Gateway DFWs by Department: Five-Year Trend

Developed by Ken Wendeln, Kelly School of Business
Submitted by Steve Graunke, Assistant Director for Survey Research and Standard Reports
Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis
The audience for the presentation includes university administrators, deans, and Gateway course coordinators and instructors who all have a stake in improving retention and graduation. Gateway course DFW grades have a strong correlation to first--year retention and, in turn, to 6--year graduation rates at IUPUI. The purpose of this slide is to get the audience’s attention and curiosity to dig deeper into the detailed DFW trend data provided in tabular form for each of the designated Gateway courses. Administrators and deans quickly get the implications of the ‘Cost of DFWs’ to students for grades that have no academic value as well as the loss of tuition for non--retained students.
That leads to the ‘spider chart’ that shows the ranked DFW% (and actual numbers) for each department for AY07 (combined fall’06 and spring’07) in blue. The red line and markers shows the DFW percentage improvements for AY12. The yellow markers highlight where improvements have NOT been made. The ‘spider’ was chosen for its visual interest, impactful but simple rankings and comparisons, and unencumbered space for the labels and supporting data.
The goal is to encourage ac1on by all the course coordinators and instructors and support from the deans and administrators. The ‘exemplars’ (orange symbols for Psychology and Learning Communities) demonstrate that specific actions supported with data can lead to significant and sustained course DFW improvements. The result of improving DFWs at IUPUI has been a 16 percentage--point improvement in fall--to--fall retention and a 12 percentage--point improvement in 6--year graduation rates.


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