national and state averages. In addition, the program faculty members have an excellent track record of designing and delivering a very rigorous curriculum to prepare the pre-licensure students to pass the NCLEX-RN examination and demonstrate excellence in employment settings.
|Summary NCLEX-RN Pass Rate (%)|
|2018||2019||2020||3-Year Average (2018-2020)|
Source: North Carolina Board of Nursing
The North Carolina State Department of Public Instruction (NC DPI) has established testing requirements for licensing teachers. FSU's College of Education (COE) and NC DPI monitor the scores of student teachers on the state licensure examinations. Effective Fall 2019, the NC DPI requires all teachers to be licensed to pass SCALE's edTPA Teacher Performance Assessment. If student teachers in the Secondary Areas (Grades 9-12) pass the edTPA Assessment, they are not required to take the Praxis Principles of Learning and Teaching Exam (PLT).
NC DPI requires teachers to attempt the licensure tests during the first year of their teaching license, and they must pass the tests by the third year of their teaching license. FSU's COE requires candidates to take the licensure tests before being admitted to student teaching. This allows the candidates to receive support if they fail to pass the licensure test. Candidates complete the edTPA Assessment during student teaching. If they are not successful in passing the edTPA Assessment, they work with the COE faculty to retake it.
As indicated in the table below, the percentage of FSU completers has consistently been below the statewide percentage. The 2019-2020 academic year saw a slight increase in the percentage compared to the previous two years, but it was still below the statewide percentage.
|Bachelor's Degree Programs Licensure Test Pass Rates|
Source: North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (IHE Reports)
Key evidence of FSU's strong commitment to student achievement is that improving retention and graduation rates of students is the first priority in the University's 2020-2025 Strategic Plan. Retention, graduation, and course completion rates are also key priorities in the operational plans of all academic departments and schools. In addition, the university conducts surveys of its graduates to measure post-graduation outcomes, including current employment and enrollment in graduate and professional schools.