Institutional Research

Institutional Research

Glossary of Terms

Academic Year:  Time period containing the academic sessions held during consecutive Summer, Fall, and Spring semesters.

Associate Degree: A degree granted by a two-year college on successful completion of the undergraduates course of studies

Auditing: Enrolling in (and attending*) a course on a non-credit basis. The instructor's permission is needed and an audit form must be properly completed within the specified time limits for that semester or session.

Benchmark: A standard or point of reference against which groups of conceptually related survey items may be compared or assessed.

CCSSE (Center for Community College Student Engagement: A survey administered during the Spring to mostly returning students, CCSSE asks about institutional practices (orientation, counseling, student success courses etc.) and student behaviors (how they spend their time, how they assess their interactions with faculty, etc.) that are highly correlated with student learning success and retention.  This survey serves as a complimentary piece to the SENSE survey. 

CCFSSE (Community College Faculty Survey of Student Engagement): A survey that elicits information from faculty about their perceptions regarding students’ educational experiences, their teaching practices, and the ways they spend their professional time, both in and out of the classroom.  *Serves as a companion to the CCSSE survey.

Certificate programs: short-term programs, usually 30 credits or less, intended for occupational training, upgrading, or retraining. Students receive a Certificate upon successfully fulfilling all requirements and applying for graduation.

CEU (Continuing Education Unit): A measurement (1 unit=10 class contact hours) nationally recognized by business, industry, and professional organizations for evaluating an individual’s effort toward professional growth. CEUs are designed for professionals with certificates or licenses to practice various professions (nursing, etc.). 

Class Level: A classification of students determined by the amount of credits earned.  Students are classified by Freshmen or Sophomores.

Cohort: Traditional new first-time, first-year students, enrolled in the fall term as collected in the college’s annual survey.  The cohort’s enrollment and registration are tracked over time for the purposes of calculating retention and graduation rates.

Cohort Graduation Rate: Follows the students in a given cohort and determines the percentage that graduate within a given time frame.

Continuing Student: A Continuing Student is one who has attended HCC in the past 2 years.

Course Level:  A classification of courses including Developmental, College 100 and College 200. 

Course Success: A course that is successful is defined by a final grade of A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, or P.

Credit: A standard of measure of the amount of instruction time required to successfully complete a course.

Credit Hour: The college defines a credit hour* as an amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that is an institutionally established equivalence that reasonably approximates not less than -

  1. One hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out-of class student work each week for approximately fifteen weeks for one semester or the equivalent amount of credit over a different period of time;
  2. At least an equivalent amount of work as required in paragraph (1) of this definition for other academic activities as established by the institution including laboratory work, internships, practicum, studio work, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours.

*Standards for Credit Hour of the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education, New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Standards for Accreditation Revision, July 1, 2011. Adopted by Housatonic Community College Curriculum Committee, December 8, 2011.

Degree programs: academic programs requiring 60 to 68 credit hours to complete and which earn the Associate in Arts or the Associate in Science degree designation. An Associate Degree requires a minimum of 60 credits.

Freshman: A student who has accumulated 0-32 GPA credits

Freeze dates: Final enrollment figures for a year.

Full Time Equivalent (FTE):  A unit to measure students in a way that makes them comparable although they may work or study a different number of hours per week.  A full time student is counted as 1 FTE while a part time student gets a score in proportion to the hours he/she studies as compared to 1 FTE.

Full-time Student Status: Students registering for 12 credits or more at HCC.

GPA (Grade Point Average): A numerical computation of the student's academic grade.

Headcount (unduplicated): In a given period of time, the total count of students enrolled in for-credit courses with each student being counted only once regardless of when the students enrolled.

Hybrid courses: courses that combine traditional classroom lectures with online coursework. Normally 50% of course work is conducted by on-campus meetings. All hybrid courses meet in the classroom on the first scheduled day of class.

IPEDS (Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System: The core postsecondary education data collection system for the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).  It is a system of interrelated surveys conducted annually by NCES. Provides basic data needed to describe—and analyze trends in—postsecondary education in the U.S. in terms of numbers of students enrolled, staff employed, dollars expended, and degrees earned.

Major: A subject of academic study chosen as a field of specialization.

New Student: A "New" student is a first-time, first-year student attending any institution for the first time at the undergraduate level. This definition includes students enrolled for the fall term who attended the same college for the first time in the prior summer term. This definition also includes students who entered with advanced standing (college credits earned before graduation from high school - AP, Tech Prep/College Career Pathways, HS Partnership, etc.).

Online courses: courses offered via computer Internet connection, without regularly scheduled on-campus classes. For more information, contact the Director of Distance Learning, 203-332-8571.

Parallel course: a course that must be taken during the same semester as another course in order to fulfill the prerequisite for that course.

Part-Time Student Status: Students registering between 6 and 11 credits at HCC.

Prerequisite course: a course that must be successfully completed before a student can enroll in the next course. Often a grade of "C" or higher is required.

Readmit Student: A "Readmit" student is a student returning to the college after an absence of at least 2 years (including summer and winter sessions).

Retention: Retention is a measure of academic progress of a cohort of students from one term or year to the next.  Retention rate is expressed as a percentage of the students who return each term or year. 

Seats: Duplicated enrollment.  In a given period of time, total count of students enrolled in for-credit courses.

Semester Hour: There are 55 minutes of lecture time per week for an entire semester.

SENSE (Survey of Entering Student Engagement): A survey designed to provide a clear picture of both student behaviors in the earliest weeks of college and the institutional practices that affect students during this critical time.  Looks at how students assess earliest relationships and interactions with instructors, advisors, and other students; what kind of work students are challenged to do; and how the college supports their learning. 

Service Area:  HCC serves an eleven town area in Southwestern Connecticut centering on the City of Bridgeport. Towns include Fairfield, Easton, Bridgeport, Stratford, Milford, Trumbull, Shelton, Derby, Ansonia, Seymour and Monroe

Sophomore: A student earning 33 or more GPA Credits.

Janice Schaeffler, Director of Institutional Research, (203) 332- 5220
Tammalene Mitman, Research Analyst, (203) 332- 5171