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Statement of Educational Effectiveness and Student Achievement

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Phoenix Seminary is committed to integrity and Christian stewardship. Therefore, it engages in systematic evaluation of its effectiveness in producing graduates who possess the knowledge, skills and character indicated in our Educational Values. Student achievement and the Seminary’s educational effectiveness are measured through 1) the assessment of student learning outcomes; 2) graduation and retention rates and 3) graduate satisfaction and successful ministry employment.

Indicators of program effectiveness include both institutional and self-reported participant data that taken together help to ensure congruence between vocational intention and theological training. To aid in consistent and reliable reporting, our evaluative processes incorporate data reported to the Association of Theological Schools (ATS), our professional accrediting association. Two of the most common indicators of educational effectiveness in higher education are completion rates and the placement of graduates. Reports pertaining to these key areas are summarized below.

Master of Arts in Counseling (MAC) students are required to pass the Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination (CPCE) as their comprehensive written exam. The current pass rate of the CPCE is 100% at or above the national examination mean. This exam also helps prepare graduates to take the National Counselor Exam (NCE) which is similar in format and covers the same eight core content areas. Not all graduates take the NCE; some opting to pursue further education or to pursue other vocational opportunities. The current pass rate of graduates known to have taken the NCE is 100%.

Specific questions about the data, or its reporting and analysis may be directed to the Phoenix Seminary Director of Assessment, Roma Royer, at rroyer@ps.edu or 602-429-4947. These data are updated annually early in the calendar year after the filing of the annual ATS report.

Student Learning Outcomes

The majority of our students meet the student learning outcomes reflected in the Educational Values of Phoenix Seminary. Some specific examples include:

  1. For the last three years, 91% of our students have passed the culminating theological oral exam the first time.
  2. The 2015-16 Faculty Juried Review of Graduates indicates that 95% of the student learning outcomes, across all graduate degree programs, were met or exceeded by students. (Reviews were not conducted in 2016-17.)
  3. Highlights from the 2016 PS Student Survey: a) My professors model and teach the proper application of the knowledge I am learning (96%); b) My studies have caused me to discover much new information and have forced me to question the understandings I had when I entered seminary (76%); and c) The degree program I am pursuing is preparing me well for ministry (92.7%).
  4. Employers of PS Graduates (2016 survey) are overwhelmingly positive and affirm: a) They demonstrate a working knowledge and command of the Scriptures (100%); b) They demonstrate an ability to work with people in ministry (95%); c) They are able to communicate biblical truth and apply principles of wisdom to life situations (100%); and d) They live a life of integrity and are beyond reproach (100%).

Graduation and Retention Rates

Completions by Graduation Rate for the Previous Academic Year (ATS Fall 2017 Report)

Program <2 years 2-<3 years 3-<4 years 4-<5 years 5-<6 years 6+ years Totals
MDiv 0 1 0 4 2 0 7
MA in ______  (Special) 0 1 5 2 3 1 12
MABTS 0 1 1 0 0 0 2
DMin 0 1 0 1 1 2 5

 

Graduation Rates by Degree Program

The new (and not yet mandatory) Association of Theological Schools’ Graduation Rates by Degree Program Report calculates graduation rates on the basis of 200% of the normal degree duration requirements to allow for the high number of part-time students in ATS member schools. This report answers the question, “Of the students who began in a particular Fall semester, how many had completed their program within 200% of the normal degree duration?”

  • Master of Divinity Cohort Graduation Rate: 44% (MDiv Students beginning Fall 2011)
  • Master of Arts Cohort Graduation Rate: 62% (MA Students beginning Fall 2013)

Graduation Rates for the Student Body by Gender and Ethnicity

Master of Divinity Cohort:

  • Ethnicity – 82% = White Non-Hispanic; 18% = Multiracial
  • Gender – 100% = Male; 0% = Female

Master of Arts in Ministry/Master of Arts in Biblical and Theological Studies Cohort:

  • Ethnicity – 40% = White Non-Hispanic; 20% = Hispanic; 20% = African American; 20% = Asian American
  • Gender – 20% = Male; 80% = Female

Graduation / Persistence Rates

The new (and not yet mandatory) Association of Theological Schools’ Graduation / Persistence Report calculates graduation and persistence rates by extending the scope beyond 200% of the normal degree duration requirements, once again to allow for the high number of part-time students in ATS member schools. This report answers the question, “Of the students who began in a particular Fall semester, how many have since completed their degree or are still actively making progress towards their degree?”

  • Master of Divinity Cohort Graduation / Persistence Rate: 52% (MDiv Students beginning Fall 2011)
  • Master of Arts Cohort Graduation / Persistence Rate: 67% (MA Students beginning Fall 2013)

Retention Rates

Although IPEDS [Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System] requires the reporting of retention information for undergraduate institutions, it does not give an option for graduate schools like Phoenix Seminary to report the same. That being said, IPEDS’ measure for Retention Rates can be adapted to work in graduate settings as the percentage of first-time degree-seeking students from the previous Fall semester who either re-enrolled or successfully completed their program by the subsequent Fall semester. This report answers the question, “Of the degree-seeking students who were enrolled in a particular Fall semester, how many either successfully completed their degree or were actively making progress towards their degree in the subsequent Fall semester?”

  • Fall 2016 to Fall 2017 Retention Rate: 68.18%
  • Fall 2015 to Fall 2016 Retention Rate: 82.32%
  • Fall 2014 to Fall 2015 Retention Rate: 78.44%

Graduate Satisfaction and Ministry Employment

Graduate Satisfaction

The ATS Graduating Student Questionnaire reports the following areas of growth and satisfaction among Phoenix Seminary’s recent graduates:

PS graduates rate their seminary education as being most effective in facilitating these areas of personal growth:

  • Trust in God (2012-17)
  • Enthusiasm for learning (2017)

PS graduates rate their seminary education as being most effective in facilitating the following skill areas (2011-17):

  • Ability to use and interpret Scripture
  • Ability to think theologically

PS graduates were most satisfied with the following services and academic resources (2017):

  • Financial aid
  • Quality of teaching
  • Class size

Ministry Employment

The majority of Phoenix Seminary students find ministry positions while they are in seminary or are already in ministry when they begin attending seminary.  The following percentage of students secured such a position upon graduation:

 

2016-17 2015-16* 2014-15* 2013-14*
Master of Divinity 50% 70% 85% 88%
MA in Ministry/MA in Counseling 90% 81% 82% 90% (MAM)
MA in BTS 100% 50% N/A N/A

*As reported to the Association of Theological Schools

 

The Master of Arts in Counseling (MAC) is a relatively new program beginning in the 2014-15 academic year. To date, the program has 12 graduates. Sixty-seven percent of these graduates have been licensed. Twenty-five percent are unknown as to their pursuit of licensure and 8% are not pursuing licensure. Seventy-five percent of graduates have been offered employment by their internship site.

Phoenix Seminary offers Vocational Assistance for students who are seeking placement during or after their studies. Graduates are serving in the following ways: pastoral ministry in the local church; intercultural ministry overseas and in the U.S.; various levels of leadership in a variety of para-church organizations; counseling and chaplaincy in secular and Christian arenas; leadership in the marketplace through professions such as law, business and medicine; and lay ministers in the local church.

The 2016-17 ATS Graduating Student Questionnaire results for Phoenix Seminary reflect this information:

Position Expected After Graduation

This information demonstrates the ministry expectations of new PS graduates:

Position anticipated upon graduation by PS graduates
(ATS Graduating Student Questionnaire 2016-17 – 100% response rate)  
Pastor 28.6%
Other 19.0%
Associate Pastor 14.3%
Social work/social services 14.3%
Unsure what position within a congregation 4.8%
Secondary/prep school teaching 4.8%
Military chaplaincy 4.8%
Missionary service 4.2%
Exec/admin of For Profit  4.8%
Undecided 0.0%
PS graduates offered a position upon graduation
(ATS Graduating Student Questionnaire 2016-17 – 100% response rate)
Yes 23.8%
No 33.3%
Continuing in present ministry position 28.6%
Earned degree for personal use and won’t seek related employment 4.8%
Plan to pursue further study after this degree 9.5%

 

Page updated on 12/01/2017.

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