Cohort Analysis

Alfred Mutanga
MIS Specialist
University of Venda
Date: 22 November 2013
Venue: NWU PUK Sports Village
Why a Cohort Analysis?
A cohort?
– A group of students selected for further study
• Meets a certain predetermined criterion
• Often this a group of students enrolling for the first time in a
cluster together during the same academic period
– Baseline data: is the basis for cohort study
Baseline Data
• Established with internal data and are used to
determine performance over time
– These data are used to represent the state of the issue at
hand before selected activities or events took place
– Establishment of baselines is critical for continuous quality
improvement initiatives or other improvement processes
• Cohort Analysis refers to the use of data by
institutions to compare current performances with
a prior performance to determine trends
Theoretical Framework for Cohort Analysis
The Persistence- Retention- Attrition Triad?
– Refers to the tendency for students to continue their
enrollment at an institution
– Persistence focuses on the tendency of students to
continue their enrolment from semester to semester
– Retention Studies focuses on the tendency for the
students to enroll in consecutive semesters
– Attrition relates to the tendency of the students to
withdraw from a qualification
Persistence- Retention- Attrition how is HEDA taking care
of this through Cohort Analysis?
Persistence-Retention-Attrition: HEDA Contexts
• Persistence: HEDA includes Enrolment Studies in the
Cohort Analysis Application
• Enrolment Studies is an examination of the number of
students enrolled for an academic period tracked year
by year
• Persistence studies may include:
– Study of Graduation rates
– The Flow of students through the institution
• Data from these studies may become baseline for
determining the impact of student retention-enhancing
programs or activities
• Qualification Retention- tendency for students to
continue attending a qualification until completion
regardless of the grade they receive
• Usefulness of Retention Studies:
– Show students’ overall determination to stay enrolled
regardless of grade
– Highlight the patterns of student withdrawal from
Attrition in HEDA is defined with two indicators and these are drop-outs
and Stop-outs
• This type of study is a variation of the aforementioned studies as
it focuses on the persistence through a semester or an
academic year.
• Stop-outs are students who withdraw from a qualification and at a
later date re-join the qualification (or another at the same
• Drop-outs are students who withdraw from a qualification and will
never re-join the qualification during the period of study
• Calculating attrition is an important aspect of determining student
engagement with the institution
A Snapshot of Results of Cohort Analysis
Cohort Analysis Provoke Some Questions
• Graduates in the first Cohort Year-how come we have a
graduate during the first year students enrol for a
qualification? Methodology FCE
• Student Unit Records– Who are the students who are retained in the system for such a
long time?
– Are we doing enough as an institution to help students graduate
in record time or finish their courses?
– What do our Teaching and Learning, Assessment say? Do they
need to be reviewed
• Premise for Institutional Research activities concerning
student engagement with the institution, etc.
Our Experience Identifying Unit Records
Thank you
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