Survey Demonstrates Academic Concerns
How many courses are you
Data collected by Educational Benchmarking, Inc., through its MAP-Works® survey, offer a revealing look at expectations, behaviors, and other issues related to first-year students’ academic achievement. In fall 2010, more than 100,000 first-year students from 85 institutions completed the MAP-Works Fall Transition survey. The Transition Survey is
administered early in the fall term of a student’s first semester on campus.*
➤ 73 percent of 2010 MAP-Works respondents indicated that, on average, they spent less than
two hours studying for a test in high school. Six out of ten 2010 MAP-Works respondents
expect to study three hours or less for a test in college.
➤ Approximately 64 percent of 2010 MAP-Works respondents reported that they were struggling in at least one course.
➤ Regarding the course they are having the most difficulty in, 45 percent of 2010 MAP-Works
respondents struggling report they have not talked with an instructor about their difficulties.
➤ Eight of ten 2010 MAP-Works respondents indicated that they thought their grade point average would be at least a 3.00 for the fall term.
➤ Sixty percent of 2010 MAP-Works respondents indicated that they had attended all their
MAP-Works (Making Achievement Possible), developed in partnership with Ball State
University, is a comprehensive student retention and success program for both first- and second-year students. The program identifies students early in the term allowing for immediate support
and intervention. It also provides an infrastructure to manage critical outreach efforts on college
and university campuses.
How many of your scheduled
classes have you attended
*The overall survey response rate was 74.6 percent. Of that percentage, more than 85 percent completed the survey before the end
of September 2010.
one student at a time. We need to consider that each student
who is admitted to a college or university has the potential
to graduate, and we need to provide the appropriate educational experiences and resources so that each student has every
chance to succeed.
Providing a personalized experience for students is difficult,
particularly at large, public universities where, too often, institutions have been forced to take a mass production approach
to educating undergraduates. Too many residence halls are
large edifices; too many courses are offered through massive,
impersonal lectures that rarely provide the setting for personal
conversations with the professor. With thoughtful planning
and unwavering commitments to undergraduate education,
educational experiences at large universities can provide a
personalized approach. The University of Kansas is committed to providing top-notch educational experiences in its large
lecture courses through the use of technology and the teaching
talents of top faculty. For years, Miami University has personalized its undergraduate experience through its residence halls,
commitment to undergraduate teaching, and student involvement in community service. The University of Michigan has
a large Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program that
involves some 500 first- and 500 second-year students in
research with faculty. Similarly, commitments to strengthen
the undergraduate experience at smaller institutions are often
the result of diligent efforts by administrators, faculty, and
staff, who are never quite satisfied with how their institutions
are providing educational experiences.
100 Where to Start?
The work of the team that led to the publication Student
Success in College (2005, 2010), including myself, Jillian
Kinzie, George Kuh, and Elizabeth Whitt, can be instructive
for developing strategies to improve graduation rates at colleges and universities. Through Project DEEP, the team analyzed some 20 high-performing institutions with higher than
predicted graduation rates that had demonstrated outstanding
commitments to student learning and success through the
activities of faculty, student affairs staff, and other staff members. A number of strategies and approaches that have transferable properties to virtually any institution of higher education
were gleaned from the study, including the following:
➤ Develop a supportive campus environment, with such
features as extended orientation/transition programs,
strong advising networks, peer support, powerful residential environments, and support programs for students
with special needs;
➤ Provide enriching educational experiences such as cam-
pus-based undergraduate work experiences, undergradu-
ate research programs, study abroad, civic engagement
opportunities, and students teaching students;
➤ Share responsibility for student success, including col-
laborating with academic administrators and faculty,
fostering student agency, and serving as a key partner in
advocating for student success.
It is important to remember that when the student affairs
division places student learning as its raison d’être, students