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Accountability through performance measures in academic education – North Carolina Community Colleges case study


North Carolina Community Colleges Performance

North Carolina Community Colleges  initiated in1993 an accountability system for monitoring performance data on specific measures to ensure public accountability for programs and services. In 2011, The Critical Success Factors report was launched as an accountability document presenting 8 generic performance measures based on which the Board reviews performance.

  • A. Progress of Basic Skills Students;
  • B. Passing Rates on Licensure and Certification Examinations;
  • C. Performance of College Transfer Students;
  • D. Passing Rates of Students in Developmental Courses;
  • E. Success Rates of Developmental Students in Subsequent College‐Level Courses;
  • F. Satisfaction of Program Completers and Non‐Completers;
  • G. Curriculum Student Retention, Graduation, and Transfer;
  • H. Client Satisfaction with Customized Training (North Carolina Community Colleges, 2011).

Based on these performance measures, a recognition system was developed: the Colleges receive Recognition of Exceptional Institutional Performance if they meet or exceed all eight performance measures, have no licensure exams with a passing rate of less than 70%, and college transfer students perform at a level equal to or above native UNC system students (North Carolina Community Colleges, 2011).

The chart above indicates the evolution by year of the number of colleges who have met the standard for the individual performance measures, the number of colleges who have met all eight performance standards, and the number of colleges receiving Recognition of Exceptional Institutional Performance.

A performance measure within the report is the % Satisfaction of program completers and non-completers, calculated as the percentage of graduates and early-leavers “very satisfied” or “satisfied” with the overall quality of the college. The performance standard is 90% satisfaction level, the aggregate result for the system being 96%.

North Carolina Community Colleges Performance

Source: North Carolina Community Colleges (2011)

North Carolina Community Colleges is an example of an organization using KPIs and performance measures in practice for establishing an accountability system. For similar performance reports, visit KPIs in practice section from, containing a free online catalogue of reports that illustrate the use of performance measures in practice by organizations from around the world (, 2011).


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