Measuring Success in STEM Education: Key Metrics for Administrators

Ginelle Testa

As administrators, you want to set your faculty, staff, and students up for success. This means you’ll need to track data points to check for growth or decline so that you can measure yourself against other institutions and find ways to improve. 

When you think about success in your STEM classrooms, these are key metrics to consider: 

  • Student graduation rates
  • Enrollment rates
  • Faculty & staff retention rates
  • Reputation & ranking
  • Diversity & inclusion

1. Student graduation rates

Graduating from a STEM program can lead to better career prospects and higher earnings for students. Improving STEM graduation rates can help enhance student outcomes and provide students with more opportunities for success.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, “In 2020, the overall 6-year graduation rate for first-time, full-time undergraduate students who began seeking a bachelor’s degree at 4-year degree-granting institutions in fall 2014 was 64 percent.” In contrast, it’s less than 40% for STEM graduates

2. Enrollment rates

Student enrollment is a crucial metric for administrators in colleges and universities, as it reflects the popularity and success of the institution. Enrollment rates in STEM fields can help administrators ensure that they are meeting workforce needs and preparing students for in-demand careers in high-growth industries.

According to National Student Clearinghouse, from fall 2012 to fall 2022, college student enrollment dropped in the U.S. by about 1.9 million students, or by almost 10%. According to a 2023 study, STEM enrollment continues to drop as well. 

3. Diversity and inclusion

Diversity and inclusion are increasingly important metrics for colleges and universities, as they reflect the institution's commitment to creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for all students, faculty, and staff. Key metrics include diversity of the student body and faculty, and the institution's efforts to promote diversity and inclusion.

A study found that men persisted at higher rates (65%) than women (48%) from the time of college application to graduation from a four-year program. Get into race, and the statistics are even more stark. The Pew Research Center found that black students earned 7 percent of STEM bachelor’s degrees.

4.  Faculty and staff retention

Research is lacking in faculty and staff retention, but it’s an important metric for administrators, as it reflects the job satisfaction and overall health of the institution. High turnover rates can be costly and disruptive and may indicate underlying issues that need to be addressed.

5. Reputation and rankings

While reputation and rankings are not the only measures of success, they are important metrics for colleges and universities, as they can impact student recruitment, donor support, and overall prestige. Key metrics include national and international rankings, as well as survey results from students, faculty, and other stakeholders.

According to this article in Money that ranked top colleges for STEM majors, “Colleges are scored on the number and share of recent alumni who earned a degree in the STEM fields, as well as the median salaries of recent graduates with STEM degrees.”

Labster virtual labs can help with all of these metrics in STEM classrooms. For example, after using Labster, Fisk University (an HBCU) increased chemistry test scores by 17%. 

See how Labster can help your institute increase STEM KPIs. Book a consultation.
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