Assessment Manual

2004-2005 Research Project
GRADUATION RATES in Institutional Context

2003-2004 Research Project

Project Background:
Ensuring Student Success: Why Students Stay and Succeed emerged from a study
the office of Institutional Effectiveness and Assessment did on the behalf of the
Academic Support Coordinating Committee. This committee was concerned with identifying
the causes of student attrition within the first month of each semester,
Why Students Withdraw in the First Month
(IEA, 2003).

This study takes on a some what different perspective. It is based on the belief that in
order to ensure students success, we must know what the strategies for success are.
Little is known about the experiences of those students who stay at NSU, progress,
and graduate and rarely or never use traditional education support services.  What
accounts for satisfaction and successful progression of these students? What strategies
do they employ to succeed and graduate? What institutional support services or structures
do they use, if any? How can we use the experiences of these successful students to
enhance the quality of educational processes at Norfolk State and facilitate student success?

We will subject Fall 2000 Fall 2003 Graduating Student Exit Survey (GSES) data to cluster
analysis to identify groups of NSU graduates based on selected academic and personal
develop me nt and satisfaction variables. Focus groups will be conducted with representatives
from each cluster. Then, following qualitative data analysis steps, we will analyze narratives
from the GSES and data from interviews and focus groups involving NSU students and
administration to identify patterns of student success at Norfolk State.



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