The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) has introduced a new resource page for the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) Outcome Measures (OM) survey component. This blog post provides an overview of the webpage and is the first in a series of blog posts that will showcase OM data.
Measuring Student Success in IPEDS: Graduation Rates (GR), Graduation Rates 200% (GR200), and Outcome Measures (OM) is a new resource page designed to help data reporters and users better understand the value of OM data and how the OM survey component works, particularly when compared with the Graduation Rates (GR) and Graduation Rates 200% (GR200) survey components.
The OM survey component was added to IPEDS in 2015–16 in an effort to capture postsecondary outcomes for more than so-called “traditional” college students. From 1997–98 to 2015–16, IPEDS graduation rate data were collected only for first-time, full-time (FTFT) degree/certificate-seeking (DGCS) undergraduates through the GR and GR200 survey components. Unlike these survey components, OM collects student outcomes for all entering DGCS undergraduates, including non-first-time students (i.e., transfer-in students) and part-time students.
Outcome measures are useful as characteristics of students vary by the level of institution. In 2009, some 4.7 million students began at 2-year postsecondary institutions, and 25 percent were full-time students who were attending college for the first time. During the same period, some 4.5 million students began at 4-year institutions, and 44 percent were first-time, full-time students.1
The new resource page answers several important questions about OM, GR, and GR200, including the following:
- Which institutions complete each survey component?
- Does the survey form vary by institutional type?
- What student success measures are included?
- Which students are included in the cohort?
- What is the timeframe for establishing student cohorts?
- Which subgroups (disaggregates) are included?
- What is the timing of data collection and release?
In answering these questions, the resource page highlights that OM provides a more comprehensive view of student success than do GR and GR200. Furthermore, it suggests that OM, GR, and GR200 are not directly comparable, as the survey components differ in terms of which institutions complete them, which students are captured, and how each measures cohorts. Here are some of the key differences:
- Institutions with FTFT cohorts complete the GR and GR200 components, whereas degree-granting institutions complete the OM component.
- GR and GR200 include only FTFT DGCS undergraduates, whereas OM includes all DGCS undergraduates.
- GR and GR200 cohorts are based on a fall term for academic reports and a full year (September 1–August 31) for program reporters, whereas OM cohorts are based on a full year (July 1–June 30) for all degree-granting institutions.
Finally, the resource page outlines how OM works, including how cohorts and subcohorts are established, which outcomes are collected at various status points, and when the public have access to submitted data. Exhibit 1 presents the current 2021–22 data collection timeline, including the cohort year, outcome status points, data collection period, and public release of OM data.
Exhibit 1. 2021–22 Outcome Measures (OM) data collection timeline (2013–14 entering degree/certificate-seeking cohort)
Data reporters and users are encouraged to utilize the new OM survey component resource page to better understand the scope of OM, how it works, and how it differs from GR and GR200. Stay tuned for a follow-up blog post featuring data from OM that further highlights the survey component’s usefulness in measuring student success for all DGCS undergraduate students.
By Tara Lawley, NCES; Roman Ruiz, AIR; Aida Ali Akreyi, AIR; and McCall Pitcher, AIR
 U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), Winter 2017–18, Outcome Measures component; and IPEDS Fall 2009, Institutional Characteristics component. See Digest of Education Statistics 2018, table 326.27.