(Updated May 2023)
Table of Contents
Wake Forest University strives to be a dynamic and diverse learning community, valuing knowledge, experience, and service for the benefit of humanity in the liberal arts tradition. It expects to prepare all its undergraduate students, who must meet a core liberal arts curriculum requirement, a major requirement, and a 120 credit hour requirement to graduate, to be active and informed members of the world in which they live. In line with these aims, the institution assesses student achievement using a variety of measures, including first-year retention rates, 6-year graduation rates, study abroad participation rates, and post-graduation destinations. In the tables that follow, all Wake Forest undergraduate students are considered, including those who complete degrees in the College of Arts and Sciences and those who matriculate to the School of Business after fulfilling core requirements in the College. Additional School of Business metrics are provided below.
First-Year Retention Rate
Because the retention rate measures how many first-year students will return for their second year of school, it provides the College with a valuable tool to determine whether the institution is living up to the expectations for student success we set when recruiting students. The first-year retention rate is a well-respected, national best practice gauge of student success. This means not only can we assess internally across student diversity and across time how we are measuring up; we can also track our first-year retention rate against peer and aspirational schools as well. The first year retention rate in the College has consistently been at or above 94% for the most recent cohorts of entering students (2015-2021). The institution aims to maintain a minimum first-year retention rate of 94%, which falls within the range of reported data on first-year retention rates from a select group of IPEDS comparative peer institutions. The institutional goal is to exceed our peer average by reaching 97%.
Table 1. First Year Retention Rate*
|Wake Forest College||95%||95%||95%||94%||94%|
*Three-year entering cohort averages; NA, not available as of April 2023.
6-year Graduation Rates
Even more than the 4-year graduation rate, which offers insight into how many students are finishing their degrees in a timely manner, the 6-year graduation rate measures institutional commitment to ensuring our students complete their education at Wake Forest despite challenges along the way. In addition, the 6-year graduation rate is a nationally recognized metric that helps identify those schools most committed to ensuring the academic success of their student body. It is widely understood that student persistence toward completion of their educational goals is a key gauge of student academic success, and therefore of institutional success as a whole. The 6-year graduation rate for undergraduate students has topped 88% among the most recent cohorts (students entering between 2010-2016). Wake Forest sets a minimum 6-year graduation rate threshold of 87% which falls within the range of reported data on 6-year graduation rates from a select group of IPEDS comparative peer institutions. The peer average of 92% is set as an aspirational goal for 6-year graduation rates.
Table 2. 6-Year Graduation Rate, with Peer Averages*
|Wake Forest College||88%||88%||89%||89%||90%|
*Three-year entering cohort averages for all tables; NA, not available as of April 2023
Participation in Study Abroad Experience
Study abroad encompasses a constellation of documented high-impact education practices that form the basis of a liberal arts education as valued at Wake Forest. As broadly conceived and carried out, this particular aspect of global learning connects diverse disciplines, cultures, languages, objectives, and pedagogies. By tracking study abroad participation rates, we can evaluate and assess our students’ opportunities for developing the knowledge, skills, and abilities to study, live, and work effectively in cultures other than their own.
Over the last five years, the number of undergraduate students in each graduating class who participated in study abroad has risen, from 56% in the class of 2017 to 63% in the class of 2021. The class of 2022 was particularly impacted by pandemic-related travel restrictions and program cancellations, and is anticipated to be an outlier. In cooperation with the Wake Forest Office of Global Programs and Studies, Wake Forest aims to maintain a minimum of 63% and to reach a goal of 70% participation in study away among each graduating class and expand opportunities for study away for all students.
Table 3. Study Abroad Rate by Year
*Percent of students per graduating class who studied abroad.
Post-Graduation Outcomes 2017-2021 Bachelor’s Degree Recipients*
In the last five years, an average of over 96% of bachelor’s degree students are either employed or attending graduate or professional schools after graduation. These rates meet a minimum expected threshold of 94% and sometimes surpass the goal of 96% in the professional and academic placement of students graduating from the undergraduate programs at Wake Forest.
Table 4. Post-Graduation Outcomes
|Attending graduate or professional school||29.8%||28.5%||30.2%||26.8%||32.6%||25.8%|
|Not seeking employment||0.3%||0.4%||0.4%||0.9%||0.0||.1%|
*Data collected by the Office of Personal & Career Development. Data sources include survey data provided by students, LinkedIn profile information and knowledge shared from academic departments and career coaches.
The Wake Forest School of Business has a performance-based culture. As such, the School identifies expected outcomes for its educational programs, assesses achievement of those outcomes, and is responsive to under-performance against targeted outcomes while simultaneously pursuing continuous improvement in its programs. Relative to student achievement outcomes, the School places primary emphasis upon learning outcomes as it pursues its mission to help businesses create a better world through developing passionate, ethical business leaders who get results with integrity, and thought leadership that is visible and positively impacts the practice of business. It is through a focus on learning outcomes that the School attends to its commitment to produce responsible and impactful members of society. At the same time, the School believes it has an obligation to each of its students to facilitate achievement of first destination outcomes, which translates as corporate employment for the majority of graduates. Finally, the School is committed to achieving on-time graduation across all its programs; given the real and opportunity costs associated with higher education, the School believes it has a moral obligation to shepherd students to the successful completion of degrees in reliably predictable time frames. These, then, are the primary indicators of student achievement within the School of Business: (1) learning outcomes, (2) employment outcomes, and (3) on-time graduation. Each is addressed in turn below.
For each of its business degree programs, the School of Business pursues four broad learning goals, or “pillars,” with a total of ten distinct learning objectives:
- Pillar: Impactful. Our graduates are able to make immediate, meaningful contributions to their organizations through their ability to:
- 1.a) Learning Objective: Think Strategically. Graduates work with large volumes of data, extract the business intelligence from this information, and formulate appropriate business strategies from this intelligence.
- 1.b) Learning Objective: Act Practically. Graduates create and manage the execution of realistic plans with wisdom to achieve strategic, operational, and tactical objectives.
- 1.c) Learning Objective: Communicate Effectively. Listen actively and consider the purpose, audience, desired action, best channel, and appropriate tone for every communication.
- Pillar: Professional. To produce value in the broadest economic, cultural, and professional settings, our graduates:
- 2.a) Learning Objective: Create Value for Others. Graduates understand the nature, function, benefits, limits, and sustainability of market economies, and can create value within them.
- 2.b) Learning Objective: Embrace a Professional Identity. Graduates understand what honorable business is, and embrace an integrated identity as members of the noble profession of business.
- 2.c) Learning Objective: Steward the Profession of Business. Graduates understand and commit to stewardship of the honor, traditions, and productive and innovative culture of their profession, and work to strengthen their community using the skill and expertise of their professional training.
- Pillar: Honorable. To achieve high levels of performance while maintaining the highest standards of individual character, our graduates:
- 3.a) Learning Objective: Lead Ethically. Graduates build and lead teams to achieve results in ways that motivate and value integrity; foster personal, professional, and organizational accountability and responsibility; and provide value to society.
- 3.b) Learning Objective: Exhibit Personal Strengths. Graduates exhibit ethical and psychological strengths necessary to embrace opportunities, overcome challenges, and succeed with integrity.
- Pillar: Global. To effectively lead across cultural and geographical boundaries, our graduates:
- 4.a) Learning Objective: Leverage Diversity. Graduates understand how differences contribute to problem-solving and teamwork, and effectively engage those differences.
- 4.b) Learning Objective: Demonstrate a Global Mindset. Graduates are able to analyze complex global challenges, take responsible action in global contexts, and evaluate the consequences of that action.
The Wake Forest School of Business targets ten overarching learning objectives beyond the customary discipline-specific learning objectives common to most business degree programs. These learning objectives are informed heavily by our understanding of the marketplace for talent and the distinct needs and desires of firms recruiting School of Business students and graduates. Consistent with accreditation requirements, learning outcomes are assessed frequently but not necessarily every year. The performance data provided here are those data that were most recently collected as part of a predetermined assessment strategy for each specific degree program. Representative sampling of student performance against targeted learning outcomes is allowed within the assessment framework. As is common within business higher education, the School defines acceptable learning outcomes performance as 80% of assessed students meeting or exceeding the learning goal, which is ultimately targeted to 100%. Performance levels below 80% trigger immediate attention and reassessment at the earliest opportunity.
Table 1. Learning Objectives
|Steward the Profession|
|Lead Ethically||Exhibit Personal|
|BS in Business||96%|
|99% (2021/22)||99% (2021/22)|
|MS in Management||89% (2021/22)||87% (2021/22)||100% (2021/22)||50% (2021/22)||94% (2021/22)||100% (2021/22)||100% (2021/22)||96% (2021/22)||98% (2021/22)||91% (2021/22)|
|MS in Accountancy||100% (2021/22)||100% (2021/22)||96% (2021/22)||96% (2021/22)||96% (2021/22)||90% (2021/22)||71% (2021/22)||71% (2021/22)||NRP* (2021/22)||NRP*(2021/22)|
|MS in Business Analytics||91% (2021/22)||98% (2021/22)||NRP (2021/22)||89% (2021/22)||85% (2021/22)||94% (2021/22)||96% (2021/22)||NRP* (2021/22)||NRP* (2021/22)||89% (2021/22)|
|Winston Salem MBA||100% (2021/22)||98% (2021/22)||98% (2021/22)||NRP* (2021/22)||NRP* (2021/22)||NRP* (2021/22)||95% (2021/22)||81% (2021/22)||95% (2021/22)||96% (2021/22)|
|Charlotte Evening MBA||88% (2021/22)||93% (2021/22)||93% (2021/22)||NRP* (2021/22)||NRP* (2021/22)||NRP* (2021/22)||100% (2021/22)||89% (2021/22)||90% (2021/22)||91% (2021/22)|
|Charlotte Saturday MBA||100% (2021/22)||100% (2021/22)||100% (2021/22)||86% (2021/22)||93% (2021/22)||86% (2021/22)||100% (2021/22)||100% (2021/22)||100% (2021/22)||100% (2021/22)|
|Online MBA||NRP* (2021/22)||NRP* (2021/22)||95% (2021/22)||85% (2021/22)||89% (2021/22)||74% (2021/22)||NRP* (2021/22)||NRP* (2021/22)||91% (2021/22)||96% (2021/22)|
|Online MS in Business Analytics||97% (2021/22)||100% (2021/22)||97% (2021/22)||97% (2021/22)||100% (2021/22)||100% (2021/22)||100% (2021/22)||100% (2021/22)||NRP* (2021/22)||NRP* (2021/22)|
The MS in Accountancy degree program earns accreditation from the business accreditor AACSB (www.aacsb.edu) separate from the other degree offerings in the School of Business. Traditionally the MS in Accountancy program has used a unique set of targeted learning outcomes. As previously noted, the School defines acceptable learning outcomes performance as 80% of assessed students meeting or exceeding the learning goal. Performance levels below 80% trigger immediate attention and reassessment at the earliest opportunity.
* Summary percentages are calculated by averaging all assessments conducted for an objective within an academic year for a program (i.e., sum of all “meets expectations” for “Think Strategically” divided by the total number of students assessed for “Think Strategically”). NRP could mean that assessment data has not been entered by the faculty or that there was no assessment for that objective during the selected academic year.
The School of Business is deeply committed to our students’ first destination outcomes. Our Market Readiness & Employment (MRE) team is comprised of 20+ staff members who are dedicated to supporting students across all programs. The MRE team’s primary focus is to maximize student career preparation (based on our READY7 model) and to facilitate employer connections across a wide-range of industries and functions.
Our goal across all programs is to achieve 100% employment by 3-months post graduation. This goal is aligned with our team’s annual performance review scorecard. We track and report first destination outcomes at three time intervals – at graduation, three months, and six months post graduation (see Student Achievement Data). In addition, strong employment outcomes significantly impact overall program rankings which is a broader goal for the School of Business.
Note that employment outcomes for the working professional MBA students are 100% as these students are employed throughout their degree program experience.
Supporting students in pursuit of on-time graduation represents another serious commitment the School of Business makes to our community members. Such degree attainment is a fundamental outcome that enrolled students desire and seek by engaging in their classes and activities. Close counseling and tracking of all students across all degree programs contribute to strong on-time graduation performance (see Student Achievement Data). The pace and rate of success for student degree completion can be assessed in a variety of ways, but for consistency across our degree programs, and in support of high standards for student success, we have defined on-time graduation rates for this purpose as the rate at which students graduated with their matriculation cohort at the expected graduation date as outlined by their standard degree program curriculum. In light of our dual commitment to efficient degree progress as well as flexibility based on personal and career needs, we typically seek to meet or exceed a rate of 85% with a goal of 100%. (See College narrative for information on undergraduate degree goal and threshold metrics.) Graduation rate data are reviewed annually, with any anomalies triggering analyses and appropriate action. In our online graduate degree programs, noteworthy for their flexible design and working professional student populations, we recognize that authoritative standardized national data on comparable online program completion rates is still emerging, but we currently seek to meet or exceed an on-time rate of 60%, with an ultimate goal of 100%, and review outcomes each term for appropriate analysis and action.
Wake Forest University School of Divinity is a graduate, professional school that is Christian by tradition, Baptist in heritage, and ecumenical in outlook. Consistent with Wake Forest’s commitment to academic excellence and in the spirit of the University motto, Pro Humanitate, the School of Divinity prepares leaders informed by a theological understanding of vocation. Through imaginative courses and diverse programs of community engagement, students are equipped to be agents of justice, reconciliation, and compassion in Christian churches and other ministries.
Goals for the Master of Divinity and Joint Degrees (J.D./M.Div, M.Div./M.A. in Bioethics, M.Div./M.A. in Counseling, M.Div./M.A. in Education, M.Div./M.A. in Sustainability):
The faculty of the School determines, assesses, and, where appropriate, revises the degree program’s curricular goals. Students who graduate with the Master of Divinity degree or with any of the School’s joint degrees shall demonstrate a broad variety of competencies for religious leadership that promotes justice, reconciliation, and compassion, including:
- Academic integration of Christian traditions, theologies, scriptures, and practices;
- Sustained vocational reflection and spiritual formation that inform ministry in pluralistic contexts;
- Innovative application and embodiment of a range ministerial practices for a continually transforming religious world;
- Theologically informed analysis of social, cultural, political, and ecological systems within a variety of particular settings.
The Divinity School uses a variety of measures to document student success. Some of those measures are related to accrediting standards established by The Association of Theological Schools in the U.S. and Canada (ATS) and related annual reports. The ATS Standards of Accreditation also require that institutions identify, assess, and publish goals and outcomes for student achievement (General Institutional Standards 3.1 and 6.5 and Educational Standard 6).
The School submits to ATS and subsequently receives graduation and placement data through an annual Strategic Information Report (SIR) compiled and shared by ATS with member schools. The information compiled in the SIR is based on data reported by each school through the ATS Annual Report process. The SIR details graduation and placement rates for the previous 10 years.
Also, graduating students complete a Graduating Student Questionnaire (GSQ) each year provided by and managed through ATS. Data from this questionnaire provides useful information regarding student satisfaction and achievement. Data received through the GSQ, coupled with ATS SIR data, support School of Divinity faculty and administrative leaders as they assess the effectiveness of the school’s Master of Divinity degree program in meeting the aims outlined in the mission statement and curricular goals.
As a measure of program success, the Divinity School tracks graduation rates. The Divinity School’s graduation rate threshold is 75%. This threshold is based on the percentage of students who complete the Master of Divinity degree within six years, a standard established by ATS as an appropriate measure across ATS member schools. The Divinity School aims to meet or exceed the graduation rates of all ATS member schools (Mainline, Evangelical, and Roman Catholic) because the School of Divinity is an ecumenical institution that enrolls students from diverse denominations and traditions. The Divinity School aims for a consistent (three year average) goal of 85% of students graduated within three years (six semester and two summer session) of matriculation. This goal accords with the Divinity School’s related aim of reducing student debt. According to the 2022-2023 ATS SIR, since 2016, the Divinity School has graduated between 75% -100% of its students within six years of their initial enrollment. The ATS SIR provides data that compares the overall graduation rates for 2022 of all ATS schools as well as ecclesial families.
Table 1. Graduation Rates
|Graduation Rates by Degree and Ecclesial Family: 2020||WFU School of Divinity||All ATS Schools||Evangelical Schools||Mainline Schools||Roman Catholic/Orthodox Schools|
|Master of Divinity||85%||61%||53%||72%||61%|
As the above table demonstrates, Wake Forest School of Divinity’s 2022 graduation rate for students who completed the degree in less than six years was 85%. According to the 2021-2022 SIR Report, 2021 rate was 79%; 2020-2021 SIR Report, 2020 rate was 83% and the 2019 rate was 86%. As noted in the chart, the 2022 the 2020 graduation rate compares favorably with and exceeds those of other ATS member schools.
A majority of Wake Forest students complete the Master of Divinity degree within three to four years (or six to eight semesters). This has been consistent over the last 10 years as reported in the 2022-2023 SIR. The Divinity School supports students to complete their degrees within this general time frame (three to four years) by encouraging full-time enrollment status and designing the degree program so that most students can graduate within that time frame by completing on average 12-14 credit hours per semester toward the degree total of 78 credit hours. Financial aid plans are designed to support students through six semesters of enrollment.
Each year, a small percentage of students (10-15%) are accepted into one of the School’s dual degree programs, with the result that they will graduate from both programs in a total of about four or five years. A few MDiv students withdraw or take a leave of absence for personal reasons each year, or they transfer to another theological school. Very few MDiv students become academically ineligible (fewer than 5% per year). Given these factors, we set as a threshold that at least 75% of our entering MDiv students complete their degree within three years of matriculating. As stated above, our goal is that at least 85% of our entering MDiv students complete their degree within three years of matriculating.
Placement rates indicate student achievement by signaling that student qualifications, skills, and credentials are recognized by varied employment contexts. The Divinity School’s placement threshold is for 75% of our MDiv graduates to be employed within 10 months after graduation in vocational or non-vocational settings or to be enrolled in further study. This threshold recognizes that some students will take on short-term positions or positions not specifically related to the MDiv degree. In rare instances, graduates may also choose not to seek employment. The Divinity School’s placement goal is for 85% of graduates to be employed within 10 months after graduation. In 2019, the Divinity School’s Professional Development Office developed a series of “strategic plan” documents and related “vocational checklists” to assist advisers in mentoring and coaching students who seek various kinds of employment post-MDiv.
The Divinity School has achieved on average a 91% positive placement rate for the years 2020, 2021, and 2022. ATS categorizes placement as “vocational placements” (ie. congregational ministry, chaplaincy, and other traditional ministry leadership settings), “non-vocational placements” (ie. public school employment, non-profit leadership, employment in public service), and “went on for further study.” The Divinity School’s overall placement rate for 2022 was 95%. This rate compares favorably to all ATS schools (91%), Evangelical Schools (90%), Mainline Schools (89%) and Roman Catholic/Orthodox Schools (94%).
Table 2. WFU Divinity School’s Percent of Positive Placements Total
Graduating Student Questionnaire
Demographic and program satisfaction data for each graduating class is collected each academic year through the Graduating Student Questionnaire (GSQ). The GSQ is administered through ATS. The GSQ provides information about student satisfaction with the degree program, debt load upon graduation, and job placement. The GSQ is self-reported by graduating students using a survey asking students to rate their satisfaction on a 1 – 5 scale where five indicates the program was “very effective” at a particular learning outcome or other goal. Coupled with placement data (above), the GSQ provides the Divinity School with a useful picture of program effectiveness and student achievement. The Divinity School had 85% participation rates for the years 2021-22; 81% participation rate for the year 2020-21; 97% for the year 2019-2020. The GSQ measures educational growth in terms of student-perceived personal growth and skills effectiveness.
The MDiv program is designed to equip graduates to be effective religious leaders and to cultivate personal professional growth. The Divinity School expects that students will experience the MDiv curriculum as “moderately” to “very effective” in equipping them to lead in diverse ministry settings so the GSQ threshold is set at the middle of the self-reported scale. This threshold is based on the diverse vocational goals students bring into the program and the breadth of course offerings available to students. Overall the Divinity School has met this GSQ threshold in all of the areas assessed (see table 3). The School’s GSQ goal is to rate in the top third of the self-reported scale in each of the areas surveyed. To advance toward this goal, and in cases where the School does not meet the GSQ threshold, faculty explore curricular adjustments to improve effectiveness. Examples include offering additional courses in particular curricular areas where the average scores are lower than the threshold.
Table 3. Measure of Educational Effectiveness and Personal Growth
Arts and Sciences — Reynolda Campus
The Graduate programs in the Arts & Sciences identify, evaluate, and publish goals and outcomes for student achievement. The Graduate School uses multiple measures to document student success. While individual programs may have various and disparate goals for student success, the Graduate School (Arts & Sciences) considers the following 3 basic measures of student success across all programs.
The Graduate School (Arts & Sciences) sets a goal that its graduating students will exceed the Student Learning Objectives (SLOs) established by each individual program.
The mission of the WFU Graduate School of Arts and Sciences is to train and mentor future leaders in research, teaching and innovation for serving humanity. To meet this lofty goal, the student must first succeed in the training ground of the specific graduate program. These programs can be quite disparate at Wake Forest (spanning filmmaking, religion, and physics). Therefore, we use each program’s student learning objectives (SLOs) as a means for comparing student performance across programs, and hence the overall performance of the program and Graduate School. Each of the graduate programs (column 1) listed in the table below sets at least 3 learning objectives (column 2) for its graduating students. At the time of graduation, each individual is rated by the mentor and/or director of the graduate program across those objectives as follows: 1-does not meet expectations; 2-meets expectations; 3-exceeds expectations. The goal for each program, therefore, is an average of 2.00 or better in columns 4 and 6.
Table 1. Performance on Student Learning Outcomes
|Program||Number of Learning Objectives||Total 2021 Graduates||2021 Average SLO Score||Total 2022 Graduates||2022 Average SLO Score|
|Health and Exercise Science||4||9||2.64||8||2.23|
|Interpreting and Translation Studies||3||6||2.74||9||2.62|
|Liberal Arts Studies||4||9||2.28||8||2.73|
|Mathematics and Statistics||5||12||2.48||11||2.40|
|Graduate School (Arts & Sciences) Total||71||188||2.66||246||2.63|
Obviously, all programs met this goal in Academic Years 2021 and 2022. For example, Bioethics had 4 graduating students in 2021. They were each scored on 4 learning objectives. The average for those 32 scores was 2.75 (or approximately 75% of the scores were 3, and 25% were 2). Students in Bioethics easily exceeded the 2.0 goal. The performance for all students in the Graduate School is given in the bottom row. The average score for 188 graduating students over 726 scores was 2.66 in 2021. On average half of the scores were 3, and the rest were 2, well above the goal of 2.0. In 2022 the average was even higher: 2.63.
The Graduate School (Arts & Sciences) sets a goal that less than 10% of its graduating students will have undecided career paths upon graduation.
The mission of the WFU Graduate School of Arts and Sciences is to train and mentor future leaders in research, teaching and innovation for serving humanity. As such, we find it imperative that students stay the course once they complete the degree so that they may have a significant future impact in the field. While 0% of students with undecided career paths related to their graduate work is ideal, 25% is the minimum threshold and 10% is a more realistic and attainable goal. Surely some students will change their focus during or after graduate school each year.
Placement of recent graduates from the past six years are tabulated below. As the table demonstrates, fewer than 10% (8.3%) of Wake Forest graduates had unknown career paths upon graduation in 2022.
Table 2. Graduate Placement
|Graduation Year||% Advanced Degree||% Workforce||% Teaching||% Undecided|
The Graduate School (Arts & Sciences) sets a goal that 100% of its master students complete the degree in two years, and 100% of its doctoral students complete the degree in seven years.
The average two-year MA completion rate for graduate schools nationwide is 45% and for the MS is 40% (Completion and Attrition in STEM Master’s Programs, Page 18). While the national completion rate might seem low, students for various reasons might enter a third year in a two year program (simply to complete or defend the thesis in many cases). The data below (taken from Table 17 in each of the archived Annual Reports) indicates that the graduating class of 2022 at Wake Forest had a two-year completion rate of 73% for the MA and 82% for the MS. These rates are significantly better than the nationwide average.
The 10-year PhD completion rate for graduate schools nationwide is 55% (A Data-Driven Approach to Improving Doctoral Completion, Council of Graduate Schools). The table below indicates that the 2022 seven-year completion rate for the PhD at Wake Forest was 71%, which clearly exceeds the national seven-year completion rate for the PhD (which would be less than the reported 10-year rate).
The minimum threshold for both masters and PhD programs are the nationwide averages reported by the Council of Graduate Schools.
Table 3. Degree Completion Rates
|Graduation Year||MA Completion Rate (%)||MS Completion Rate (%)||PhD Completion Rate (%)|
Biomedical Sciences — Bowman Gray Campus
The Biomedical Science programs of the Graduate School evaluate, and refine their success metric goals as a part of their annual reporting process each summer. These metrics and their thresholds will be monitored annually going forward, with the probability that thresholds and goals will be modified during the annual reporting process. In future years, in addition to on-time degree completion, the biomedical graduate programs will report on the additional success metrics in the areas of:
- Satisfactory academic progress
- Career readiness
- Publication productivity
On-time degree completion
Each program has a plan of study that defines the required coursework and, in many cases, the expected time-to-degree. While dissertation and thesis-based programs have some variability in the amount of time that is required to collect an adequate amount of research productivity that may result in a final document, we are able to set an expectation for each biomedical graduate program. Time-to-degree is a key attribute of graduate programs and is considered an indicator of graduate program efficiency. Monitoring on-time completion allows the Biomedical Graduate Program Office to identify and manage issues within our programs.
For doctoral-level programs, our threshold is for 75% of all doctoral students to complete their degree within 5.1 years, with a goal that 85% of doctoral students will complete their degree within 5.1 years. The 75% threshold was selected based on a review of data from Wake Forest University biomedical graduate program graduates from prior years, with a recognition of the probability that the percentage goal will likely increase as graduate programs seek to drive towards the new goal. 5.1 years was selected as the on-time threshold in recognition of our own prior data, and the stated desire by our programs to have a value lower than that reported by the NIH for all doctoral degrees in the biomedical sciences.
For master-level programs, our threshold is for 80% of all master students to complete their degree by the appropriate benchmark based on the student’s plan of study, with a goal that 90% of master students will complete their degree by the appropriate benchmark based on the student’s plan of study. The benchmarks for plan of study are as follows:
- 2.1 years for thesis-based students
- 1.8 years for students on a 5-term plan of study
- 1.5 years for students on a 4-term plan of study
- 1.1 years for students on a 3-term plan of study
Table 1. On Time Graduation Rate
|Class Graduation Year||On Time Graduation Rate- Masters||On Time Graduation Rate- Doctoral|
At the time of the publication of the 21-22 Annual Report for biomedical graduate programs, it was noted that on-time degree completion rates were lower than expected. Internal reviews were held with individual program directors. The 2022 class was clearly impacted by the slowing of research during COVID, and reflected the closure of laboratories for a time while our research mentors explored and implemented strategies to restore labs to a functional state. It is anticipated that these numbers will return to normal as research stoppages related to COVID end.
Table 2. Class of 2021/2022: Average years to Degree Completion by Program
|Addiction Research and Clinical Health||1.30|
|Biomedical Sciences (Pre‐health Pathway)||1.04|
|Biomedical Sciences (Research Pathway)||1.57|
|Clinical and Population Translational Science||1.24|
|Clinical Research Management||1.72|
|Health Disparities in Neuroscience‐related Disorders||–|
|Biochemistry and Molecular Biology||4.90|
|Integrative Physiology and Pharmacology||5.50|
|Microbiology and Immunology||5.00|
|Molecular Genetics and Genomics||–|
|Molecular Medicine and Translational Science||4.56|
Wake Forest Law School has a robust approach to ensuring student achievement and uses multiple measures to confirm that such achievement has been accomplished.
Wake Forest Law Approach to Student Achievement
Student achievement at Wake Forest Law is evaluated and guided by our which is “to advance the cause of justice by creating knowledge and educating students to meet the legal needs of the world with confidence, character, and creativity. We instill in students a respect for the law, a devotion to the ideal of service, and a commitment to professional values. We educate students from around the world in a richly diverse, equitable, and inclusive community.”
All Law School courses go through an approval process that requires a statement of expected student outcomes and description of the assessment mechanisms that monitor progress and achievement of outcomes. In the first year of law school, faculty in each subject use a set of multiple choice questions consistent across sections to monitor achievement in the subject matter area. That data is analyzed to ensure that students are sufficiently meeting the learning outcomes for the course. The first year of law school is universally seen as the critical foundation for upper-division courses. These subject matters are also tested during the Bar exam.
Indicators of Achievement
Wake Forest Law confers four degrees: Juris Doctor (JD), Master of Laws (LLM), Doctor of Judicial Science (SJD), and Master of Studies in Law (MSL). Student achievement in all programs is demonstrated by strong graduation rates. Other indicators of achievement for JD students include bar passage and employment outcomes, https://law.wfu.edu/about/files/aba-bar-passage.pdf. These indicators are not applicable to our LLM, SJD, and MSL programs. Bar passage is not applicable to these non-JD programs because these students are already lawyers or in careers that do not require bar membership. The students in LLM, SJD, and MSL programs typically use their Wake Forest Law degree to improve performance at their existing employment; hence, employment data would not reflect the achievement of students in these non-JD programs. Other indicators of achievement for LLM, SJD, and MSL students include their self-reported gains in legal analysis while attending Wake Forest Law.
Because students who seek non-JD degrees are generally attempting to improve their job mobility, the law school is beginning to collect evidence of career advancement tied to the LLM, SJD, and MSL degrees.This data will serve as another indicator of achievement.
Measures of Academic Success in the Juris Doctor Degree
The overwhelming majority of JD students who matriculate to Wake Forest Law, graduate within three years as indicated in the tables below. Our admissions process ensures that our students exhibit the traits and attributes for success in law school and thus, have our confidence in their ability to graduate. Students who achieve an LSAT score of 150 or below are presumed to be unlikely to succeed in law school. Wake Forest Law does not generally accept these students into the program. The current median LSAT score is 165 and the median GPA is 3.72. Students with lower LSATs but high GPAs (at our median or above) are accepted to the law school if, after evaluating the whole application and reference letters, the student appears able to succeed in law school. Established thresholds and goals for the JD program are included below. All thresholds and goals were set through analysis of historical performance and faculty input. Calculating probable success in law school is part of the admissions evaluation process.
Table 1. JD Graduation Rates Threshold and Goal
The following tables detail the graduation rates of JD students by entering cohort for the last four graduating classes. The tables are broken out into racial and gender demographics, which aligns with our reporting for all accrediting agencies.
Table 2. Juris Doctor Graduation Rates, Graduating Classes 2019 – 2022
|Matriculant Term||# Matriculants||# Graduates||% Graduates|
|Class of 2019||Fall 2016||161||152||94.4%|
|Class of 2020||Fall 2017||151||141||93.4%|
|Class of 2021||Fall 2018||174||166||95.4%|
|Class of 2022||Fall 2019||217||194||89.4%|
These outcomes have met or exceeded our threshold for the last three graduating classes, and in most cases exceed our graduation goals. We continue to monitor our student attrition and identify ways to support students so that we continue to meet our thresholds and achieve our graduation goals.
Student Attrition Through Academic Ineligibility
Very few JD students become academically ineligible. In fact, only two students have become academically ineligible out of all matriculants analyzed in the tables below. Yet each year, some JD students decide to pursue other career opportunities, withdraw or take a leave of absence for personal reasons, or transfer to another law school. The Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, in consultation with the Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs and Registrar’s Office, reviews student retention and performance regularly, supporting students who are identified as at risk. The Law School has adopted the following student retention threshold and goal. The threshold and goal were adopted after analysis of historical performance, peer performance, and faculty input.
Table 3. JD Student Attrition Threshold and Goal
The following tables show performance in student retention which has met the set threshold for all but one year for first-year students (2019), as well as meeting the goal for all but the same year (2019). In 2019, other attrition (e.g., personal/medical withdrawals) was higher than average. The Law School will continue to monitor these outcomes to ensure that students who begin their studies are successful in completing them.
Table 4. Performance in Attrition
In 2018, the ABA began requiring law schools to report bar passage rates based not just on first-time test takers, but also the pass rate over a two-year period, which we use as our threshold measure. To remain an ABA-accredited law school, we must ensure that at least 75% of our JD graduates who take a bar examination pass within two years of their graduation. Our goal for this metric is that 85% or more of JD graduates who take a bar examination pass within two years of their graduation. Wake Forest Law has always significantly exceeded that threshold, which is consistent with our mission to prepare JD graduates to join the practice of law. We also recognize that some JD graduates decide to pursue careers not requiring bar admission.
The ABA requirement, with collection and examination of data after one year, leads the law school to provide high-quality bar exam support for all graduates, not just first-time takers. Furthermore, it ensures that we aim for the vast majority of our graduates to practice law. The bar passage rate for Wake Forest Law JD graduates is consistently strong and above the state and national averages. We pride ourselves on preparing our JD students for success on the bar through our curriculum and bar support programming.
Using that threshold as a comparison, Wake Forest Law’s pass rate was 95% for 2020 graduates, 94% for 2021 graduates, and 90% for 2022 graduates. We continue to monitor how our JD graduates perform the first time they take a bar examination.
With at least a few state Bars, data is available on how students perform in each subject matter area. The law school plans to make more robust use of that data to examine whether the law school should change some of its admissions decisions, track whether failure may be caused by inadequate teaching, and identify areas of law that might require more academic support to help students in that area.
Table 5. Juris Doctor First Time Bar Passage Rates
The ABA also requires Wake Forest Law to disclose standardized and detailed employment statistics. These statistics are another measure of JD student success. ABA standards state that the objective of a law school academic program is to prepare students for the practice of law, although it has not adopted a specific outcome standard for law graduate employment.
We intend for a threshold of 75%, and a goal of 90% or more, of our graduates will be employed within ten months after graduation, while also recognizing that some students will decide to pursue additional education after law school, take on part-time, short-term positions, or employment not requiring a JD, or choose not to seek employment. The employment rate for new JD graduates in full-time, long-term positions, measured at 10 months following graduation, has remained consistent or increased over the past five years. For the Class of 2021, 97% of our JD graduates were employed in full-time, long-term positions requiring bar passage or for which a JD was preferred. This marked an increase over the Class of 2020, which had a 92% employment rate for comparable positions. For the Classes of 2019 and 2018, the relevant employment rates were 90% and 88%, respectively. These outcomes show that the Law School outperformed both our thresholds and goals.
The law school aspires to continue with successful employment outcomes and to reach new markets for our students outside of North Carolina.
Table 6. Employment Summary for 2018-2021 Graduates
Measures of Academic Success in the LLM Program
The Master of Laws (LLM) degree is designed for attorneys who hold a first degree in law from a country outside of the United States. The program can be completed in two to four semesters. Graduation requirements include maintaining a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher, completion of required and elective courses, and the successful submission of writing requirements.
One measure of student success is measured in the overall graduation rate of matriculants from each entering cohort. Few LLM students decide to pursue other career opportunities, withdraw or take a leave of absence for personal reasons, or transfer to another law school. Even fewer LLM students become academically ineligible. Given these factors, we set the threshold and goal for graduation in our LLM program:
Table 7. LLM Graduation Rate Threshold and Goal
The LLM program has met or exceeded the threshold consistently. From the classes that entered the program from 2018 through 2020, 100% of the students have been conferred the LLM degree. The class that entered in 2021 is currently at 83%, however, two of the students who entered with that class extended their program by one semester, and anticipate completion of the degree in May 2023. Upon expected conferral of those degrees, the class entering in 2021 will be at a 94% graduation rate.
Table 8. 2018-2022 Graduation Rates
Another measure for these graduate-level students is their self-reported progress in (1) understanding the fundamental legal concepts and principles; (2) identifying and framing potential legal issues; (3) applying relevant legal issues to new fact patterns; (4) communicating legal analysis in a clear and organized manner; (5) sorting large amounts of information into a useful format; and (6) developing a deep understanding of legal topics or principles.
LLM students are licensed judges, attorneys and working professionals. This program is meant to enhance the knowledge and experience they have already gained through prior education and work and to increase their understanding of American law and how it relates to their home legal systems. As such, we believe that their own evaluation of their understanding from their courses is key in understanding and demonstrating their overall success.
Our threshold for these six indicators is a semester mean of 3.5 and a goal of 4.0 on a self-reported scale of 0 to 5: (0) Not Applicable, (1) No apparent progress/negligible gains, (2) Slight progress/small gains, (3) Moderate progress/some gains, (4) Substantial progress/large gains, and (5) Exceptional progress/outstanding gains. It is the law school’s expectation that students will experience more than moderate progress, therefore we have set the benchmark to be slightly higher than the middle of the self-reported scale.
The following table details an average of these self-reported progress means across all LLM-specific courses in the program for the past three years. In each year of data collection, the mean exceeds the threshold and in most cases exceeds the goal.
Table 9. Master of Laws (LLM) Self-Reported Progress Summary
|Fall 2018 Mean||Fall 2019 Mean||Fall 2020 Mean||Fall 2021 Mean||Fall 2022 Mean|
|Understanding of fundamental legal concepts and principles||4.31||4.04||4.13||4.35||4.58|
|Progress identifying and framing potential legal issues||4.34||4.03||4.25||*||4.17|
|Applying relevant legal issues to new fact patterns||4.26||4.17||4.25||*||4.06|
|Communicating legal analysis in a clear and organized manner||4.32||4.13||4.38||*||4.17|
|Sorting large amounts of information into a useful format||4.30||4.17||4.5||*||4.17|
|Developing a deep understanding of legal topics or principles taught||4.33||4.20||4.5||*||4.22|
*Note: Due to staff turnover, data was not collected during the Fall 2021 term.
Measures of Academic Success in the Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD) Program
The Scientiae Juridicae Doctor (SJD) is designed for attorneys who hold a first degree in law from a country outside of the United States as well as a Master of Laws degree. The program requires coursework as well as an extensive dissertation project completed under the supervision of a tenured faculty advisor with expertise in the dissertation topic area. The program can be completed in two to five years depending on the depth and rigor of the project, and the volume of existing research material to review and analyze. Graduation requirements include maintaining a cumulative GPA of 2.0 (or pass) or higher and successfully defending a dissertation to a committee of faculty members. SJD students may begin their program in the Fall or Spring semester.
One measure of student success is the overall graduation rate of matriculants from each entering cohort. As working professionals, SJD students may decide to pursue other career opportunities, withdraw or take a leave of absence for personal reasons, or transfer to another law school. Few SJD students become academically ineligible. Given these factors, we set the threshold and goal for graduation rates below. Entering cohorts of SJD students ultimately move through the program at varying speeds. Due to this, graduation data is provided for the most recent entering cohorts from which all matriculants have graduated, or withdrawn from the program.
Table 10. SJD Graduation Rate Threshold and Goal
From 2014 through 2017, a total of 17 students matriculated to the SJD program and were placed with faculty advisors. During that four year period, 94% of the students were conferred with the SJD degree within the five year program limit, exceeding the goal of an 85% graduation rate.
Table 11. 2014-2017 Graduation Rates
Another measurement of success for these doctoral candidate students is the final product of their degree: producing a dissertation of publishable quality that contributes in an original manner to the law and a presentation of their work to the law school community. Success with these metrics is defined as faculty approval of the defended work and successful completion of the public presentation where members of the law school community may raise questions about the work that has been done. Successful dissertations from SJD students are bound, cataloged, and made available to the public through the Wake Forest Law Library.
For the reasons given for the graduation threshold and goal, we set the threshold and goal that 75% for SJD students producing a dissertation meeting the above standards. As a small, individually directed program, these thresholds are deemed met when the student’s faculty advisor signs off on the final grade for their work and approves them for graduation. The four-year combined overall graduation rate of the program (94%) demonstrates that this standard was met, as reflected in the graduation rate results table above.
The law school aspires to ensure success for SJDs and plans to offer a course on thesis writing available to all SJDs as they begin writing the thesis. The course has been approved by the Faculty Curriculum Committee and the full Residential Faculty for inclusion in future academic years. To assist students who do not speak English as their first language, each SJD writer will have access to a teaching assistant who will help in the line editing for English before the final thesis is submitted for review.
Measures of Academic Success in Master of Studies in Law (MSL) Program
The fully online Master of Studies in Law is designed specifically for and uniquely tailored to working professionals who need to better understand the law and to manage risks more efficiently and effectively in their careers in business, health care and human resources and given the nature of the student’ careers, some matriculate to the degree program, but then convert to a less rigorous certificate program. The program is offered on a part-time basis, and students may take between three and six credit hours per semester. Students transferring credit may complete the degree in as little as 21 months (five semesters). Students without transfer credit may complete the degree in as little as 24 months (six semesters.) Students must complete the program within five years of matriculation. Graduation requirements include maintaining a cumulative grade point average of 2.5 or higher, and completion of required and elective courses. Students may matriculate into the MSL program in the Fall, Spring, or Summer semesters.
One measure of student success is measured in the overall graduation rate of matriculants from each entering cohort. As working professionals, MSL students may decide to pursue other career opportunities, withdraw or take a leave of absence for personal reasons, or transfer to another graduate-level program. Few MSL students become academically ineligible. Given these factors, we set the graduation threshold and goal as indicated below.
Table 12. MSL Graduation Rate Threshold and Goal
The program has operated as a fully online and asynchronous degree for working professionals since 2016. Entering cohorts of MSL students ultimately move through the program at varying speeds. Due to this, graduation data is provided for the most recent entering cohorts (in the current online iteration) from which all matriculants have graduated or withdrawn from the program. The first entering class in 2016, achieved a 77% graduation rate, meeting our threshold, but falling short of the initial goal. The 2017 entering classes resulted in a 77% graduation rate as well. The law school will continue to monitor progress towards graduation and make efforts to increase graduation rates towards our goals.
Table 13. 2016-2017 Graduation Rates
Another measure for these graduate-level professional students is their self-reported progress in (1) understanding the fundamental concepts and principles; (2) identifying and framing potential legal issues; and (3) recognizing the relevance to the workplace of the concepts and principles in this area of law. Students in this program are working professionals.
This program is meant to enhance the knowledge and experience they have already gained through prior education and work. As such, we believe that their own evaluation of their understanding from the courses is key in understanding and demonstrating their overall success. Our threshold for these three indicators is a semester mean of 3.85 and a goal of 4.0 on a self-reported scale of 1 to 5: (1) Poor, (2) Fair, (3) Good, (4) Very good, (5) Excellent. It is the law school’s expectation that students will experience more than good progress, therefore we have set the benchmark to be slightly higher than the middle of the self-reported scale.
The following table details these self-reported progress means across all courses in the program for the past three years. In each year, the mean exceeds the benchmark.
Table 14. Master of Studies in Law (MSL) Self-Reported Progress Summary
|Spring 2021||Summer 2021||Fall 2021||Spring 2022||Summer 2022||Fall 2022|
|Understanding of fundamental legal concepts and principles||4.37||4.43||4.5||4.49||4.42||4.53|
|Progress identifying and framing potential legal issues||4.38||4.44||4.46||4.45||4.37||4.53|
|Recognizing the relevance of legal concepts and principles to the workplace||4.54||4.51||4.6||4.54||4.44||4.59|
MSL applicants usually seek the degree to enhance their employment opportunities. The law school intends to begin capturing the impact of the MSL on graduates’ employment through the use of surveys and exit interviews. This information will also be an indicator of success consistent with the goals of most of the MSL graduates. It may also affect the MSL offerings.
School of Medicine
Consistent with the mission of the WFSM to train leaders in healthcare and biomedical science, the Office of Medical Education monitors student achievement and performance throughout the medical school.
Doctorate of Medicine (MD)
Our Undergraduate Medical Education Curriculum Committee (UMECC) has set a minimum threshold and goal of 80% for our graduation rate goal. The UMECC believed that this is a meaningful metric, reflecting the fact that our program’s curriculum and student support processes allow the vast majority of our students to successfully complete our MD program curriculum within four years of matriculation
Below are the overall graduation rates for the last four cohorts.
Table 1. Overall Graduation Rate
|Class Graduation Year||On-Time Graduation Rate||Overall Graduation Rate|
|2022||87%||to be determined|
* On-time graduation rate shows the students who completed the program in the four years that are required. Overall graduation rate shows the students who completed the program.
National Board Examinations
Our Undergraduate Medical Education Curriculum Committee (UMECC) has set a performance standard for board-type examinations in the preclinical foundational science courses as 70% correct to pass the test. Failures require successful participation in detailed remediation.
Our students consistently perform extremely well on these examinations, and their individual performance on these national exams correlates extremely well with their performance on our Wake Curricular assessments. Performance standards for national exams have been set by UMECC for at or above the national average. The percent pass rate for WFSM first-time takers of the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Step 1 has consistently improved and been above the national mean over the past six years; the mean has been within three points of the national average (connects to Knowledge for Practice and Patient Care objectives). The percent pass rate for WFSM first-time takers of USMLE Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (connects to Knowledge for Practice and Patient Care objectives) has consistently improved and been above the national mean over the past six years; the mean has consistently been six to eight points above the national average.
The percent pass rate for WFSM first-time takers of USMLE Step 2 Clinical Skills has been within one percentage point or above the national mean over the past six years (connects to Knowledge for Practice, Patient Care, and Interpersonal Communication Skills objectives). The mean scores for USMLE Step 3 have been steadily increasing over the past several years (connects to Knowledge for Practice, Patient Care, and Interpersonal Communication Skills objectives). For 2021 and available 2022 scores, all USMLE Step 1, 2 CK, and 3 averages were at or above the national average: Step 1 average score 234 (national average 230), Step 2 CK average score 250 (national average 247), and Step 3 passing rate 99 (national average 99).
Table 2. Step 1 Scores WFSM vs. National
|Test year||WF Passing rate||WF Mean (STD)||National Passing Rate||National Mean (STD)|
|2021||140/143 (98%)||234 (17)||96%||230 (19)|
|2020||135/137 (99%)||234 (16)||97%||234 (18)|
|2019||138/141 (98%)||233 (17)||97%||231 (19)|
|2018||114/120 (95%)||231 (21)||96%||230 (19)|
|2017||116/118 (98%)||230 (19)||96%||229 (20)|
|2016||109/115 (95%)||229 (21)||95%||228 (21)|
*Step 1 moved to pass/fail so no mean is given
Table 3. Step 2 Clinical Knowledge Reporting
|Reporting Period||WF Total First Attempts||WF Passing Rate||National Passing Rate||WF Mean (STD)||National Mean (STD)|
*reflects Covid pandemic ProMetric closures
Table 4. Step 3 Reporting
|Class of||WF total first attempts||WF passing rate||National passing rate|
Placement for Residency
While WFSM seeks to match 100% of its students with residencies, our Undergraduate Medical Education Curriculum Committee (UMECC) chose a performance metric (goal and threshold) of 95% of the 5-year average national match rate for allopathic US seniors into PGY-1 positions. The UMECC determined this approach to evaluating our Match Rate is meaningful because it highlights the excellent training provided by WFSM that makes our students and graduates highly competitive for residency training positions. All students who have entered the match have been very successful in obtaining residency positions (connects to Knowledge for Practice, Patient Care, and Personal and Professional Development objectives). The national residency match is an important practical outcome for MD program students, determining placement for their next stage of training. To achieve that goal we provide extensive career advising support for the match process, in addition to an outstanding curriculum and assessment program.
The success of graduating students in placement for residency training is monitored and published annually. The 2022 Match Rate was 95.6%. The National Residency Matching Program (NRMP; The Match) is a private, non-profit organization that implements the process by which the preferences of MD student applicants for U.S. residency positions are matched with the preferences of residency program directors.
Table 5. Match Results for MS2017 through MS 2021
|Year||US Match Rate||WFSM Match Rate|
The achievement of students within the Department of Academic Nursing (DAN) is gauged by 1) on-time graduation rates, 2) achievement of AACN DNP Essentials (2006), 3) dissemination of the scholarly project, and 4), specific to the CRNA program, successful completion of the NBCRNA NCE following graduation from the program. The DAN has maintained excellent, on-time graduation rates for both of its programs (see Table 1-3), 2) achievement of the DNP Essentials (see Table 4), 3) dissemination of scholarship (see Table 5), and 4) NCE pass rates and scaled scores (see Table 6.)
The Department of Academic Nursing has an overall on-time graduation rate of 98% (see Table 1). The CRNA program has set a minimum graduation threshold rate of 80% with 90% as the benchmark goal. This exceeds the national standard of 80% over a 5-year running average set by the Council for Accreditation for Nurse Anesthesia Programs (COA) for nurse anesthesia programs. The Post-Master’s DNP program has set a 70% minimum threshold and an 80% benchmark goal as the doctoral project can vary in length and breadth. Also, the AACN credentialing body, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), has a minimum 70% completion rate standard over a running 3-year total that exceeds this threshold. Because the DAN has set a strategic goal to obtain CCNE accreditation in 5 years, this performance ensures a favorable application review.
Table 6. Department of Academic Nursing Overall Graduation Rate By Program
|Class Graduation Year||Post-Master’s DNP Graduation Rate*||CRNA Masters Graduation Rate|
*Post-Master’s DNP Program did not start until class of 2020.
**Data excludes leaves of absences and withdrawals initiated by the student.
AACN Doctorate of Nursing Practice Essentials
The Department of Academic Nursing (DAN) has two graduate programs: The BS-DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice) with focus on nurse anesthesia and PM (Post-Master’s)- DNP Program. The learning outcomes of the programs are aligned with the department learning outcomes, specific program learning objectives, course objectives, and the AACN DNP Essentials. Although the nurse anesthesia program has been established since 1942, the very first cohort of the Doctor of Nursing Practice matriculated in 2021 as DNP degree is mandated by the Council on Accreditation by 2025. DAN established the PM-DNP in 2018, graduating its first cohort in 2020. Although programs have different learning objectives, the department learning outcomes and the AACN DNP Essentials guide the student learning outcomes. For the BS-DNP Nurse Anesthesia focus, program learning objectives are guided by the standards of the Council on Accreditation. The programs have courses geared towards the completion of scholarly projects. The scholarly projects are one of the learning outcomes demonstrating most of the department learning outcomes and the AACN DNP Essentials. The minimum threshold and achievement goal for dissemination of scholarly projects is 60%.
Table 7. Positive Agreement of Achievement of AACN DNP Essentials by Graduating Class
|DNP Essential||Class of 2020||Class of 2021||Class of 2022|
|I. Scientific Underpinnings for practice||100%||100%||100%|
|II. Organizational and Systems Leadership for Quality Improvement and Systems Thinking||100%||100%||100%|
|III. Clinical Scholarship and Analytical Methods for Evidence-Based Practice||100%||100%||100%|
|IV. Information Systems/Technology and Patient Care, Technology for the Improvement and Transformation of Health Care||100%||100%||100%|
|V. Health Care policy for Advocacy in Health Care||100%||100%||100%|
|VI. Interprofessional Collaboration for Improving Patient and Population Health Outcomes||100%||100%||100%|
|VII. Clinical Prevention and Population Health for Improving the Nation’s Health||100%||100%||100%|
|VIII. Advanced Nursing Practice||100%||100%||100%|
Dissemination of the scholarly project
Once common learning objectives associated with all learning outcomes and objectives is the dissemination of scholarly projects. The submission of scholarly project paper is a graduation requirement; however, the choice of the dissemination of the results of the scholarly projects beyond the WFUSM is a metric that is being monitored. Currently, since the scholarly projects are “new” for the DNP degree for all nursing education programs, there is not standard on the metric. In our department, it is still gathering data so that we can identify a threshold.
NBCRA NCE Performance
The mandatory threshold pass rate set by the Council for Accreditation for Nurse Anesthesia Programs (COA) for first-time NBCRNA NCE test takers as defined in the policy is 80% over a 5-year running average. This minimum threshold and a goal of 90% was adopted by our CRNA program, both master’s and CRNA DNP, as a marker for successful student achievement of program outcomes, and our program consistently exceeds this threshold (Table 3). This metric is meaningful as it represents didactic and clinical program excellence. This metric is a summary statistic of CRNA didactic and clinical curriculum quality and provides a national benchmark for comparison to national NCE mean scales and mean subscale scores. All CRNA programs (DNP and Master’s) are required to make this metric publicly available. The PM-DNP is a post-licensure and post-certification program. Therefore, these metrics do not apply to its programming.
Table 8. NBCRA NCE Performance Scores
|Class||First Time Pass Rate||First Time Scaled Score Avg|
Physician Assistant Program
The Physician Assistant (PA) Program evaluates success with respect to student achievement consistent with its mission to produce highly capable, compassionate PAs who make significant contributions to the health care community.
Wake PA Program Goal 1—PANCE Pass Rates (first time takers): Fall 2022
Prepare graduates who are proficient in medical knowledge for entry into the PA profession.
Because all 50 states, the military and federal health services mandate that PAs pass the PANCE in order to obtain licensure and/or full practice authority, the Wake Forest PA Program prioritizes the importance of demonstrating PA graduates’ ability to actually enter the profession.
The program goal for first-time test taker pass performance on PANCE is a 90% or higher. This expectation exceeds the ARC-PA’s and our threshold <85% alert value, which requires mandatory action. The program also uses the national mean for first time test takers as a surrogate marker of our competitiveness. Thus, our cohorts’ surpassing the national mean each year serves as an additional measure of success.
Since 2015, the percent pass rate for Wake Forest PA Program first-time takers of the PANCE has been above the national first-time pass rate in every year. The compiled five-year average for the first-time pass rate for WFSM PA Program is 96%, and the national average is 94%. (See Table 9)
Table 9. PANCE Pass Rates – First Time Examinee
|Wake Forest PA Class Graduating Year||Number of First Time Takers||Program First Time Takers Pass Rate||National First Time Takers Pass Rate for the Class Graduation Year|
Wake PA Program Goal 2 (Graduation rates)
Support enrolled students through graduation from the program with a Master of Medical Science degree.
To meet the aim of successful graduation for each enrollee, the faculty and staff within the Wake Forest PA Program facilitates the education of students in program competencies and learning outcomes and provides the necessary support to complete all requirements for graduation.
On-time graduation rates threshold and goal will meet or exceed 94% and total cohort graduation rates threshold and goal will meet or exceed 97%. In addition, graduation rates for Wake Forest PA will exceed the national average for all PA programs.
The program measures student success by evaluating graduation rates for two timelines. The table reflects graduation rates by cohort, based upon the numbers of students who graduated on time or on a later timeline. The PA Program’s on-time graduation rates have ranged from 94 to 99% over the past five years, with total cohort graduation rates ranging from 98 to 100%.
In addition, the PA Program is able to utilize an additional benchmark of the mean on-time graduation rate for all PA programs, as posted in the most recent PA Education Association (PAEA) Program Survey. In the 2019 report, the total program on-time graduation average was 93.5%. In comparison, every on-time graduating cohort listed in Table 2 exceeded this percentage.
Table 10: Full Cohort PA Graduation Rates
|Class Graduation Year||Total Cohort Graduation Rate||On Time Graduation Rate|
Program-valued Sub-group Graduation Rates
In addition to evaluating full cohort graduation rates, the PA Program reviews the outcomes of sub-groups that are important to the mission and goals for the program. These include main campus to extension campus rates and disparity to non-disparity student rates. The Wake Forest University School of Medicine provides female to male graduation rates to AAMC, therefore PA Studies also provides this information. The goals and outcomes for these sub-groups are presented below in table 11-12.
Two-campus graduation rate comparison
Support all enrolled students through graduation from the program with a Master of Medical Science degree. The PA Program’s expansion campus graduation rates will compare favorably to the main campus graduation rates.
The Wake Forest School of Medicine PA Program is accredited for two campuses, the main campus located in Winston-Salem, NC and the extension campus in Boone, NC. As required by the accrediting body (ARC-PA), the PA Program must demonstrate equivalency of student outcomes between those two campuses. Thus, graduation rates for both cohorts in each class year are compared, particularly to ensure that the extension campus provides a parallel educational experience to the main campus.
There will be no difference in graduation rates for extension campus students. Minor variations will not be statistically significant.
For the five posted years, results of both total cohort and on-time graduation rates for the extension (Boone) campus demonstrate favorable comparability. Any differences between cohorts are not statistically significant (see Table 11.)
Table 11: Differentiation by Main Campus (Winston-Salem) and Extension Campus (Boone)
|Class Graduation Year/ Campus||On-time Graduation Rate||Total Cohort Graduation Rate|
|2022 Winston Salem||97%||98%|
*Reflects that several students in these cohorts exited the program prior to student placement on the different campuses and were therefore not included in the campus-to-campus data.
Graduation Rates of Students Meeting Health Disparity Admission Parameters
Support all enrolled students through graduation from the program with a Master of Medical Science degree. The PA Program graduation rates for students who meet health disparity admission parameters will compare favorably to students who are not categorized as meeting health disparity admission parameters.
The mission of the Wake Forest School of Medicine Physician Assistant (PA) Program is to produce highly capable, compassionate PAs who deliver patient-centered care and make significant contributions to the health care community. As such, the PA program aims to enroll student cohorts composed of diverse groups of students whose individual characteristics comprise an extensive variety of life experiences, cultural backgrounds, prior community service or healthcare for underserved populations, and military service. The admissions parameters describe that applicants are most competitive when they have a compilation of these characteristics.
There will be no difference in graduation rates for health disparity students compared to non-health disparity students.
As demonstrated in Table 4, the graduation results show that students who are classified at admission with demographic and experiential characteristics that match societal health disparities achieve equivalent graduation outcomes as compared to students who do not classify themselves with the program-identified health disparities demographics. The differences in percentages, if any, between cohorts are small (see Table 12).
Table 12. Graduation Rates of Students Meeting Health Disparity Admission Parameters
|Class Year||Health Disparities On-time Graduation Rate||Health Disparities Total Cohort Graduation Rate||Non-Health Disparities On-time Graduation Rate||Non-Health Disparities-Total Cohort Graduation|
The mission of the School of Professional Studies (SPS) is to provide accessible, flexible, and academically strong programs designed for working professionals. SPS uses several measures to document student achievement:
- Student retention rates – A degree student will be defined as retained if they successfully transition from their first year to the second year of their program and attempt the second year requirements of their program.
- Student graduation rates – Graduation rate will be calculated as a percentage of students who graduate or complete their program within 200% of the program length (4-year graduation rate).
- Employment outcomes – Employment outcomes will be calculated as the percentage of graduates who report that they received a raise, promotion, or new job responsibilities assessed through an annual student survey.
Each measure is in alignment with the SPS mission statement to accelerate the professional growth of adult learners across their careers through accessible, flexible, and cutting-edge educational experiences. Both the retention and completion rate measures provide comprehensive evidence of student achievement at SPS. In addition, employment outcomes is a measure of graduates’ preparation to succeed in their chosen professional role. Since these programs are designed to enhance the skills of working professionals, it is anticipated that graduates will be better prepared for enhanced employment outcomes, such as promotions, raises, and new job opportunities. Thresholds of acceptability and goals have been established based on comparisons to the range of similar outcomes from other schools of professional study.
The School of Professional Studies initiated its first two academic programs (Masters in Project Management and Digital Marketing) in the Spring semester of 2022, therefore, complete student achievement data are not yet fully available. Student retention rates for those who successfully transitioned from their first to the second year of their program can be calculated. For retention rates, the threshold is 70% and the goal is 85%. The retention rate for students that began in Spring 2022 is 94.7%, exceeding both the threshold of acceptability and the goal.
The timeline for initiating evaluation of additional student achievement data for each measure identified by the SPS is listed below:
- Employment outcomes – Fall 2023
- Student completion rates – At the conclusion of the Fall 2024 semester