The AIR Professional File
Fall 2013, Article 132

A Case Study to Examine Peer Grouping and Aspirant Selection

Mary Lou D’Allegro, Kai Zhou


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Peer selection based on the similarity of a couple of institutional parameters, by itself, is insufficient. Several other considerations, including clarity of purpose, alignment of institutional information to that purpose, identification of appropriate statistical procedures, review of preliminary peer sets, and the application of additional metrics need to be part of the process.

At the heart of the paper is a detailed description of a mixed-methods approach deployed to identify institutional peer and aspirant groups for a private nonprofit 4-year liberal arts college. As part of the methodology, an aspirant index is proposed and explained by the authors. This coefficient is applied to a preliminary set of institutions to further refine the aspirant list.

This paper inventories the methods documented in other research and resources that can be used to select peers. This compendium is intended to inform customized amalgamation of methods that could potentially augment future peer selection endeavors and benchmarking studies.


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Mary Lou D’Allegro, Siena College

Kai Zhou, Siena College


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