COVID-19 Reporting and Information

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Student Achievement

Tennessee Tech University is proud of the accomplishments of its students in the classroom, in campus activities, and after graduation. The university evaluates success with respective to student achievement consistent with its mission “Tennessee Tech delivers enduring education, impactful research, and collaborative service.”[1] One of core principles in the Strategic Plan – Tech Tomorrow is Student Success that explicitly indicates that “We empower students to realize their potential, craft individualized experiences, and discover their passion.”[2] The student achievement is assessed on a variety of performance indicators, including enrollment data, retention and graduation rates, job placement rates, student portfolios, and performance on licensure examinations. The academic units and student service/support units at the university use this information in ongoing planning and assessment activities that guide improvement efforts, as directed by the university's strategic plan.

 

The data that demonstrated student achievement are presented in the following sections:

  •     Student Enrollment Data
  •     Student Retention Rate
  •     Student Graduation Rate
  •     Degrees Conferred
  •     Senior Exit Exam
  •     Performance on Licensing Exams
  •     Major Field Tests
  •     Job Placement Rate - “First Destination” after Graduation
  •     Employer Satisfaction Survey
  •     Alumni Satisfaction Survey
  •     Continuous Improvement

  

Student Enrollment Data

Tennessee Tech's enrollment has increased ~5% during the last 14 years – from 9,733 in Fall 2006 to 10,177 in Fall 2020 [3]. Total Fall 2020 includes 8,778 students enrolled in undergraduate programs and 1,399 students enrolled in graduate programs. Details of individual unit enrollment are also available on Tennessee Tech’s Institutional Research (IR) website. Celebrating its centennial year of operation in 2015, Tennessee Tech University is expected to continue enrolling approximately 11,000 students.

Student Retention Rate

Tennessee Tech’s retention data are reported in the Tennessee Tech Institutional Research website. The development of Flight Plan started in Fall 2012, and the 1st to 2nd year retention of 72.8% in Fall 2011 was taken as the baseline retention rate.  As indicated in the data reported for 1st to 2nd year retention rates of first-time, full-time, degree-seeking students (see Table 1 below), Tennessee Tech has made solid progress toward its target for the last two years. The full report of the 1st to 2nd year retention in the past 10 years can be found on the Tennessee Tech IR website [4].

Table 1: 1st to 2nd Year Retention Rates

Baseline (Fall 2010 to Fall 2011) Fall 2012 to Fall 2013 Fall 2013 to Fall 2014 Fall 2014 to Fall 2015 Fall 2015 to Fall 2016 Fall 2016 to Fall 2017 Fall 2017 to Fall 2018 Fall 2018 to Fall 2019 Fall 2019 to Fall 2020
72.8% 74.6% 75.7% 74.6% 79.0% 78.6% 75.0% 76.5% 77.5%

The full report of Tennessee Tech’s 2nd to 3rd year student retention data can be found on the Tennessee Tech IR website [5] . The 2nd to 3rd year retention rate of 85% in Fall 2011 was taken as the baseline, and the target retention rate was set as a 2% increase in the 2nd to 3rd year retention. As shown on Table 2 below, Tennessee Tech has maintained very promising 2nd to 3rd year retention rates.

Table 2: 2nd to 3rd Year Retention Rates

Baseline (Fall 2009 to Fall 2011) Fall 2010 to Fall 2012 Fall 2011 to Fall 2013 Fall 2012 to Fall 2014 Fall 2013 to Fall 2015 Fall 2014 to Fall 2016 Fall 2015 to Fall 2017 Fall 2016 to Fall 2018 Fall 2017 to Fall 2019 Fall 2018 to Fall 2020
85.0% 85.0% 85.1% 85.8% 85.0% 86.8% 88.9% 87.8% 85.1% 86.9%

Student Graduation Rate

Graduation rates and degrees awarded are also included in the Tennessee Tech Institutional Research website [6]. A six-year graduation rate of 50.0% in Academic Year 2011 was used as baseline and target rate was set as a 5% increase over five years in six-year graduation rate. As indicated in Table 3 below, Tennessee Tech has maintained a very stable six-year graduation rate. The university is continually implementing the actions in Flight Plan to increase the student graduate rate.

Table 3: Six-Year Graduation Rates

Baseline (2010-2011) 2012-2013 2013-2014 2014-2015 2015-2016 2016-2017 2017-2018 2018-2019 2019-2020
50.0 % 50.6% 49.4% 52.8% 51.1% 49.4% 55.1% 54.4% 57.0%

Degrees awarded

The number of undergraduate degrees awarded* at Tennessee Tech has continued to increase each year, from 1,626 in 2010-11 to 1,990 in 2019-20. The total degrees awarded have also increased, from 2,291 in 2010-11 to 2,460 in 2019-20. The information of degrees conferred at Tennessee Tech during last decade is available in the Institutional Research web site [7]. Information about the number of degrees conferred, levels of degrees, and the gender and ethnicity of degree recipients also is available in the IR web site. A comparison of the number of undergraduate degrees awarded (for first major program of study) in the past three years shows an increase from the baseline set in 2010-11 (see Table 4 below).

Table 4: Comparison of Undergraduate Degrees Awarded with Baseline*

Baseline (2010-2011) 2012-2013 2013-2014 2014-2015 2015-2016 2016-2017 2017-2018 2018-2019 2019-2020
1,626 1,840 1,804 1,857 1,929 2,112 2,173 1,966 1,990
--- +13.2% +10.9% +14.2% +18.6% +29.8% +33.6% +21.0%  +22.3%

*Degrees awarded for first major program of study only; second bachelor's degrees during that year not included.

Senior Exit Exam

All graduating seniors are required to take the Senior Exit Exam during their senior year. The California Critical Thinking Skills Test (CCTST) is currently used as our senior exit exam. The exam is also a required component of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) Performance Funding Program. The measurable goal for this facet of student achievement is that the Tennessee Tech average graduating senior score will be equal to, or greater than, the national average score. As shown on Table 5, Tennessee Tech graduating seniors have consistently achieved an average score higher than the national average on the CCTST in the past five years, and we have met this objective. The summary of Tennessee Tech graduates’ CCTST exam results in past five years is also attached in Evidentiary Documents [8] .

Table 5: Tennessee Tech Average CCTST Score Compared to the National Average

  2012-2013
N=1550
2013-2014
N=1410
2014-2015
N=1412
2015-2016
N=1485
2016-2017
N=1904
2017-2018
N=1528
2018-2019 
N=1552
2019-2020 
N=1452
TTU Average 17.6 17.7 17.3 16.9 17.1 17.2 16.8 16.2
CCTST National Average ≈16.8 ≈17.1 ≈17.1 ≈16.2 ≈16.2  ≈16.2 ≈15.4 ≈15.4

Performance on Licensing Exams

Performance on professional licensure exams is a key indicator of the effectiveness of academic programs. Tennessee Tech submits an annual Performance Funding report on licensure exam results in three professional programs to the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) and Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR). The benchmark for the licensure exams is that the institution’s pass rate is not less than the statewide pass rate or national average pass rate. These exams are also used in academic programs as direct measures of successful student learning outcomes.

Education

Teacher candidates in all licensure programs must complete a series of exams that evaluate professional knowledge and content. Praxis exams are both a Tennessee state licensure requirement and a Tennessee Tech program requirement. For admission to the Tennessee Tech Teacher Education Program, candidates who score below a 21 on the ACT must pass the Praxis Core Academic Skills exam, with subtests in reading, writing, and math. After candidates are admitted to the Program, they are required to attempt and pass a series of two to four Praxis II exams, depending on the licensure area. In 2011-2012, 435 teacher candidates attempted the exam, with 427 passing for a 98% pass rate (compared to 99% state average pass rate). In 2016-2017, 230 candidates attempted the exam, with a 95.6% average pass rate.
Tables 6-10 present the Tennessee Tech PRAXIS II Exam pass rates and comparison to the statewide pass rates.

Table 6: PRAXIS II Exam - Child & Family Studies

Year 2012-2013 2013-2014 2014-2015 2015-2016* 2016-2017* 2017-2018* 2018-2019** 2019-2020
No. of Tested 29 30 20 13 16 20 11 9
No. of Passed 29 30 19 13 15 20 11 9
TTU Pass Rate 100% 100% 95% 100% 94% 100% 100% 100%
Statewide Pass Rate 100% 100% 99% 100% 100% 99% 100% 96%

*Name of Exam Changed to Early Childhood Education in 2015-16

**2018-2019 test is based on edTPA EPP Performance Summary

Table 7. PRAXIS II Exam - Special Education

Year 2012-2013 2013-2014 2014-2015 2015-2016 2016-2017 2017-2018 2018-2019* 2019-2020
No. of Tested 8 16 17 11 4 3 10 11
No. of Passed 8 16 17 11 4 3 9 11
TTU Pass Rate 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 90% 100%
Statewide Pass Rate 99.0% 100% 100% 100% 98% 98% 90% 96%

*2018-2019 test is based on edTPA EPP Performance Summary

Table 8. PRAXIS II Exam - Secondary Education

Year 2012-2013 2013-2014 2014-2015 2015-2016 2016-2017 2017-2018 2018-2019* 2019-2020
No. of Tested 103 89 48 37 46 60 32 19
No. of Passed 101 89 47 37 45 59 32 19
TTU Pass Rate 98% 100% 98% 100% 98% 98.3% 100% 100%
Statewide Pass Rate 99% 86.6% 99% 99% 100% 99% 100% 96%

*2018-2019 test is based on edTPA EPP Performance Summary

Table 9. PRAXIS II Exam - Multidisciplinary Studies*

Year 2012-2013 2013-2014 2014-2015 2015-2016 2016-2017 2017-2018 2018-2019** 2019-2020
No. of Tested 280 278 237 210 156 148 157 144
No. of Passed 280 278 234 208 148 148 156 144
TTU Pass Rate 100% 100% 98% 99% 95% 100% 99% 100%
Statewide Pass Rate 100% 100% 100% 99% 100% 99% 100% 96%

*Includes Multidisciplinary Studies and Elementary Education

**2018-2019 test is based on edTPA EPP Performance Summary

Table 10. PRAXIS II Exam - Exercise Science, Physical Education & Wellness

Year 2012-2013 2013-2014 2014-2015 2015-2016 2016-2017 2017-2018 2018-2019* 2019-2020
No. of Tested 26 23 14 6 8 6 9 10
No. of Passed 25 23 13 6 8 6 9 9
TTU Pass Rate 96% 100% 93% 100% 100% 100% 100% 90%
Statewide Pass Rate 98% 100% 94% 95% 97% 95% 100% 90%

*2018-2019 test is based on edTPA EPP Performance Summary

Engineering

In the College of Engineering, graduates in Civil Engineering program are required to take NCEES Fundamental Engineering Exam before their graduation. The benchmark is to surpass the national pass rate. Graduates in other engineering majors are encouraged to take the FE exam. Table 11 shows the Civil Engineering FE exam results and comparison with the national pass rate. The graduates scored higher than the benchmark from 2010 to 2014.

Table 11. NCEES Fundamental Engineering Exam (FE) – Civil Engineering

Year 2012-2013 2013-2014 2014-2015 2015-2016 2016-2017 2017-2018 2018-2019 2019-2020
No. of Tested 50 51 37 40 66 48 55 46
No. of Passed 41 41 25 25 23 31 35 31
TTU CEE Pass Rate 82% 78% 68% 63% 35% 64.6% 63.6% 67%
National CEE Pass Rate 74% 74% 70% 69% 69% 68.5% 64.0% 68%

Nursing

Graduates from the baccalaureate degree in nursing program are eligible to apply for licensure as a Registered Nurse (RN) through the state board of nursing. Graduates must sit for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed as an RN. In the state of Tennessee, nursing programs must maintain annual pass rates on the NCLEX-RN above 85%. The Whitson-Hester School of Nursing sets two annual benchmarks: a pass rate above 90% and consistent scoring above the national average for first attempt on the exam. Performance on the NCLEX-RN continues to be strong with an annual average pass rate of 96% for the past four years and an average of 97% for the past three graduating classes. The program consistently exceeds both state and national benchmarks on the NCLEX-RN. Table 12 shows the Tennessee Tech Nursing graduates NCLEX-RN pass rates and comparison to the national average in the past seven years. The 2006-2013 Tennessee Tech nursing graduates NCLEX-RN results and comparison with national norm is also attached.

Table 12. Nursing NCLEX-RN Exam

Year 2012-2013 2013-2014 2014-2015 2015-2016 2016-2017 2017-2018 2018-2019 2019-2020
No. of Tested 73 93 87 57 108 108 115 126
No. of Passed 73 90 83 56 103 103 114 121
TTU WH-SON BSN Graduates Pass Rate 100% 96.8% 95.4% 98.2% 95.4% 95.4% 99.1% 96%
National Average Pass Rate (First Attempt, U.S. Educated, BSN) 90.3% 86.6% 87.4% 84.5% 84.6% 87.1% 99.0% 88%

Major Field Assessment

Graduating seniors at Tennessee Tech take Major Field Exams in their disciplines if licensure exams are not required. The benchmark for major field exams is that the institutional average score from Tennessee Tech graduates exceeds the national average. As scheduled in 2015-2020 THEC Performance Funding plan, each program has to report its major field exam once during the 5-year cycle to THEC as part of the performance funding requirements. The results of major field exams in 17 programs reported to THEC are shown in Table 13. Of the 17 programs, nine programs achieved the scores at or exceeding the respective national average (% Inst. to Comp. Score >100%) and seven of the other eight programs achieved the scores higher than 93% of the respective national average (% Inst. to Comp. Score >93%). [9].

Table 13. Program Major Field Tests

Academic Program Degree Test Year Test Code No. of Tested TTU Inst. Score Comp. Score % Inst. to Comp. Score
Wildlife & Fisheries Science BS 2015-16 ACAT 38 488.2 500.0 98%
Biology BS 2015-16 ACAT 70 462.6 500.0 93%
Mathematics BS 2015-16 ETS 11 173.0 156.3 100%
Chemistry BS 2015-16 ETS 29 150.2 148.2 100%
Communication BS 2016-17 ACAT 42 562.2 500.0 112%
Computer Science BS 2016-17 ETS 31 158.4 147.4 107%
Engineering Technology BSET 2016-17 ATMAE 47 106.2 99 100%
History BA, BS 2016-17 ACAT 16 496 500 99%
Business Management BSBA 2017-18 ETS 120 148.2 149.5 99%
Accounting BSBA 2017-18 ETS 59 152.9 149.5 100%
Finance BSBA 2017-18 ETS 38 150.0 149.5 100%
Marketing BSBA 2017-18 ETS 43 146.1 149.5 98%
Agriculture BSAG 2018-19 ACAT  70  493.8  500.0 99%
English BA 2018-19 ETS  15 147.4  152.0  97% 
Psychology BS 2018-19 ETS  34 152.4   155.0 98%
Sociology BS 2018-19 ETS 58   145.0 148.0  98% 
Human Ecology BSHE 2019-20 Local  36 67.8  62.6  100% 
Geosciences BS 2019-20 ACAT  8  463.6 500  93%
Political Science BS 2019-20 ETS  22 146.3  150.9  97% 

Job Placement Rate – “First Destination” after Graduation

The Office of Career Services is responsible for collecting and reporting first destination information for the university. The national trend across university career services organizations is to move away from the term “job placement” and use the term “first destination” when reporting where graduates go after they leave the university. First destination includes attending graduate school, enrolling in the military, starting a business, and choosing other after-graduation destinations that may not include a full-time position in a career field. For the purposes of this report, the term “first destination” will be used to describe this collection and reporting process.

A challenge faced by career service organizations across the U.S. is a lack of response from graduating students. Tennessee Tech Career Services faces the same challenge in the data collection process. The methodology employed by Tennessee Tech Career Services to capture first destination data is multi-fold as students do not automatically provide information on their after-graduation career plans. Moving from a paper and pencil data collection method in 2011, data collection methods currently implemented by Tennessee Tech Career Services include the following:

  1. An email survey of graduating seniors who are registered with Career Services and using the on-line job search database
  2. An online survey embedded on the Career Services website
  3. An email survey of all graduating students
  4. Surveys of graduating seniors in classroom presentations
  5. A face-to-face survey at the Senior Salute pre-graduation cap and gown event
  6. A follow-up email campaign to all Senior Salute respondents who did not have first destination plans at the time of the event

In a recent effort to improve response rates, a survey was emailed to employers who recruit our students asking them to provide us with the names of any Tennessee Tech students they have just hired. Additionally, our TechWorks career management software, which was launched Fall 2014, allows students and employers to self-report hiring status. First destination response rates from 2012 through 2017 are shown in Table 14.

Table 14. Tennessee Tech First Destination Response Rates

Academic Year First Destination Response Rate*
2017-2018 86.0%
2016-2017 98.0%
2015-2016 99.0%
2014-2015 92.0%
2013-2014 98.5%
2012-2013 85.5%

* First Destination Response Rates from 2012 – 2013 are taken from a representative sample of graduating students. Response Rates from 2014 – 2017 represent data reported by all graduating students

In Spring 2018, 86% of Tennessee Tech graduates provided first destination responses. The destination results from the respondents are shown in Table 15. The results were also included in the 2017-2018 Career Services Annual report [10] Follow-up split surveys were then developed to target respondents still in need of job search assistance. These surveys will be deployed within 90 days, 6 months, and 12 months after graduation. All surveys include the exact verbiage used by U.S. News and World Report to collect student data.

Table 15. Tennessee Tech First Destination Results

Destination Percentage
Plan to Attend Graduate School 17.5%
Employed Full-time including Joining Military 37.5%
Still Seeking Employment In My Career Field 40.0%
Other 5.0%

Employer Satisfaction Survey

The Office of University Assessment surveys employers every four to five years regarding the preparedness of Tennessee Tech graduates. The most recent employer survey was conducted in Spring 2013 and was administered to a database of employers registered with Tennessee Tech Career Services. The survey solicited the employers’ opinions of Tennessee Tech graduates’ competence in a number of specific performance areas such as teamwork, life-long learning, critical thinking, problem solving, oral and written communication, ethical awareness and behavior, etc. The survey also asks general questions concerning a graduate's overall performance on "Work Ethic" and "Meeting Job Expectations.” A total of 119 employers responded and completed the surveys. The survey results show that most employers (78% to 93%) rated Tennessee Tech graduates as "Good" or "Excellent" in the surveyed skills. Ninety-two percent (92%) of employers responded that Tennessee Tech graduates possess good to excellent overall performance on work ethic and meeting job expectation. The majority of employers (84%) indicated that Tennessee Tech graduates have good or excellent preparation for the workforce. All of the employers responding to the survey answered “Yes” to the question "Will you hire a Tennessee Tech graduate again?". 

Alumni Satisfaction Survey

The Office of University Assessment administers alumni surveys periodically. Baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral alumni are surveyed to report on various experiences, including satisfaction with their degree program, perceptions of Tennessee Tech University, their graduate/professional education, employment, professional activities, alumni services, and overall satisfaction with Tennessee Tech University. Data from the 2017 implementation of the Alumni Attitude Study© show that 70% of respondents (n=2806) rate their attendance at Tennessee Tech as a “Great Decision”, and 60% promote Tennessee Tech to others “Regularly” or “All the Time”. Most notable is the percent of Alumni that responded “Good or Excellent” where Tennessee Tech had prepared them for their: Current Work Status (85%), Further Graduate Education (85%), a Commitment to Continuous Education (84%), Response to New Career Opportunities (81%), Contributions to Community (81%), Understanding and Commitment to Personal Development (84%), and Getting a Job or in to Graduate Program wanted after graduation (79%). Alumni also responded about the contributions that Tennessee Tech had on communication and thinking skills. Tennessee Tech reportedly “Significantly Contributed” to the acquisition of skills in Critical Thinking (60%), Ethical Reasoning and Action (46%), Effective Writing (48%0, Effective Oral Communication (47%), Quantitative Reasoning (56%), Problem Solving (65%), and Creative and Innovative Thinking (49%). 

Summary

The University, the Colleges, and the various academic units continue to assess student achievement. The thresholds adopted by the institution and academic programs, either internal benchmarks or national norms, are appropriate to demonstrate student achievement. Assessment data findings have been used in developing and planning new initiatives and priority actions to support and improve student achievement. Numerous committees, including strategic planning committees, are striving to achieve higher levels of accomplishments and to determine areas of weakness that need to be improved. The goal of the university is to achieve the University Vision "Tennessee Tech will achieve national prominence and impact through its engaged students, dedicated faculty, and career-ready graduates known for their creativity, tenacity, and analytical approach to problem solving."