SACS Reaffirmation of Accreditation Site
Overview Compliance Certification Quality Enhancement Plan Resources SACS Evaluators Hillsbrough Community College
4.1 Student Achievement
When evaluating success with respect to student achievement in relation to the institution’s mission, the institution includes, as appropriate, consideration of course completion, state licensing examinations, and job placement rates.
Judgment of Compliance
Narrative/Justification for Judgment of Compliance

Hillsborough Community College, when evaluating success with respect to student achievement in relationship to HCC’s mission of empowering students to excel, includes, as appropriate, consideration of course completion, state licensing exams, and job placement.  Additionally, HCC complies with Florida Statutes Section 1008, which is entitled Assessment and Accountability and mandates that “The State Board of Education [shall] establish performance measures and set performance standards for individual components of the public education system, including individual schools and postsecondary educational institutions, with measures and standards based primarily on student achievement.”  Numerous performance measures are required by this mandate, including retention rates, graduation rates, transfer program rates, etc.  Information on State accountability measures for the past three academic years is summarized on the HCC Student Achievement Evaluation report.  Specific information on how the College reviews student achievement through course completion, licensing, and job placement is provided below.

Course Completion  

These three elements - Course Performance Report, Faculty Self-Assessment Report, and SAP standards - allow HCC to review student achievement through consideration of course completion: the Course Performace Report, the Faculty Self- Assessment Report, and Satisfactory Academic Progress standards.

Hillsborough Community College's Office of Institutional Research (IR) has developed a Course Performance Report for all credit courses, including information on course completion, grade performance, withdrawal rates, and course success rates.  This report is reviewed by the Student Success, Retention and Placement Committee and academic administrators.  As indicated in the Course Performance Report, over the last three academic years, there has been an average course completion rate of 88%.

Course completion information is also distributed each term to faculty and deans as a part of the College’s faculty self-assessment process.  Individual components of the course performance report are utilized to generate the Faculty Self-Assessment Report.  This report is used as an evaluative tool to review course completion and support faculty in the development of learning strategies for students.

The Faculty Self-Assessment Report has four parts.

  • Part one, Faculty Self-Assessment, identifies the faculty member, course, and discipline.
  • Part two, Student Background, provides student achievement history to give faculty a context for examining performance in the course.
  • Part three, Number of Courses, Sections & Students, summarizes faculty instructional activity for the term, including the number of sections and students for each course of instruction.
  • Part four has two parts: Student Background, and GPA and Withdrawal Comparisons. This section shows
    • the course grade distribution, and
    • the course grade point average (GPA), and withdrawal or non-completion rate for the individual faculty, and for all sections of the course.

In further support of student achievement through course completion is the student Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requirement. In order to remain eligible to receive Title IV Student Financial Assistance (SFA) program funds while attending HCC, students must make steady progress toward their chosen academic goals.

The HCC SAP policy, HCC Rule 6HX-10-5.403, has three standards that a student must meet in order to remain eligible to receive Title IV SFA funds - a qualitative standard, a quantitative standard, and a time standard. HCC's qualitative standard requires recipients to maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.0. The quantitative standard requires recipients to satisfactorily complete 67% of all courses they attempt. The time standard requires recipients to complete their academic program by the time they have attempted 150% of the credits required in their programs. Standards of progress evaluations occur at the end of fall and spring semesters.

Students who fail to meet the SAP standards are placed on academic probation for one term. If, after one probationary term, students are not making satisfactory progress, they will lose their eligibility for financial assistance. In order to regain eligibility, students must meet the SAP standards.

In the 2004-2005 academic year, 84% of 39,199 students to whom the SAP standards applied, achieved the status of satisfactory academic progress.  However, 10% were placed on financial aid suspension and 6% were placed on financial aid probation. 

Program Licensure Examination Rates

Professional licensure offers an external means of certifying that our students have acquired the competencies necessary to excel in their chosen fields.  All of HCC’s limited-access programs are accredited by the various program-specific accrediting bodies (e.g. State Board of Nursing).  HCC’s nine Health Sciences programs which require licensure are Dental Hygiene, Emergency Medical Services (EMS)-Paramedics, Nuclear Medicine, Radiography, Respiratory Care, Nursing, Opticianry, Radiation Therapy, and Sonography.  A synopsis of student achievement in the individual programs during recent years is given below (HCC Program Licensure Pass Rates):

  • Though the Dental Assisting licensure examination is not required for employment, our students have been encouraged to take the examination as a measure of their knowledge and achievement.  Of the students who have taken the examination, there has been an average pass rate of 90% over the past two years.
  • The College had its first Dental Hygiene graduating class in 2005.  The graduates had a 100% pass rate on the National Dental Hygiene licensure examination and on the State of Florida boards.
  • The Sonography program has had an average licensure examination pass rate of 84.4% for the past three academic years. 
  • HCC’s Nursing program generally has over 400 applicants annually.  A few years ago, during a routine assessment of student achievement, the nursing faculty evaluated the effectiveness of the program and identified a significant decline in the percentage of students passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX).  As a result, the department formulated and instituted an aggressive plan to increase student preparation for the NCLEX examination. Computerized Health Education Systems, Inc (HESI) exams were administered at the end of every course, prerequisite courses were increased, and a new curriculum was implemented.   As a result, the pass rates on the NCLEX have steadily increased over the past two years to an impressive 84.17% for the 2004-2005 academic year.  Furthermore, HCC ranked 8th in the nation in awarding Associate Degrees in Nursing in the 2003-2004 academic year.
  • The students in the EMS-Paramedics program have performed well on the licensure examination.  For the past three academic years they have achieved passage rates of 100%, 97%, and 100%.
  • In the Nuclear Medicine program, the average licensure examination pass rate was 84.6% for the past three years.
  • The licensure examination pass rate in the Radiography program has consistently increased over the past three academic years.  From 2002-2003 to 2003-2004, there was an increase of 12% and there was an increase of 7% from 2003-2004 to 2004-2005.
  • The Respiratory Care program had an average licensure examination pass rate of 90.4% over the past three academic years.
  • The Opticianry program has been a part of HCC’s Health Sciences offerings for approximately thirty years.  During that time, the program has been consistently evaluated and improved.  However, there has been a steady decline in the licensure examination pass rates of HCC Opticianry students for the past two academic years.  Upon closer analysis, the department found that the students were performing below level on only two sections of the examination, Lens Neutralization and Lens Identification.  These two sections had been dramatically changed by the examiners in 2004.  In order to reverse the decline, HCC's Opticianry program has purchased new equipment to create a state-of-the-art Neutralization and Lens Identification laboratory for students to facilitate the acquisition of critical hands-on experience and has scheduled a meeting with the Board of Optometry to discuss examination sample questions and examination procedures.
  • Over the past three academic years, the average licensure examination pass rate for the Radiation Therapy program was 89.2%.

Vocational Program Job Placement Rates

Hillsborough Community College provides the State of Florida with data regarding the number of students who have completed the College's vocational programs on an annual basis.  Based on this data, the State of Florida Education and Training Placement Information Program (FETPIP) collects and publishes data on a range of performance measures for the vocational programs at all of the state’s community colleges and post-secondary career centers.  These outcomes are generated annually and published in each College catalog (Program Placement Rates p. 173 of HCC Catalog). These data show that the College’s vocational program completers have had consistently high job placement rates for the 2002-2004 reporting periods.  Additionally, HCC job placement rates have consistently increased, while the average job placement rates of the Florida Community College System (FCCS) have steadily decreased over the same time period, as shown in the chart below. 





Vocational  Program Placement  Rates













Hiilsborough Community College, as a part of its program review, accreditation, and biennial planning system, systematically and continuously reviews program curriculum and processes to ensure student success.  Program reviews (e.g. Associate of Arts)) are conducted every five years for academic programs (cross-reference Federal Requirement 4.2).  The accreditation timetable is established by the accrediting bodies for the individual programs.  The biennial planning process is an additional opportunity for each unit in the College to establish objectives for student success in relation to HCC's mission.

In summary, HCC student achievement is assessed continually, and appropriate measures are taken to further facilitate the continued success of our students in achieving their educational goals.

Supporting Documentation