Student Success – RealityCheck

Your pathway to understanding and improving student success

RealityCheck is Different

Completion is a critical measure of student success; that’s why it is the basis for the RealityCheck Report. But the pathway to improving completion rates of students at your institution who need the most support isn’t always clear. Student success metrics with RealityCheck provides you with a more direct path by giving you new, more comprehensive insight to your students’ success by counting all undergraduate students. The RealityCheck Report is concise and to-the-point, giving leaders the metrics they need to identify where student success is happening and which student groups need more support.

Student success with RealityCheck Rate Description

The RealityCheck Report is the first and only data analytic tool to provide an independent, third-party analysis of your students’ reported vs expected completion rates. Your institution’s annual RealityCheck Report is the custom, cost-effective pathway to improving student success that will:

Compare reported and expected completion rates across several student groups to determine if your institution is meeting expectation for the success of specific student groups.

Examine existing IPEDS Outcome Measures data, while taking into account institutional and student characteristics.

Provide recommendations and strategies for communicating results and using your RealityCheck Report to understand and improve student success.

Examine the year-over-year performance of each student group in your Trend Analysis.

Compare your results with those of a self-selected peer group through the Benchmarking Analysis.

Use existing IPEDS Outcome Measures data, keeping your data team free for other important work.

IEHE is committed to working directly with college and university leaders to improve their institutions. As such, RealityCheck Reports and Analyses are designed to serve as a tool for strategic improvement when paired with institutional context. Therefore, institutional leadership have exclusive rights to purchase their institution-level RealityCheck Reports, Trend Analysis, and Benchmarking Analysis.

RealityCheck is Practical

RealityCheck Performance Gauge
RealityCheck Sample Promotion

Your institution’s RealityCheck Rates allow you to compare your own expected completion rates to your IPEDS-reported completion rates. This gauge shows that based on the RealityCheck Rate data analytics, Extraordinary University is exceeding its expected completion rate by 3 percentage points for full-time, transfer-in students who are Pell Grant recipients. Your RealityCheck Report will show you which of the student groups at your institution meet or exceed expectations and which are falling short, helping you identify pathways to improve success of the students who need more support.


The RealityCheck Report provides great new insight into your student success metrics. Your institution may be interested in diving deeper into the data, so you have the option to add-on the RealityCheck Trend Analysis and/or the RealityCheck Benchmarking Analysis.


Want a better understanding of where your institution has been and what direction you’re headed? The RealityCheck Trend Analysis breaks down the year-over-year performance of each student group for the years in which your institution has purchased its RealityCheck Report.


Curious about how your institution’s student groups perform compared to those at other institutions? The RealityCheck Benchmark Analysis uses aggregate data for a group of 10-20 institutions (that you select) to analyze if your institution’s performance falls above or below your comparison group’s median.

RealityCheck is Customizable

Your custom RealityCheck Report will include an analysis of your institution’s self-reported IPEDS Outcomes Measures of undergraduate student success with the RealityCheck Rates for all student groups applicable to your institution for the requested reporting year(s). Student groups available to be analyzed include: Full-time and Part-time students, First-time and Transfer-in students, and Pell and Non-Pell recipient students. The analyses will be performed for your institution’s undergraduate degree levels, including certificate, associate, and bachelor’s level, as applicable.


In your institution’s RealityCheck Report you will find:

Results of the reported and RealityCheck Rate analysis for the year(s) selected

Reusable graphical representations of the metrics

Recommendations for interpreting and synthesizing the data

Ideas for sharing the RealityCheck Report and engaging others at your institution

Adding the RealityCheck Trend Analysis, your RealityCheck Report will also include:

Trend Analysis for all the years your institution has purchased its RealityCheck Reports

Reusable graphical representations of the analysis

Adding the RealityCheck Benchmark Analysis, your RealityCheck Report will also include:

Results of the Benchmark Analysis between your RealityCheck performance and the median performance of your comparison institutions

Reusable graphical representations of the analysis

The option to request comparison analyses for multiple groups

RealityCheck is Cost-Effective

Your annual RealityCheck Report will be customized to meet your institution’s needs. RealityCheck Reports are available by year, beginning with the 2019 Report. RealityCheck Reports begin at $7,500, with discounts available for multi-year reports and packages.


If your institution is interested in a supplemental RealityCheck Benchmark Analysis, the IEHE will work with you to select 10-20 institutions for the analysis. Interested in multiple comparison groups? Let us know what you’re looking for so we can discuss how to design a RealityCheck Report that best meets your needs.


We offer options for organizations working with multiple higher education institutions. Accreditors, state higher education systems, and other organizations may be able to purchase aggregate RealityCheck data reports for groups of institutions with which they are affiliated. The Institute for Effectiveness team will work with you to address your goals and determine your analysis and reporting needs.


Institution-level RealityCheck Reports, Trend Analysis, and Benchmarking Analysis are available for purchase by the institution only and by institutional representatives that can enter into an agreement and act on behalf of the institution.

RealityCheck Report Cover on Ipad

Order  your RealityCheck Report

The RealityCheck Rate Methodology and Background

The RealityCheck Rates used in the RealityCheck Report are derived from regression analyses designed to put your student success results in the context of your unique student and institutional characteristics. These proprietary analyses incorporate contemporary variables in place of more traditional variables, like standardized test scores. These contemporary variables, such as open admissions, are particularly important given that nearly half of undergraduate institutions are now test optional and/or open admissions. For each of your institution’s student groups and degree levels, separate regression models are constructed and analyzed. Learn more about the development and use of RealityCheck — including, why IEHE created it, how to interpret the results and how the report can be used in the multi-chapter background paper.