Graduates

Several of you have posted some thoughts on how graduates should count as a metric for mentors (and probably others).  I think we need to develop this idea a bit more, so I’m starting a new “category” – graduates.  Please put your ideas for “how” and “if” graduates should count as a metric.

MAC brought up a good point that many mentors are at different stages of the student life cycle and therefore have varied numbers of graduates.  So, how would we measure it fairly?  As it stands now, only those mentors with large numbers of graduates are penalized, while those mentors with fewer graduates are not yet penalized.  I know this sounds backwards, but if a mentor graduates a large number of students in a short period of time, their OTP is significantly impacted.  Maybe “scaredatwgu” can provide an example or further clarification of the size of the impact.

What about graduates being a team measure?  How would you feel having a team metric on your monthly scorecard?

Graduation is the ultimate success, so I can’t fathom not including it.  What does everyone else think?

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14 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by MAC on January 24, 2012 at 3:42 am

    Being one whose students are still early in the life cycle, I am confused as to how graduation affects OTP negatively. Can someone explain?

    Reply

  2. Posted by Sam on January 24, 2012 at 3:53 am

    So basically to ensure you never get disciplined for low numbers you have to have all your students make OTP and never graduate….

    Reply

  3. Posted by MAC on January 24, 2012 at 3:56 am

    But how does having a student graduate affect OTP? Retention I can see. I am not sure I understand the OTP connection…

    Reply

  4. OK, let’s say you have 30 students ending a term in February. Of those 30 students, let’s say 60% are on OTP. You’d be great! Your manager would be happy and your job would be safe.

    But, let’s say that of those 30 students, 8 are graduating. Graduates do not count in OTP, so you have to minus them from both total students and students on OTP. This comes out to a “revised” OTP of 45%. Well, that number is not so good. Your boss is not happy and your job is not safe anymore.

    We’ve been hearing about this issue for some time, from mentors with large numbers of graduates. They are frustrated because the monthly scorecards do not show that they had large numbers of graduates. It just shows the 45% OTP, which puts them in the bottom 20% and at risk of being on a PIP or warning.

    Many of the newer mentors are not too concerned about this issue because their student loads are all new students with many years to go before graduating. The longer term mentors are frustrated because they feel their concerns are not being heard.

    Reply

    • Posted by Richard on January 24, 2012 at 6:17 pm

      If a student graduates then they should drop off the OTP calculation and it should be revised for the remaining students.

      You shouldn’t be counting them leaving towards your load and be a detriment..that’s like having a lot of 100 cars, selling 80 of them and then being griped at for not selling the other 20.

      Reply

      • Posted by MAC on January 24, 2012 at 7:30 pm

        In the example given the assumption is that ALL of the graduates are OTP and the only ones not making OTP are still in the mix…

        30 student load*60% OTP= 18 students OTP

        So, if in this case the 8 graduating students are all OTP
        10 students OTP/22 student load=45%

        So far the math is sounding right, but let’s assume that only half of those students graduating are actually OTP, .
        14/22=63.63..% OTP, so in this case having students graduate actually INCREASES your OTP

        The problem would be if the graduates still count as OTP but do not drop out of the load. If that is the case, then there is definitely a problem.

        So back to case 2, where the 8 grads are all OTP, but do not decrease the load
        10 Students OTP/ 30 load=33% OTP

        If HALF the grads are OTP
        14/30=46.67%

        But if NONE of the grads were OTP
        18/30=60%

        So are you saying that graduates don’t drop off the calculation? Do we know?

        This should be public information, we should understand how these metrics work.

      • What are you a math major??? Oh, I get it – MAC – Masters in Accounting (still a math major in my eyes). LOL. You are correct! I assumed all the graduates were on OTP because I’ve never had any that weren’t. But you and a few other mentors schooled me on the reality 🙂 Lesson learned.

        OK, let’s revise the scenario

        Recap
        No graduates
        No of students on OTP 18
        Total no of active students 30
        Term OTP 60%

        8 graduates – 8 on OTP
        No of students on OTP 10
        Total no of active students 22
        Term OTP 45%

        8 graduates – 4 on OTP
        No of students on OTP 14
        Total no of active students 22
        Term OTP 64%

        8 graduates – 2 on OTP
        No of students on OTP 16
        Total no of active students 22
        Term OTP 73%

        8 graduates – 0 on OTP
        No of students on OTP 18
        Total no of active students 22
        Term OTP 82%

        See how the denominator stays 22? That’s because the graduates are always subtracted out first. This makes my calculated term OTP higher than the ones you calculated. So you are correct in some of your assumptions, such as if MORE non-graduating students are on OTP then your OTP goes up. Unfortunately, I find that my best students are my graduates, and they are the ones on OTP. That leaves me with a majority of students finishing a term NOT on OTP (because the strongest performers are the graduates). But we need some more mentors to weigh in on this one. What do you find? When you have graduates, are the remaining students mostly on OTP or not? Do you even consider this an issue?

        Please someone post on this or MAC is going to have me revise these calculations AGAIN! (groan)…..lol

  5. The key term with calculating OTP is ACTIVE students. So that is where graduates hurt you in the calculations, they are no longer considered an active student. So if you have 10 students, 2 graduate, you’re now at 8 (and you were originally thinking great because your grads made OTP, but they don’t count).

    It continues to come back to graduates not being a measure we’re held accountable to or rewarded for. I fall into the category of having received existing students when I started mentoring and having graduate success early on, so circumstances/history behind a mentor’s student load definitely should be taken into consideration. Also degree programs as well, Business College students typically graduate much more quickly than Teacher’s College, and graduate vs. undergraduate, etc. so we can’t all be held to the same standard.

    Reply

    • Posted by MAC on January 25, 2012 at 3:53 am

      So far my grads (all 2 going on 3) have been greatly accelerated, so in this case you are right, their absence will probably have a negative, but hopefully negligible effect on OTP. However, I currently have a (self-pay) students who is more units behind OTP than he actually had to complete in his whole degree plan. But, it looks like he might graduate in the next term. When that happens, his graduating will actually help.

      Reply

  6. Posted by MAC on January 25, 2012 at 6:04 am

    I asked a friend to contact someone who is familiar with the in’s and out’s of OTP to ask about whether we should be concerned about graduates negatively impacting the OTP metric as well as some scenarios and how OTP would be calculated. The response:
    “OTP is a statistic to measure On-Time Progress towards graduation. When a student graduates, it no longer has context toward what it is designed to measure. It is designed to answer and does answer the question: What percentage of your active students are progressing towards graduation at a pace of completing their minimum CUs or greater. (On-Time or Sooner) …OTP is OTP and number of graduates by mentor is a different statistic that also is reported to Managers each and every month.”

    So, yes your graduation statistics are being monitored.

    But more interesting was a further discussion of OTP :

    “First off, there are 3 different OTP measurements, so for us both to be extremely accurate, we cannot or should not even say OTP by itself. Total OTP is only a measurement of the last 6 months results of your students, so the scenario of a student’s 1st term results and 2nd term results are not relevant to Total OTP.

    The formula is and also stated on our KPI Scorecards:

    The number of students who ended a term during the last 6 months up through the reporting month who met OTP divided by the number of all students who ended terms during the last 6 months and who had AS status at the time.

    In your first term/second term scenario below, the student would NOT be in the numerator of Total OTP. Likewise if those scenarios were reversed, where they finished 18 CU’s in the 2nd term, regardless what they finished in Term 1, they would be counted in the numerator of the Total OTP. I can see why my statement was not necessarily accurate to Total OTP.”

    So beyond all the doublespeak, all those number manipulations we did earlier don’t mean much because the number we see on the scorecard includes ALL of the students on OTP for the last 6 months divided by all of the active students ending terms in that same period, which is where a large number of graduates in any given 6 month period can cause serious disruptions in OTP, as can fluctuations in cohort size from month to month. I have tried looking back at some of my monthly reports to try to determine how to arrive at the number quoted and could not figure it out. There were too many variables and I could only figure +/- 10%.

    Reply

  7. Posted by Justus on January 30, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    I have a fair number of graduates. All of my graduates make OTP. They do not count towards OTP, although many of them complete a large number of CU’s in order to graduate. My OTP number is not as high as it would be if graduates counted. The reasoning that I’ve heard is that because they don’t want to count students on term break or that withdraw, they can’t count graduates. They already count students that leave in retention. They always keep track of students that are on term break. Why is graduation, which is our main GOAL, the only thing that doesn’t count? It actually hurts our numbers. Maybe I should slow my students down, stop acceleration and go with 12 CUs per term. They’ll eventually drop out, because my students are here to accelerate and they do! But at 12 CU’s per term, they can spent 7 years here! At least my OTP will be good.

    ANY time mentor success and student success is at odds, there is something wrong with the system. I don’t push OTP, I push acceleration and graduation. My students complete an average much higher than 12 CUs per term. My numbers hurt because of it. Time to look for a new job?

    Reply

  8. Posted by Jawabi on February 1, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    Justus, you are doing a good job for your students but WGU will punish you for it. I am tops in retention and satisfaction but my OTP numbers stink. So, I will be gone soon either voluntarily or involuntarily. Yet, before OTP was instituted I was called an “awesome” mentor by Chris. What has changed to make me go from awesome to out the door?

    Reply

  9. Posted by Curtis Kale on June 20, 2012 at 3:55 am

    It is shocking to hear that a Mentor’s graduating students don’t count? Jeeezuus….
    I’m down to my last few classes before graduation, and my mentor will not be recognized for all of his hard work in helping me graduate? This is crazy!

    Reply

  10. Posted by Milton on July 5, 2012 at 4:26 am

    Yes that’s how it works Curtis….pretty sad huh?

    Reply

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