Keene State College students are far more likely to graduate than students who start their college careers at other four-year public institutions according to the National Student Clearinghouse.

Recently the National Student Clearinghouse released National Success and Progress Rates showing graduation and completion data for students, regardless of where they first went to college.

Keene State College has reported its data about graduations and completions publicly for several years through the Student Achievement Measure (SAM).

Director of Institutional Research and Assessment Cathy Turrentine said that almost all institutions send data to the National Student Clearinghouse every month.

She said, “We’re required by law to report enrollments to the federal government and the National Student Clearinghouse manages that for almost every institution in the country.”

George Amaru / Art Director

George Amaru / Art Director

Turrentine continued, “Because institutions are reporting enrollments to them, they have this huge data set about student enrollment. So they’re reported for one purpose, but it provides the opportunity for research about student retention and graduation and things like that. We continue to report for the original purpose.”

As for the Student Achievement Measure, Turrentine said, “It is a voluntary program by which institutions may choose to report the progress of their students either continuing to be enrolled from year to year or being graduated or transferring out and based on Clearinghouse data whether they might also be transferred to or graduated from another institution. We pretty much must provide data to the clearing house; we choose to provide data to SAM.”

This is also true whether looking at those who graduate from Keene State College or those who transfer out and then graduate somewhere else.

After 4 years at KSC:

Graduated at KSC – 54 percent

Graduated at KSC or elsewhere – 61 percent

After 4 years, all four-year public institutions nationally:

Graduated at starting institution – 34 percent

Graduated at starting institution or elsewhere – 38 percent

After 6 years at KSC:

Graduated at KSC – 63 percent

Graduated at KSC or elsewhere – 79 percent

After 6 years, all four-year public institutions nationally:

Graduated at starting institution – 57 percent

Graduated at starting institution or elsewhere – 68 percent

Turrentine said, “Certainly our ability to graduate students is above the national average. Our four-year graduation rate has improved remarkably over the last ten years. The class of students that entered here in 2002 so they would have graduated ten years ago in ‘06, only 29 percent of them graduated in four years. By now and for the last four or five years the four year graduation rate here is up over 50 percent.”

Turrentine also said that she thinks it had to do with the introduction of the four credit curriculum, which gives students a chance to go deeper into one subject rather than having to do more preparations for another at a maybe not so deep level.

Turrentine said, “We used to have a three credit curriculum and now we have four credits. That happened at exactly the same time that we went to the ISP as opposed to the former general education requirement, and that was at the time this increase came about in the graduation rate.”

Not all institutions follow a four-credit curriculum. According to Dean of Sciences and Social Sciences Gordon Leversee, the four credit course model is rather uncommon. Leversee said, “The four-credit course model was partly in response to what we saw as the tendency for students to really have too many things going on, having five courses, sometimes six courses and often some courses fell through the cracks. That seemed to be a problem in terms of degree completion.”

Leversee continued, “The idea behind the four-credit model was that students would be taking four courses typically and that would enable them to focus more deeply on fewer courses. Faculty would be teaching three courses instead of four, which would enable them to do the same thing: to focus more on the courses they were teaching.”

Other institutions that haven’t adopted the four-credit model require students to take five courses. As a senior majoring in Communication, Emily Crosby said she likes having four classes because it’s manageable. Crosby said, “I like the four credit courses. Most of my friends, their schools don’t do four credit classes. I don’t mind four credit classes for an hour and forty five minutes.” Crosby said she is planning on graduating this spring. Like Crosby, many other Keene State students will also be gearing up in caps and gowns for graduation this spring. Turrentine said, “From 2007 on, [the] raduation rate was above 50 percent. We’re at 53 percent this year.”

Adam Urquhart can be contacted at

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