Accountability, Inc.

by Jane S. Shaw

Outcome-based measurements are on the rise. Two organizations, the American Institutes for Research (AIR) and a private firm, Matrix, have teamed up to create a “performance scorecard” for 1,576 colleges and universities. The basic approach looks pretty good to me (although some refinements may be in order). In addition to graduation rates and freshman-retention rates, the site includes per-student costs (not tuition) and student-loan-default rates. For 949 of the schools, its provides the average starting pay of graduates and the average annual loan payments of graduates as a percentage of starting pay.

The measurements are only as good as the data provided (from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, College Board, the Delta Project, and Payscale). But they are a start.

AIR is the organization that just issued a report detailing the costs that states pay to support freshmen who drop out of college.