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PACEM™ (Peer and Association Comparison for Higher Education Metrics)


  1. BulletCombines data from such diverse sources as the Department of Education IPEDS data, U. S. News and World Report, self-reported data, and data gathered by surveys.

  2. BulletReports the data anonymously so that each institution knows only its own data and where it fits in a scale with other institutions in the group, without tying specific data to other institutions.Associations may request a report for its members, or individual

& Services

A comprehensive report of comparative metrics, generated by joining data from diverse sources to allow peer institutions or association members to compare themselves anonymously with each other.

  1. BulletMetrics are established based on needs and availability of data.  See the METRICS box below for examples of the kinds of data that have been reported in the past.

  2. BulletThe report is delivered in both graphic and tabular form with each institution in the group identified only by a key.

  3. BulletEach institution receives a sealed copy of its own keys, thus preserving the                                anonymity of all                                                                     participants.

“I am reading the 2009 Analysis of Institutional Membership. I  

appreciate all the hard work that went into creating this document.”  -- F. C., Chief Academic Officer, Campbellsville University


Appalachian College Association ( 37 small, private liberal arts institutions in five states across Central Appalachia)

Do you want to be able to compare your organization with peer organizations on a variety of metrics?

Is the data for the comparison available only through diverse and uncoordinated data sources?

Would your association provide a real benefit to your members if you could compare each member anonymously on metrics they care about?

Do you want to start making strategic decision based on real intelligence and data rather than on gut feel or anecdotes?


  1. 1.Identify the Data.  Our data analysis team works with you in advance to identify those metrics that will be most meaningful to the organizations that will be compared.  We want to make sure that the data that is provided will be data you care about,

  2. 2.Identify the Data Sources.  We then set about identifying the sources of the necessary data.  In some cases, we may have to revisit the data that will be included because it simply is not available.  We will do everything in our power to acquire the data you desire to be included.

  3. 3.Identify the Peer Comparison Group.  When the report will be produced for the members of an association or consortium, the peer comparison group is most often comprised of the members.  It is possible, however, to identify other organizations for comparison.  We work with you to identify those organizations.

  4. 4.Gather and Process the Data.  The data for the report comes from a variety of public and private sources.  Some of it comes from the US Department of Education’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).  Data is also gleaned from additional public and proprietary sources.  Additional data is self-reported by the included institutions.  Some data is derived.  For example, data about a student’s “distance from home” is calculated using a sophisticated algorithm involving latitude, longitude and great circle mathematics.  We use our proprietary MIDAS™ (Multiple Input Data Analysis System) to match data for individual organizations in the group from all of these sources and then to prepare each chart and table.  The result is an easily accessible, highly detailed look at how your institution stacks up among its peers.

  5. 5.Prepare and Distribute the Report.  Each data element is presented in an appropriate chart or table with the member institutions being identified only by a “school key.”  An administrator at each member school is then given their school keys in a sealed envelope so that they can identify their own institution on each chart or table, while retaining the anonymity of all other schools.  We have found that this approach works well for members.  By knowing that the data from their own organization is kept anonymous, they are much more willing to share real data which, while accurate, may expose some challenges.

  6. 6.Use the Data.  We have found that the data presented in the annual comparative assessment data report is extremely useful for strategic planning.  Member presidents often review the data with their boards of trustees and with their cabinets.  Comparing your institution with others helps identify particular strengths of your institution that should be emphasized, and possible challenges to be overcome.  Institutional research people find the data useful for developing comparisons with other institutions and for developing additional inquiries into their own institutional data.  We often get calls from Institutional Research people after each year’s report is published, thanking us for the data and pursuing additional lines of questioning about their own and other institutions.


The following is a sample of the data that can be included:

Admissions ACT profile

Admissions selectivity

Campus wide grade point averages

Student body male/female ratio

Student body ethnicity

Student body international make up

Student body distance from home

On campus residency

Residence hall occupancy

Student faculty ratio

Long term investments or endowments

Investment return

Tuition revenues per student

Tuition discount rate

Room and board charges

Assets and liabilities per student FTE

Debt to asset ratio

Expenditures per student for student services

Faculty salary comparison by rank

Faculty salary comparison by gender

Adjust pay rate

Full load/overload hours

Athletic affiliation

Internet bandwidth

Learning Management System in use

Student Information System/Administrative System in use

Graduation rates by gender

Graduation rates by race


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organizations can develop a list of peer organizations it wishes to compare itself against.