Unsuccessful grades, commonly referred to as DFW’s, are a substantial source of decreased student retention, progression, and graduation.
For the student, DFW’s can lead to probation, academic dismissal, loss of aid, removal or rejection from program of study, and increased time-to-degree. For the institution, DFW’s lead to off-track student progression, which the institution will often attempt to accommodate through off-track course offerings. Additionally, loss of retention creates a loss in revenue equivalent to the length of the student’s remaining academic career. And, if retention drops too low for a cohort of students, it can generate valleys in course demand that increase underutilized course offerings.
Being able to quickly and effectively identify situations that are leading to higher DFW rates is key to developing strategies and allocating limited resources to increasing student retention, progression, and graduation.