Student Achievement

Because an integral part of the Texas A&M University (TAMU) mission is "the discovery, development, communication, and application of knowledge in a wide range of academic and professional fields,” the institution seeks to provide an exceptional education to undergraduate, graduate, and professional students in a wide range of disciplines.

The institution’s mission is unambiguous regarding the provision of an exceptional education to all students at all levels.  This commitment is institutionalized in the first goal of the 2015-2020 Strategic Plan – “to provide an outstanding educational experience for all students.”

As a comprehensive university, the provision of an exceptional education is based, in part, on the establishment and routine monitoring of student achievement metrics with targets for undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. The routine assessment of each provides university officials and the public indicators of the extent to which the mission, related goals, and priorities of the institution are being achieved. 

Undergraduate Student Achievement

TAMU has established goals for undergraduate student achievement in five areas:
  1. First-Year Retention
  2. Four-Year Graduation
  3. Six-Year Graduation
  4. Participation in High Impact Learning Experiences, and
  5. Underrepresented Minorities and Hispanic Enrollment


Goal 1 in the TAMU 2015 - 2020 Strategic Plan is to “commit to a university culture that ensures timely completion of degrees at all levels.”  Retention rates are an instrumental and necessary step toward completion of the degree.  The institution aspires to a 95% retention rate for all students in the first year with a threshold of acceptability at 90%.

First-Year Retention
First-Time Full-Time (FTFT) Students
Fall Cohort Threshold Actual Target
2012 90% 91.0% 95%
2013 90% 90.1% 95%
2014 90% 89.8% 95%
2015 90% 90.7% 95%
2016 90% 91.7% 95%
2017 90% 92.1% 95%
Transfer Students
2012 90% 90.0% 95%
2013 90% 91.7% 95%
2014 90% 91.1% 95%
2015 90% 90.1% 95%
2016 90% 92.6% 95%
2017 90% 93.0% 95%
Click here for more information from our Accountability website

Graduation Rates

TAMU is committed to ensuring that graduation norms are timely and that undergraduate students complete their degrees.  The institution aspires to a four-year graduation rate across all First-Time Full-Time (FTFT) students of 65%, with a threshold of acceptability of 50%.  Data indicate progress in achieving both the established thresholds of acceptability as well as the longer-range targets for four-year graduation rates, and a target of 85% for six-year graduation rates for First-Time Full-Time for the previous five cohorts of students.

Four-Year Graduation Rates for FTFT Students
Fall Cohort Threshold Actual Target
2009 50% 50.8% 65%
2010 50% 52.2% 65%
2011 50% 54.1% 65%
2012 50% 55.1% 65%
2013 50% 55.0% 65%
2014 50% 56.2% 65%

Six-Year Graduation Rates for FTFT Students
Fall Cohort Threshold Actual Target
2007 75% 79.3% 85%
2008 75% 79.5% 85%
2009 75% 79.0% 85%
2010 75% 80.3% 85%
2011 75% 82.1% 85%
2012 75% 81.9% 85%

For transfer students, TAMU aspires to a four-year graduation rate of 85% with a threshold of acceptability at 75%.

Four-Year Graduation Rates for Transfer Students
Fall Cohort Threshold Actual Target
2009 75% 78.8% 85%
2010 75% 81.4% 85%
2011 75% 78.7% 85%
2012 75% 79.8% 85%
2013 75% 82.2% 85%
2014 75% 82.6% 85%
Click here for more information from our Accountability website

High Impact Learning Experiences

The five year initiative, Aggies Commit to Learning for a Lifetime, focused heavily on facilitating student participation in high impact learning experiences. The commitment to fostering student engagement in such experiences is reflected in the institution’s strategic plan which commits to facilitating “a university culture that ensures all students engage in high impact learning experiences in their curricular, co-curricular, and extra-curricular experiences” (2015 - 2020 Strategic Plan, Goal 3). 

For this metric, the university focuses on eight high impact learning experiences: participation in learning communities, capstone experiences, first-year experiences/seminars, writing-intensive courses, internships/field experiences, study abroad, service learning experiences, and undergraduate research. 
The institution aspires to have 75% of graduates having participated in any three of the eight high impact experiences and a threshold of acceptability of 50% of its graduates.

Percent of Graduating Seniors Having Participated in Any 3 of the Identified HILEs 
Academic Year Threshold  Actual  Target
AY13-14 50% 48.5% 75%
AY14-15 50% 49.5% 75%
AY15-16 50% 58.1% 75%
AY16-17 50% 69.3% 75%
AY17-18 50% 73.8% 75%
* Courses defined as high impact can be changed by the colleges and may impact previously reported percentages.

Underrepresented Minority Enrollment

As a public land-grant institution, it is imperative that the institution serve individuals from all racial and ethnic groups as highlighted in both the mission and the strategic plan of the institution.  TAMU’s strategic plan commits to “increasing the number of graduating students who identify as African-American or Hispanic” (TAMU 2015 - 2020 Strategic Plan, Goal 3) in order to meet the institution’s mission of serving “persons of all racial, ethnic and geographic groups as it addresses the needs of an increasingly diverse population”. 

Using the National Science Foundation definition of underrepresented minority, the institution established a target of 30% enrollment of undergraduate students from three racial and ethnic groups – African Americans, Hispanics, and American Indians or Alaska Natives. The threshold for acceptability for enrollment of students from these three groups is 25%.

Enrollment of Underrepresented Minority Students
Semester Threshold  Actual Target
Fall 2013 25% 23.1% 30%
Fall 2014 25% 24.2% 30%
Fall 2015 25% 25.6% 30%
Fall 2016 25% 26.6% 30%
Fall 2017 25% 27.1% 30%
Fall 2018 25% 27.7% 30%

Hispanics represent the largest underrepresented minority in the state (representing 39% of the state population as of July, 2016). Texas A&M University aspires to enroll 25% of the undergraduate population from this particular demographic group in order to be certified as a Hispanic-serving institution.

Enrollment of Hispanic Students
Semester Actual Target
Fall 2013 19.6% 25%
Fall 2014 20.6% 25%
Fall 2015 21.8% 25%
Fall 2016 22.6% 25%
Fall 2017 23.3% 25%
Fall 2018 24.1% 25%
Click here for more information from our Accountability website

Graduate and Professional Student Achievement

Over 14,000 students were enrolled in a graduate or professional program at TAMU in the fall 2017, representing over 20% of the student body.  The institution is dedicated to the discovery and application of knowledge in a wide range of graduate and professional academic fields.  As reinforced in Vision 2020, TAMU recognizes that "a substantially expanded graduate studies effort is critical to our academic aspirations and to our effectiveness as a great research university.”

Therefore, TAMU has established goals for graduate and professional student achievement in three areas:
  1. Time to Degree
  2. Completion Rates
  3. Professional Program Licensure Rates 

Time to Degree

Time to degree in graduate programs varies widely based on the diversity of the program structure and its students served (e.g., thesis vs. non-thesis, distance programs for working professionals, etc.). Therefore, the target for master's degrees is completion within two years and completion for doctoral graduate degrees within five years.  Due to the variations in program structure, 2.5 years for completion of master’s degrees and 6.5 years for doctoral degrees are considered acceptable.

Time to Degree 
Master's Students: Time to Degree in Years
Academic Year Threshold Actual (ave) Target
AY12 - 13 2.5 yrs 2.15 yrs 2.00 yrs
AY13 - 14 2.5 yrs 2.13 yrs 2.00 yrs
AY14 - 15 2.5 yrs 2.14 yrs 2.00 yrs
AY15 - 16 2.5 yrs 2.12 yrs 2.00 yrs
AY16 - 17 2.5 yrs 2.09 yrs 2.00 yrs
AY17 - 18 2.5 yrs 2.06 yrs 2.00 yrs
Doctoral Students: Time to Degree in Years
AY12 - 13 6.5 yrs 5.82 yrs 5.00 yrs
AY13 - 14 6.5 yrs 5.85 yrs 5.00 yrs
AY14 - 15 6.5 yrs 6.03 yrs 5.00 yrs
AY15 - 16 6.5 yrs 5.97 yrs 5.00 yrs
AY16 - 17 6.5 yrs 5.93 yrs 5.00 yrs
AY17 - 18 6.5 yrs 5.92 yrs 5.00 yrs
Click here for more information from our Accountability website
Completion Rates

TAMU also evaluates student achievement by percentage of graduates completing the degree by the established target.  For master’s students, the target established was 75% completion within two years, with an acceptable threshold level of 50% completion within two years.  For doctoral students, the established target was 65% completion in six years, with an acceptable threshold level of 50% completion within six years. For doctoral students, the established target was 75% completion in 10 years, with an acceptable threshold level of 60% within 10 years.

Completion Rates
Master's Students: Percent graduating within 2 years
Cohort Year Threshold Actual Target
2011 50% 62.07% 75%
2012 50% 64.88% 75%
2013 50% 65.77% 75%
2014 50% 66.56% 75%
2015 50% 69.47% 75%
2016 50% 68.98% 75%
Doctoral Students: Percent graduating within 6 years
Cohort Year Threshold Actual Target
2007 50% 56.1% 65%
2008 50% 55.7% 65%
2009 50% 58.3% 65%
2010 50% 53.6% 65%
2011 50% 59.0% 65%
2012 50% 58.7% 65%
Doctoral Students: Percent graduating within 10 years
Cohort Year Threshold Actual Target
2003 60% 63.2% 75%
2004 60% 66.2% 75%
2005 60% 66.9% 75%
2006 60% 63.9% 75%
2007 60% 67.7% 75%
Click here for more information from our Accountability website

Professional Program Licensure Rates

Finally, professional programs frequently use licensure exam pass rates as an indicator of student achievement.  In accordance with Texas Administrative Code (19 TAC §4.272), the five first professional degrees at TAMU are the DVM, JD, DDS, MD, and PharmD.  Licensure pass rate definitions, targets, and data over the last five cohorts of students are discussed in turn below. 

Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM)
Upon completing their program of study and training, veterinary students must pass the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (NAVLE) as a requirement for practicing veterinary medicine in the United States.  The examination measures students' knowledge of veterinary science and diagnostic skills. The College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences established a target pass rate of 100% on the NAVLE with a threshold of acceptability at 90%.  The program accreditor, the American Veterinary Medical Association, requires an 80% pass rate.  The table below presents the pass rates for veterinary students for the last five cohorts demonstrating consistent achievement of the established threshold and progress towards achieving the target. 
NAVLE Licensure Pass Rates for DVM
Year Threshold Actual  Target
2013 90% 98% 100%
2014 90% 98% 100%
2015 90% 95% 100%
2016 90% 96% 100%
2017 90% 96% 100%
Doctor of Jurisprudence (JD)

The School of Law was acquired from Texas Wesleyan University and formally approved by SACSCOC in 2013.  Students in the program under Texas Wesleyan continued while TAMU admitted its first cohort of students in the fall 2014, with the first cohort of TAMU graduates as of the spring 2017 (who then began taking the Texas Bar Examination as of July, 2017).  The Texas Bar Examination, a requirement to be licensed to practice law in Texas, is administered twice a year – once in February and once in July.  The college's threshold for acceptability is the average first time examinees' pass rate among ABA-accredited law schools in Texas for the given year (thus based on both the February and July results), with an established target to be in the top four average scores among these accredited schools. The table below presents the first time examinees' pass rate for the July administration of the Texas Bar Examination (thus for the first cohort of TAMU law students) and the average pass rate across the ABA-accredited law schools in Texas (also based on the July examination administration). The table below demonstrates the established threshold of acceptability was met for the first cohort of TAMU examinees and progress towards meeting the established target.

First Time Pass Rates on the Texas Bar Examination
Examination Administration State Average Actual  Ranking (out of 10)
July, 2017 81.00% 83.45% 6th 
Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS)
The College of Dentistry students pursuing the DDS must take and pass the National Board Dental Examination (NBE I and NBE II) as well as the Western Regional Exam Board (WREB).  The NBE assesses students knowledge of biomedical sciences (NBE I) as well as their ability to apply such information to clinical cases (NBE II).  The WREB exam is a standardized clinical exam assessing students' procedural competency.  Both a target and an acceptable threshold were established based on prior performance and state and regional trends. The threshold for acceptability (as established for state reporting purposes) is 90% with the established target of 100% for first time pass rates. The table below demonstrates achievement of the threshold and progress toward the target established for each of these (NBE I and II; WREB) for the last five years.
First Time Pass Rates on NBE and WREB
Academic Year Threshold NBE I  NBE II WREB Target
2012 - 13 90% 90% 89% 87% 100%
2013 - 14 90% 98% 89% 76% 100%
2014 - 15 90% 100% 94% 96% 100%
2015 - 16 90% 99% 93% 92% 100%
2016 - 17 90% 94% 91% 95% 100%
Doctor of Medicine (MD) 
Students pursuing an MD through the College of Medicine must pass the three-step US Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) for licensure in the United States. Step 1 assesses understanding of important concepts of science basic to the practice of medicine and must be passed in order to proceed with clinical training.  Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK) assesses students’ ability to apply medical knowledge essential for the provision of medical care, whereas Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) directly assesses students ability to gather information from simulated patients, perform physical examinations, and communicate in a patient-centered manner overall.  Students in the College of Medicine must complete Step 1 in order to progress through the program and typically take Step 2 CK and Step 2 CS prior to graduation.  With respect to targets, the college compares achievement rates of its students annually to the national average on each Step. The table below presents the first time pass rates on each Step, along with the national average for the last five years.  With the exception of two years (on Step 2 CS) as shown in the table below, all other values exceeded the national average for the given year.
First Time Pass Rates on the USMLE Compared to National Averages
Academic Year Step 1 ACTUAL Step 1 Ave Step 2 CK ACTUAL Step 2 CK Ave Step 2 CS ACTUAL Step 2 CS Ave
2012-13 95% 95% 99% 98% 99% 98%
2013-14 97% 96% 98% 97% 93% 96%
2014-15 98% 96% 95% 95% 100% 96%
2015-16 97% 95% 96% 96% 96% 97%
2016-17 95% 95% 96% 96% 98% 96%
Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) 
College of Pharmacy students take two tests for licensure.  The North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination (NAPLEX) measures one’s ability to measure pharmacotherapy and therapeutic outcomes, prepare and dispense medication, and implement and evaluate information for optimal health care. The Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Exam (MJPE) assesses competency and knowledge of pharmacy law.  College leadership, in collaboration with university leadership and other stakeholders, established targets based on the mission of both the university and college mission of providing access to under-served communities along with a review of peer institution trends.  First-time pass rates for both exams are provided in the table below. 
First Time Pass Rates for the NAPLEX and the MJPE
Academic Year NAPLEX Actual MPJE Actual  Target (for both)
2012-2013 92.0% 97.0% 85%
2013-2014 94.1% 98.9% 85%
2014-2015 88.6% 96.1% 85%
2015-2016 82.0% 96.0% 85%
2016-2017 93.5% 95.5% 90%