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The RP Group
Institutional Research Operational Definitions

Feb 5, 2011  |  The RP Group

A shared set of definitions for common indicators have been established by the RP Group so that California community college researchers will be able to analyze data consistently over time. These definitions were originally adopted by the RP Group in 1996. After considerable consultation with researchers across the state an update and revision was posted in April 2011.

These definitions apply to for-credit classes only. Not-for-credit classes receive grade notations of UG. MIS grade notations are defined here: http://www.cccco.edu/Portals/4/Sx04.pdf

Course Enrollment

Definition: A student is considered to have been enrolled in a course if the student received an end-of-term grade notation that is displayed on their official transcript.

Grade notations indicating valid enrollment: A, B, C, D, F, FW, I*, MW, P/CR, NP/NC, RD, W

Grade notations not indicating valid enrollment:  DR**, UD, XX

* Includes IA, IB, IC, ID, IF, INP, IPP, and IX

** DR = Indicates a drop after first census date, but before the date for receiving a “W”. A “DR” notation has no academic implications for a student and is not included on the student’s transcript. For that reason, the “DR” grade is excluded from most enrollment and success metrics. However, we note that the ARCC report does include “DR” as a valid enrollment indicator.

Course Completion Rate (formerly Retention Rate II)

Definition: Percentage of students who do not withdraw from class and who receive a valid grade.

Numerator: A, B, C, CR, D, F, I*, NC, NP, P, RD

Denominator: A, B, C, CR, D, F, FW, I*, NC, NP, P, RD, W

*Includes IA, IB, IC, ID, IF, INP, IPP, and IX

Excluded grade notations: DR, IP, MW, UD, XX

Course Success Rate

Definition: Percentage of students who receive a passing/satisfactory grade.

Numerator:  A, B, C, CR, IA, IB, IC, IPP, P

Denominator:  A, B, C, CR, D, F, FW, IA, IB, IC, ID, IF, INP, IPP, P, NC, NP, W

Excluded grade notations:  DR, IP, IX, MW, RD, UD, XX

Retention Rate (formerly Persistence Rate)

Definition:Percentage of students who are enrolled as of census for an initial and a subsequent term.

Numerator: The number of students who receive a grade of A, B, C, D, F, FW, I*, MW, P/CR, NP/NC, R, or W in at least one class in the subsequent primary term.     

Denominator: The number of students who receive a grade of A, B, C, D, F, FW, I*, MW, P/CR, NP/NC, R, W in at least one class in the initial primary term.

Exclude:Any students who receive a degree, certificate, or transfer during the time period covered by the first term and subsequent term.

Note: Retention is commonly calculated for two adjacent terms, e.g., Fall 2010 to Spring 2011. This is called “term-to-term” retention. An annual retention rate is also popular, e.g., Fall 2010 to Fall 2011. Intersession terms and summer session terms are typically ignored.

Transfer Ready

Students who complete at least 60 transferable units with at least a 2.0 GPA and who successfully complete any transfer level English and any transfer level math course by earning grades of A, B, C, P, or CR.

Note: Students may be transfer ready by this definition and still not meet the minimum requirements for admission to a given program as admission requirements for particular programs may exceed these minimum requirements.

Transfer Directed

Students who enroll in any transfer level English course and in any transfer level math course.

Transfer Prepared

Student successfully completed 60 UC/CSU transferable units with a GPA >= 2.0).


CR = Credit awarded (satisfactory)

DR = Indicates a drop after first census date, but before the date for receiving a “W”. If for a Positive Attendance section the “DR” indicates a drop before a grade has been earned. New in 2010.

FW = Withdrawn without permission and without having achieved a final passing grade. Equivalent to an “F” for grade point purposes.

IP = In progress, typically awarded when a course has not yet completed as of the grade submission deadline.

IX = Incomplete; if a student does not complete their coursework within one year this grade defaults default to the grade notation following the “I”. It is often submitted without a character in the second position, resulting in an “IX” notation, which is typically interpreted as an “IF”. Other valid notations include: IA, IB, IC, ID, IF, INP, IPP. IPP is used to signify Incomplete/Pass because “IP” alone indicates “In progress” (see above).

NC = No Credit awarded (unsatisfactory)

NP = No Pass (unsatisfactory)

P = Pass (satisfactory)

RD = Report Delayed, used when a course has completed by the time of submission but the instructor has not yet submitted final grades.

UG = Ungraded (Non-Credit)

UD = Ungraded Dependent

XX = legacy notation indicating no appropriate grade notation available. Although not specifically defined as such the “XX” grade notation was a precursor to the “DR” grade notation.

To access the CCCCO Management Information Systems (MIS) Data Mart and related resources, visit Datamart