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Institutional Research and Effectiveness

Vocabulary

The following definitions may assist faculty and staff in understanding the terminology of Institutional Research at BRCC.

Argos: Reporting software available to faculty and staff for viewing student and course data in on-demand, real-time fashion. Customized or made-to-order Argos reports can be requested through Institutional Research staff. All data presented in Argos originates in Banner.

Banner: BRCC’s primary database for student applications, enrollment, and financial aid.

Board of Regents: Principal governing body for all higher education institutions in the state of Louisiana.

Census Date (also commonly known as “14th Day”): The calendar date determined for every major semester for the purpose of establishing preliminary student headcounts. The census date is typically the fourteenth class day of the given semester.  At the end of a semester, census data is ordinarily superseded by SSPS data for most official recordkeeping purposes. 

Cognos: Online reporting software maintained by LCTCS; houses many reports used by IR staff for annual state and federal reporting requirements.

Cohort: The official entering group for all first-time, full-time, associates’ degree-seeking students. Federal reporting guidelines define a given year’s cohort as the institution’s full-time, degree-seeking students who are enrolled in college for the first-time and entering in the fall semester. In general, when a student enters college in a given cohort, their academic identity remains attached to that cohort.

Completer: A student who has fulfilled all requirements of a degree, diploma, certificate, or other program credential and has received an award.

Dual Enrollment Student: Student who is concurrently enrolled in high school and in one or more credit-earning courses at BRCC. Some dual enrollment courses are offered at high schools, while others are given at BRCC campuses and sites.

First-Time, Full-Time, Degree-Seeking Student: a student enrolled in college for the first-time (never enrolled in any college before), taking twelve (12) or more credit hours in a major semester, and registered in a degree-earning program. In some cases a distinction is made between associate’s degree-seeking students and students enrolled in diploma or certificate programs.

Frozen Data: Data that is preserved for the purpose of providing snapshot documentation of critical metrics regarding enrollment, credit hours, course grades, and so forth. Example include the 14th-day census and the end-of-semester SSPS data set, both of which serve to represent permanent, official data of the college.

FTE (Full-Time Equivalent): Expresses a uniform measure of the total student body at the college; obtained by calculating the number of full-time students that would be served on the basis of the total credit hours taken by all students at the college. For a fall or spring semester, BRCC calculates FTE by dividing the total number of student credit hours by twelve (12). To calculate FTE for a summer semester, the total number of student credit hours is divided by six (6).

GRAD Act: Annual reporting protocol developed by the Board of Regents that targets key institutional data points, for the purpose of incentivizing the college’s efforts to boost student success.

IPEDS (Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System): Reporting surveys administered by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). IPEDS reports for key student and college metrics are completed by the Institutional Research office according to Fall, Winter, and Spring collection cycles. Survey components include: Institutional Characteristics, Completions, Fall Enrollment, and Graduation Rate.  Other offices at the College, including Human Resources, Finance, and Library Services, also complete their own IPEDS reports on regular schedules.

IRB (Institutional Review Board): An internal review board charged with ensuring that research conducted at the college is consistent with appropriate ethical and professional standards and compliant with federal guidelines for research using human subjects.

LCTCS (Louisiana’s Community and Technical College System): Governing body of Louisiana’s community and technical colleges, including Baton Rouge Community College.

Live Data: Data captured in real-time, representing up-to-the-minute activity in the college. Argos is a reporting tool that displays live data.

NCES (National Center for Education Statistics): Primary data-gathering office of the U.S. Department of Education. NCES administers IPEDS surveys and also publishes many free online tools for use by college students and parents including College Navigator.

National Student Clearinghouse: A 501(c)(6) nonprofit, nongovernmental organization that provides educational reporting services for colleges and universities. BRCC’s Institutional Research office regularly utilizes Clearinghouse services such as Student Tracker to monitor the progress of students who transfer from BRCC to four-year colleges and other institutions.

Persistence: Measure of how many students continue their enrollment at BRCC from year-to-year or semester-to-semester. Persistence typically does not distinguish among student types, whereas retention usually represents first-time, full-time, degree-seekers only.

Retention: Measure of how many first-time, full-time, degree-seeking students return to the college in their second year. Ordinarily, retention is evaluated on a yearly (fall-to-fall) basis, though fall-spring retention within the same year is sometimes evaluated as well.

SACSCOC (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges): The regional accreditation body of degree-granting higher education institutions in southern states. The Institutional Research office provides critical data collection and analysis for the college’s SACSCOC review.

SCH (Student Credit Hours): The sum of all credit hours taken by students in a given academic semester or year.

SSPS Data (also known as “End-of-Semester” data): A frozen data table containing official student enrollments, grades, and credit hours that is captured after the end of an academic semester. This data is typically the source for official, end-of-semester reporting to state and federal governing bodies.

Transfer Student: A student who enrolls at BRCC after previously enrolling at one or more other colleges.

 
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