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Glossary of Terms

ACCJC — Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges

Completion Rate (Course-level) — The measure of students earning a grade of C or better in a course.

Success Rate (Course-level) or Successful Course Completion — See Completion Rate (Course-level)

Enrollment — A student enrolled in a class is counted once. Enrollment for a department, division and college is ‘duplicated’ in the sense that all class enrollments are counted, including students taking multiple courses.

FTEF — Full-time Equivalent Faculty 1FTEF = 1 instructor teaching 15 equated hours per week for 1 semester.

FTES — Major student workload measure. It is the equivalent of 525 hours of student instruction per FTES, or one student enrolled in courses for 3 hours a day, 5 days a week, for an academic year of 35 weeks.

Headcount — Unduplicated count of students. Students are counted once per academic year. If the headcount is by term, the student is counted once per term.

Learning Outcomes — The skills and/or knowledge that a student can expect to have upon completion of a specific education task (course, program, degree, etc.)

Productivity — FTES/FTEF. A measure of the productivity of a class or group of classes. Number of full time students per full time faculty member.

Program Review — Comprehensive reporting documents completed every three years, containing progress on goals, assessment results, and program changes and improvements, as well as requests for new resources.

Retention (Course-level) — The measure of students retained in a class, or earning a grade other than W.

Retention (Institution-level) — A measure tracking students who enroll in consecutive terms at the college. Sometimes this term is interchanged with persistence. Can be tracked Fall to Spring, or Fall to Fall.

Basic Skills — The Basic Skills as a Foundation for Success in the California Community Colleges, known as the "Poppy Copy" defines basic skills as "the foundation skills in reading, writing, mathematics and English as a Second Language, as well as learning skills and study skills which are necessary for students to succeed in college-level work. Courses designed to develop these skills are generally classified as pre-collegiate, basic skills, or both, and may be either credit or non-credit." (RP Group, 2007). Basic skills courses cannot transfer and do not count towards units for a degree. If a course is degree applicable it cannot be basic skills per Title 5.

LHE — Lecture Hour Equivalent (LHE). It is the first step in computing faculty load. It Standardizes the number of lecture and lab hours taught by a faculty. 1 hour of lecture per week = 1 LHE; 1 hour of lab per week = 0.75 LHE.

Persistence — Persistence measures the rate of students who stay in college from term to term. Persistence can be measured from fall term to fall term (across two academic years), or fall term to spring term (within an academic year). For the calculation, the first term includes students enrolled in any course at census, regardless of the final grade received in that course. The next term count includes those same students enrolled in any course at census, regardless of the grade received. The persistence rate is the percent of students enrolled in the next term out of students enrolled in first term. For example, if 100 students are enrolled in a fall term, and 75 of those students subsequently enroll in the following spring term, the fall-to-spring persistence rate is 75%. If 60 of those students enroll in the subsequent fall term, the fall-to-fall persistence is 60%. [Definition established by the RP Group, to facilitate ongoing data analysis and comparison to other California community colleges.

Qualitative Research — Qualitative research involves an in-depth understanding of human behavior and the reasons that govern human behavior. Unlike quantitative research, qualitative research relies on reasons behind various aspects of behavior. Simply put, it investigates the why and how of decision making, as compared to what, where, and when of quantitative research. Hence, the need is for smaller but focused samples rather than large random samples, which qualitative research categorizes data into patterns as the primary basis for organizing and reporting results. Unlike quantitative research, which relies exclusively on the analysis of numerical or quantifiable data, data for qualitative research comes in many mediums such as focus groups, in-depth interviews, uninterrupted observation, bulletin boards, and ethnographic participation/observation.

Quantitative Research — Quantitative research refers to the systematic empirical investigation of social phenomena via statistical, mathematical or computational techniques.The objective of quantitative research is to develop and employ mathematical models, theories and/or hypotheses pertaining to phenomena. The process of measurement is central to quantitative research because it provides the fundamental connection between empirical observation and mathematical expression of quantitative relationships. It is conclusive in its purpose as it tries to quantify the problem and understand how prevalent it is by looking for projectable results to a larger population in order to determine whether the predictive generalizations of the theory hold true. Data is collected through a variety of ways such as surveys (online, phone, paper), audits, points of purchase (purchase transactions), and click-streams.

Throughput Rate (Course Level) — The percentage of students that complete a gateway course (eg, transfer-level math) in a given time period (eg, 1-year from first enrollment or 1-year from first attempt).

Disproportionate Impact — When a subset of students based on student characteristics (eg, age, race, or gender) are unjustifiably experiencing lower outcomes compared to the total student population.