In a very unique and interesting data project, the National Science Foundation (NSF) tracks doctoral completions and connects them to the institution granting the original baccalaureate degree. Between 1996 and 2005, Wittenberg produced 4270 baccalaureate degrees. Between 2001 and 2010, Wittenberg graduates earned 212 research degrees (PhD, ScD and EdD). (Professional degrees are not included in the project.)
Wittenberg is a member of the Higher Education Data Sharing Consortium (HEDS). The research staff at HEDS constructed a model attempting to predict doctoral production among a sample of 1279 schools. By extension, the model was used to determine “over-performers”, i.e. those schools whose graduates earned more doctoral degrees than expected.
Using a nonlinear regression analysis, with SAT and ACT scores for entering first year students as the main predictor, the HEDS model predicted that Wittenberg graduates were expected to earn 2.18 doctoral degrees per 100 baccalaureate degrees granted. In fact, our grads earned 4.96 doctoral degrees per 100 baccalaureate degrees. Among the 1279, this result placed Wittenberg in the 40th position, 1.91 standard deviations above the predicted value. A high proportion of the variation among schools in doctoral completion was explained by the model.
What is interesting is that by the method used in the paper, we outperformed many large research institutions.