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Student Achievement

Student Achievement

WKU is committed to ensuring student achievement as a critical element of its mission to prepare "students of all backgrounds to be productive, engaged, and socially responsible citizen-leaders of a global society."  To that end, the university strategic plan, Challenging the Spirit, incorporates a number of institutional goals related to student achievement and supported by a set of key institutional metrics that monitor progress and drive improvement.  The following table summarizes strategic goals, objectives, and key metrics that bear on student achievement:

Strategic Goal

1. Foster Academic Excellence

1.5. Prepare student for lifelong learning and success.

1.5.1. Total Degrees

2. Promote a Dynamic and Diverse University Community

2.2. Increase student retention, persistence, and timely graduation.


2.3. Make a college education more economically affordable for students from diverse groups.

2.2.1. First-Year Retention Rate (%)

2.2.2. First-Time, Full-Time, Baccalaureate Degree-Seeking Graduation Rate (%)

2.3.3. Average Time to Degree (years)

 Challenging the Spirit establishes 2017-18 attainment targets for each of these student achievement metrics.  WKU annually tracks and reports on progress towards meeting these targets.  The following table summarizes the results of these assessments.

2010-11 Baseline
2017-18 Target  

1.5.1. Total Degrees

3885 4129 4045 4100 4004 4106   4530

2.2.1. First-Year Retention
Rate (%)

73.2 71.3 71.7 73.1  72.4 72.5   77.0

2.2.2. First-Time, Full-Time, Baccalaureate Degree-Seeking Graduation Rate (%)

49.7 49.7 50.3 50.1  50.0  51.7   54.0

2.3.3. Average Time to Degree

4.24 4.16 4.19 4.18  4.10  4.07   4.10

 WKU has also established criteria and thresholds of student achievement related to federal financial aid.  WKU was re-certified for Title IV Student Aid Programs in 2012 based our compliance with regulations described in the Federal Student Aid Handbook, Volume 2 Chapter 3.  Attached is the Program Participation Agreement effective through June 30, 2018. 

Other Indicators of student achievement:

  • The percentage of students that earned A, B, C, or P grades in WKU courses is 84.0%.
  • In the last eight years, WKU's 4-year graduation rate has increased 38%, from 20.7% to 28.5%.
  • The average pass rates of WKU students on Praxis Licensure Content Exams for teacher certification is greater than 96%; the pass rate on the nursing NCLEX-RN exam is 91%.
  • The number of WKU students earning prestigious national scholarships - including Goldwater, Truman, Rhodes, and Marshall scholarships - has increased from 9 in 2010-11 to 49 in 2015-16.
  • The most recent national Survey of Earned Doctorates report ranked WKU in the top 4% of the 736 institutions in its Carnegie peer group in the number of graduates who have gone on to earn research doctorates.

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 Last Modified 1/12/17