Tennessee Tech leads state report card in student learning

Tennessee Technological University is leading the pack of Tennessee Board of Regents universities when it comes to student learning, according to the first TBR Annual Report Card issued Friday.

The comprehensive report, developed to show TBR's accountability to state taxpayers, ranks Tennessee Tech at or near the top of four out of five categories in student learning where student performance and satisfaction are considered, far surpassing the state average in each.

"I'm extremely pleased at our performance reflected on the TBR Annual Report Card," said Tennessee Tech President Angelo Volpe. "But I'm not surprised. When the discussion concerning the report card first began and I heard all of the categories that would be evaluated, I knew Tennessee Tech would perform well. We have historically and consistently been ranked among the top state institutions in each of the main categories reviewed."

Tennessee Tech beat all other TBR universities in comparing graduation rates, student satisfaction and alumni satisfaction. It ranked a tight second in the core knowledge and skills category.

While 42 percent of students at TBR universities graduated within six years, 50 percent of Tennessee Tech students earned degrees in that time frame. ETSU also fared better than the state average at 43 percent, while MTSU and Austin Peay matched it at 42 percent. The University of Memphis and TSU reported 37 and 36 percent, respectively.

When it comes to student satisfaction, Tennessee Tech again topped the list. Of students currently enrolled in TBR universities, some 90 percent said they were "very satisfied" or "satisfied" with their education. At Tennessee Tech, that percentage soared to 94 percent. Ninety-two percent of APSU students and 91 percent of MTSU and ETSU students indicated their satisfaction. Both Memphis and TSU fell below the state average.

Of alumni surveyed two years after graduation, 93 percent from Tennessee Tech said they were either very satisfied or satisfied with the education they received, outpacing the state university average of 89 percent. Some 91 percent of TSU and APSU alumni reported being satisfied, and MTSU graduates met the state average of 89 percent. ETSU and Memphis both ranked below the average.

While 51 percent of students at TBR universities scored as well as or above the national average on standardized tests of core knowledge and skills, some 58 percent of Tennessee Tech students met or exceeded the national average. Tennessee Tech ranked second in this category. Some 59 percent at MTSU, 55 percent at APSU and 52 percent at Memphis did as well as the national average. The report indicated 41 percent at ETSU and 30 percent at TSU scored as well. Tennessee Tech's numbers included all students who took the tests, including international students.

Under the academic program category, Tennessee Tech also shined in the external peer review indicator. Eighty-three percent of TTU's undergraduate programs evaluated by external review teams met at least 90 percent of the established standards. Only one other university, ETSU, exceeded the state average of 70 percent in this indicator group.

Other categories listed in the report include academic programs, faculty productivity and financial accountability. Most of those categories don't lend themselves to institutional comparisons, however.

"Our performance confirms what we've known all along - our academic programs, faculty, students and staff are the best," said Volpe. "Our entire Tennessee Tech family, in addition to being some of the most dedicated and hard working, have been the most persevering. Despite the hardships - the severe budget cuts and fiscal restrictions we've faced recently - they continue to outperform the average and often way above the norm."