Peregrine Testing

School of Business and Information Technology Receives Great Results

Kaplan University President Dr. Betty Vandenbosch recently announced a number of impressive accomplishments for the University, including this from the School of Business and Information Technology regarding its Master of Business Administration (MBA) program.

Kaplan University MBA students generally know less about the various disciplines that fall under business (i.e. accounting, finance, economics, management, marketing) when they come to the University compared to students at other business schools. This is not surprising given that Kaplan University has open admissions. But here is the exciting news: Kaplan University online MBA students know more after attending the University than students at other business schools, according to data from Peregrine Academic Services. 

For the past 3 years, Kaplan University has been using Peregrine Academic Services to test results to help identify opportunities for continuous improvement of their curriculum and to provide evidence of their program quality. The 2015 test results show Kaplan University online students outperforming in most subject areas.

“The importance of Peregrine results is that our students’ results are compared to students at other Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) accredited universities so when we do well, it is a validation of our students’ learning,” said Tom Boyd, Dean of the School of Business and Information Technology. “It also provides evidence to the world of what a great job we are doing in teaching the key business areas in our programs.”

What Is Peregrine Testing?

Peregrine Academic Services is a company that provides testing of student knowledge of business disciplines using large test banks of market-tested questions. Peregrine provides a way for students to take the test, either as a part of a course or as an independent form of assessment. Also, having Peregrine test results available helps the School to meet requirements for continuous testing and improvement of curriculum required by the ACBSP.

How Peregrine Testing Works

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During selected terms, students in business degree programs at Kaplan University take the Peregrine exam. The exam is periodically part of the first and last business course in each business degree program and covers topics often referred to as the core of business knowledge. For specialized degrees, such as the Bachelor of Science in Accounting, there are tests that focus on detailed subject knowledge. 

Boyd added, “Now that we have been using the Peregrine tests for 3 years, we are starting to see improvements in student performance based on changes we made to our curriculum created on first-year results. This is exciting for us, and great for our students.” 

The three charts in this article summarize the results from the 2015 testing of Kaplan University MBA students.

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“We are very pleased with these results and think that this kind of data can help interested students understand how well we teach business here at Kaplan University,” said President Vandenbosch. “The consistent and dramatic improvement is a testament to the work of our faculty and curriculum team.”

External validation of student learning is an important component of program evaluation. Comparing the learning of Kaplan University students to that of students at other schools helps the University to understand just how well students are being taught.

The chart at left shows a comparison of the test scores of inbound MBA students for Kaplan University compared to students at other ACBSP accredited schools.

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The next chart shows just how well Kaplan University is doing to give graduates a performance advantage in the workplace.* 

Looking specifically at the test results comparing Kaplan University students with those of all ACBSP students nearing graduation (outbound), Dean Boyd commented, “While this is welcome news and a testament to our program quality, it still provides opportunities for us to improve. For example, we can see that our scores are not as high in marketing and macroeconomics as in some other areas, which helps us to focus on those subject areas and seek opportunities for improvement.”

Using Testing Results to Improve Student Learning

In 2013, Kaplan University School of Business and Information Technology identified two areas of improvement based on the test results of its Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) degree program. Marketing and Quantitative Research Techniques and Statistics both had relatively low scores and outbound students did not score as well as the outbound students from other online, ACBSP programs. 

As a result of these data, the School added a statistics course to the core of the BSBA program and made significant revisions to the principles of marketing course. The School’s 2014–15 exam results for the BSBA in those two areas show that outbound scores in Marketing improved from 37.5% to 44.5% after the changes and score in Quantitative Research improved from 42.4% to 55.2%. In Marketing the University now scores just below our ACBSP cohort and scores almost nine points higher in Quantitative Research. The School will continue to find opportunities to improve the Principles of Marketing course and expect student performance to surpass that of its cohort soon.

*T tests for samples with equal variances were run on the data shown in the chart for KU Outbound students compared with ACBSP Outbound students indicate that Kaplan scores were significantly higher in sixteen of 17 categories at the p=.05 level, with only Quantitative Research Techniques and Statistics failing the test at p=.05.

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