Investing in Quality

Bridgepoint Education emphasizes quality at every step in our processes, and Ashford University and University of the Rockies are our nationally recognized brands built upon this paradigm. Investing in best practices further strengthens our brands and drives quality outcomes for our students.

Course Design and Certification

Course development is guided by best practice standards in instructional design, and faculty members are guided through a process that includes a checklist, template, and a multitude of resources based on learning theory, principles of instructional design, and methods in educational practice.

Quality Matters™ is an important third-party quality assurance process that is utilized by both of our universities. Quality Matters certifies the quality of college-level courses through professional peer-reviews in the higher education community. Quality Matters examines 40 specific course design elements, under eight broad standards, to assess the quality of online and hybrid courses and the alignment of critical course components. Our academic team benefits from this process by receiving feedback on each course from professionals at other universities and derives value in participating in the review of their courses as well.

Faculty Qualifications and Assessment

Ashford University faculty members receive extensive training in technology and teaching methodology. The University upholds the same high standards of quality for all faculty members, those who deliver undergraduate as well as graduate instruction, campus-based or online. Instructional Specialists monitor online learning activities, and Faculty Performance Reports (FPR) provide data on faculty teaching load, faculty GPA for each course, and withdrawal rates for each course. In addition, peer reviews are conducted to provide a holistic assessment of a faculty member's classroom performance in the areas of student engagement, fostering critical thinking, instructor expertise, constructive feedback to students, and high expectations. Student end-of-course surveys are another measure utilized by the University to assess student satisfaction and faculty performance.

All faculty members at University of the Rockies must have an earned doctorate from a regionally accredited institution of higher education, or from a foreign equivalent, in a field related to the subject matter they will teach. They must also have career experience in applying their subject matter knowledge and skills. University of the Rockies also utilizes extensive faculty training and evaluation methodologies.

Transparency and Accountability

We are committed to the highest standards of transparency and accountability. Both Ashford University and University of the Rockies maintain robust disclosure data on student characteristics, satisfaction, performance, and alumni data. This commitment to transparency ensures prospective students can make informed decisions and our institutions can focus on continuous improvement.

Validation

Ashford University's students consistently score well compared to various national benchmarks.

Standardized Assessment of Information Literacy Skills (SAILS)

Project SAILS is a standardized test of information literacy skills, based on the Association of College & Research Libraries' Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education. Results from the Fall 2011 administration of the test1, which included 2,234 total respondents, indicate that students at Ashford University performed about the same as, or better than the benchmark, as shown in the chart below.

1 SAILS - Standardized Assessment of Information Literacy Skills, Kent State Univ., Dec. 2011

NSSE

In the 2011 National Survey of Student Engagement, Ashford Student First Year and Senior survey respondent scores were higher than the national respondent mean ratings on questions relating to relationships, diverse perspectives, ten questions concerned with educational and personal growth such as thinking critically and analytically, and reading. Furthermore, Ashford Student Senior survey respondent scores were higher on an additional question relating to reading. Selected survey responses are highlighted below.

UniLOA

The University Learning Outcomes Assessment (UniLOA) is a survey that measures student behaviors within the domains of Critical Thinking, Self- Awareness, Communication Skills, Diversity, Citizenship, Membership & Leadership, and Relationships. With a total sample size of 41,662 in 2010, Ashford University students' mean scores exceeded the national norms in every category except Citizenship.2

2 UniLOA - University Learning Outcomes Assessment Results Report, The Center for Learning Outcomes, Dec. 2010

Delivering Value and Student Satisfaction

In addition to ensuring academic quality, our institutions are focused on offering our students an educational package that meets their needs at one of the most competitive prices in the industry. We offer students a practical educational experience for their careers, and our degree programs validate this practicality, with a majority of students concentrating on degrees in business, health care, and education.

Ashford University undergraduates, Fall 2011 enrollment, by college of study

Ashford University undergraduates,Fall 2011 enrollment, by college of study

Salary Data

Results from our alumni surveys demonstrate the value of an Ashford degree and the impact it is having on improving the lives of our alumni and their families. Our 2011 alumni survey indicates that Bachelor's degree graduate salaries increased 11.6% from an average of $40,317 at the time of enrollment to a current salary of $44,977. Based on responses from our graduate-degree earners, we estimate that the average salary of our alumni is $55,513, which is an increase of 11.0% over the average salary of $50,032 they were earning when they first enrolled at Ashford.

Student Satisfaction

Our focus on quality and innovation is making a difference to the students we serve, and we believe their opinions and outcomes are among the best measures of quality. Some highlights from our 2011 alumni survey include:

  • 87% of responding alumni agree that earning their degree from Ashford gave them the confidence to pursue new job opportunities
  • 92% of responding graduates indicated that they were satisfied or very satisfied with their Ashford experience
  • 91% of the alumni agree that earning their Ashford degree was worth the time commitment required to fulfill their educational goals
  • Of the 89% of alumni who reported having previously attended a traditional institution, 92% feel the quality of education at Ashford University is the same as, or higher than, a traditional college or university

Another measure we believe that is indicative of satisfaction is the percentage of our Ashford graduates continuing on in graduate school with one of our institutions. Of the respondents to our 2010 and 2011 alumni surveys who said they were going on for another degree, 51% said they had chosen either Ashford or University of the Rockies to continue their education, with 5% still undecided.

Retention Rate

We are focused on monitoring and improving the academic performance of our current students by measuring cohort retention and expected class graduation rates. We measure a cohort based on active enrollments at a point in time, which are defined as students who have completed their first three semester credits, and go on to complete a 12-month period. This measurement is adjusted to reflect students who complete, graduate, drop out or re-enter the institution. On this basis, the 12 month retention rate for 2011 was 61%, up slightly from last year's 60% and consistent with the 60 to 64% range we have had over the last four years. We have achieved or exceeded 60% for each of the last four years, even as total enrollments at our two institutions have increased significantly.

Graduation Rate

Graduation rates at Ashford tell a story of consistency. This year is the first in which we can report a 6-year graduation rate for our online Bachelor's students, and the graduation rate from the point of completion of the second course is 51%. For our graduate programs we measure graduations for a period equal to 150% of program length, and we are currently showing a graduation rate of 74%. These graduation rates compare very favorably to those of our peers, as well as to the rates at public and not-for-profit colleges.