Student Achievement Data

Data related to student achievement and outcomes is based on analysis from the student information system (SIS), from institutional wide surveys, from research projects the University participates in, or from vendor sources. The following list describes a range of data and information that is developed for broad use and available to all programs and activities for use in planning and improvement.

Undergraduate Retention and Graduation Rates: Retention and graduation rates are calculated annually in October using standard cohort-based methods. Because UW-Madison undergraduates are admitted to the University and not to a specific program, the standard cohort methodology does not support the calculation of major-specific rates. Rates for more than 40 demographic and program-based cohorts of students are posted annually to the University’s website and made public in a range of other publications including the Data Digest. Tabulations document students who first enroll as new freshmen and those who enroll as new transfer students.

Student Achievement Measure (SAM): UW-Madison is an inaugural member of SAM, a national project to expand the standard metrics of retention and graduation rates to include a retained-anywhere and graduated-anywhere metric.
SAM publishes the retention and graduation rates for all new freshmen, new freshmen students of color, new freshmen Pell Grant recipients, new freshmen receiving veteran’s benefits, and new transfer students.

Undergraduate Time to Degree: Time to degree by academic major is calculated annually and reports are posted publicly and provided to academic units. Where available, peer comparison information on time-to-degree is also assembled and made public.

Wisconsin Experience: UW-Madison strives to support student participation in high-impact practices. The University reports annually on the participation rates of students in documented high impact practices, including by-major. 

Post-Graduate Earnings:
US Census Bureau Post-secondary Educational Outcomes (PSEO) Project provides earnings and employment data on all programs (released April 2019 with subsequent updates).
Steppingblocks provides earnings and employment data for all programs, all levels.

PhD Completions and Time to Degree, PhD Career OutcomesPhD retention, completion and time-to-degree information is compiled and updated annually. Individuals can view Tableau visualizations that provide detailed information. In addition, program-by-program detailed data profiles are available through the Graduate School’s program profiles, which include career outcomes.

Licensure Pass Rates: Selected licensure pass rate information is assembled as an element of the UW-Madison’s legislated accountability report.  Information for specific programs is posted in the Guide and on program websites. For example: MS-Occupational Therapy; Doctor of Pharmacy; Doctor of Veterinary Medicine; Doctor of Audiology; Bachelor of Science-Nursing

First Destination Survey Results (Undergraduates): Since December 2016 UW-Madison has used a NACE-compliant First Destination Survey to gather consistent data from all graduating seniors leading up to graduation and over the six to eight months after graduation. Reports are provided at the campus summary level and by-major, and include employment, enrollment in subsequent education programs, and other information about activities after graduation.
The Post-Graduation Plans Survey was used to collect information from graduating seniors about employment and additional education from 2008 to 2016 (see reports).

Outcomes for Masters and PhD Graduates – Exit Survey: The Graduate School conducts an exit survey of graduating masters and doctoral students to collect information about the student experience and plans for employment or additional education. Reports are provided to all graduate programs annually.

College Navigator: College Navigator is a product of the National Center for Education Statistics and has outcomes information, loan default rates, and other information for prospective students. See the UW-Madison report.

College Scorecard: In November 2019 and again in January 2021 the College Scorecard released earnings data on undergraduates. These data are limited to students who had federal financial aid.

Student Learning Outcomes Data: For information about student learning outcomes reporting and data consult the student learning assessment web site. 

Updated August 2021

This page fulfills the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) requirements to make Student Achievement Data readily available, as follows:

“An institution’s information for students and the public shall include information regarding student achievement. This information shall include student retention rates, completion rates or other information appropriate for the mission of the institution and its goals for students.