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The benchmark or national means are calculated for all academic disciplines where data are reported by five or more institutions within a discipline as follows:

A variable, such as instructional expenditures per student credit hour taught, is calculated for each reporting institution and data are grouped by academic discipline.

An initial mean and standard deviation are calculated from the valid values for all institutions reporting data for a given academic discipline.

To prevent undue influence from a deviant or unusual data value on the data set, discrete institutional responses that are two standard deviations above or below the initial mean are identified. These responses are identified as "outliers" and deleted from benchmark calculations.

The "national mean" is then calculated from the remaining responses.

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