Student Achievement

University Mission Statement

Washington and Lee University provides a liberal arts education that develops students' capacity to think freely, critically, and humanely and to conduct themselves with honor, integrity, and civility. Graduates will be prepared for life-long learning, personal achievement, responsible leadership, service to others, and engaged citizenship in a global and diverse society.

Student Achievement

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) Principles of Accreditation Standard 8.1 (Student Achievement) requires institutions to identify, evaluate, and publish goals and outcomes for student achievement appropriate to the institution's mission, the nature of the students it serves, and the kinds of programs offered. It also indicates that the institution should use multiple measures to document student success. Requirements for publication are further specified in the SACSCOC Policy on Institutional Obligations for Public Disclosure. Standard 8.1 is not intended to be fully comprehensive since other standards in the Principles of Accreditation: Foundations for Quality Enhancement address institutional practices, educational quality, and program effectiveness. Rather, current practice in regional higher eduction has focused measures of student achievement on "retention, graduation, licensure examinations, and job placement rates among other measures of student success." Since Standard 8.1 is integrated with regulations from the Federal government, there is significant overlap with items updated and published annually in the Consumer Information Portal.

Performance Levels

  • The minimum performance level is the threshold above which a measure should be maintained.
  • The target performance level is the established threshold to meet or surpass expectations -- essentially a benchmark.
  • The actual performance level is the current level of performance in the defined measure.

Where data are available, student achievement at the undergraduate level is compared with that of the University's peers -- the top liberal arts colleges in America (as indicated by various publications) -- with the performance target established at or approximate to the mean of those peers. The University's current undergraduate peers are listed here.


Retention of First-Year Students


Graduation Rates within Six Years


Undergraduate Employment


Post-Graduate Study


Law Student Achievement