Students at the University of Southern Indiana who participated in MAP-Works® in the 2010–2011 school-year experienced a 10% higher fall-to-spring retention rate than those who did not.
The MAP-Works survey helps promote student success by identifying
at-risk students early in the school-year, then providing schools with
the infrastructure to manage critical support and intervention efforts.
After completing the survey, all students receive a customized student
report that helps them each gain a better understanding of their
strengths and weaknesses in areas essential to their persistence at
school. The student report allows survey respondents to view their
behaviors in context and to connect their actions to consequences. For
instance, students learn that while perfect attendance correlates to
high GPAs, missing even an occasional class is statistically linked to
earning an entire lower grade lower than students who did not miss
classes. They also learn what percentage of the previous year’s
first-year class achieved A’s, B’s, and C’s so they can benchmark their
own performance relative to their peers.
“Most first-year students expect higher grades than they actually earn
in their first semester,” said Sherry Woosley, Ph.D., Director of
Analytics and Research at EBI MAP-Works. In research conducted by EBI MAP-Works, more than
eight out of 10 respondents indicated they expected to earn a grade
point average of at least a 3.00, but only 50% earned it. Although less
than 3% of respondents expected a GPA below 2.50, about 30% earned it.
Only 11% of respondents earned a GPA in a category higher than the
category they expected, and one-third of respondents earned a GPA two
categories lower than they expected. “By providing students with clear,
specific feedback on the relationship between their behaviors and the
likely outcomes, the MAP-Works student report helps these students
recognize, adjust, and improve this behavior early in the semester,”
In addition to academic behaviors, such as study skills, time
management, and seeking help for challenging courses, the MAP-Works
survey probes students’ development on issues such as social integration
and financial concerns, which research has shown to correlate highly to
student persistence toward degree completion. According to EBI MAP-Works’
analysis, students who display low measures of social connectedness,
campus involvement, and sense of belonging are more likely to drop out
of school. As a result, the MAP-Works system emphasizes the importance
of getting involved on campus and outlines ways in which students can
get started. The survey results also identify students who feel
concerned about their ability to pay for tuition and living expenses,
then lists on-campus resources and urges students to take the first
steps to address their financial situations, before lack of funds
becomes the deciding factor in their plans.
The impact of MAP-Works on student behavior is especially clear at the
University of Southern Indiana (USI). Although USI had been
participating in MAP-Works for the past four years, the 2010–2011
school-year was the first time they distributed the survey to all 2,098
incoming freshman. According to Dr. Katherine A. Draughon, Executive
Director of Planning, Research and Assessment and Associate Professor of
Sociology at USI, the campus saw an impressive 62% response rate.
Examining the results, Draughon and her colleagues found a remarkable
disparity: Among MAP-Work participants in the freshman class, the
fall-to spring retention rate was 89%, while among non-participants, the
fall-to-spring rate was merely 79%. “This was the first semester USI
expanded MAP-Works to include all new freshmen, despite not having the
staffing to provide a personal response to all students, especially
those whose MAP-Works survey indicated they were at higher risk of not
returning for the fall semester,” Draughon explained. “But students got
feedback through the student report within 24 hours—and that’s what we
think really made a difference in retention.” Although the populations
of MAP-Work participants and non-participants had some demographic
differences, such as a higher percentage of commuters among the
non-participants, Draughon believed the 10% gap in retention stemmed
from more than just demographics. “It’s rare that students get such
immediate and concrete feedback,” Draughon pointed out. The USI staff
believed that students utilized the assessment and advice contained in
the survey results to realign their behavior—and to chart a course
toward a successful first year.
For the coming year, USI will capitalize on the value of MAP-Works to
increase communication throughout the freshman class. All students will
be required to participate in the survey as part of the school’s
mandatory Assessment Day, which Draughon hopes will produce over 95%
participation. The school has mustered a full system of support,
consisting of trained faculty and academic advisors, student development
staff, and counseling staff, to reach out and aid at-risk students.
Because MAP-Works has been so powerful on the USI campus, it will
replace an omnibus assessment across departments and become an essential
aspect of the first-year experience for the 2011–2012 school-year.
Said Draughon, “We really see the value of assessment at USI.” And with clear, early behavioral feedback, so do their students.
MAP-Works is a comprehensive program that enables colleges and
universities to improve student retention. Designed for both two-year
and four-year institutions, MAP-Works offers a suite of management tools
that capture and report on student satisfaction and other issues
throughout the school year. It provides an “early warning system” for
students who are at risk for a variety of reasons beyond academic
difficulty. The program was developed over two decades by Ball State
University and has been refined by EBI MAP-Works, which owns and administers the
More information on MAP-Works is available at http://www.map-works.com or by calling (417) 429-0081.
About Educational Benchmarking
EBI MAP-Works provides comparative assessment
instruments and analyses to support improvement of program quality in
many areas of higher education. In addition, EBI MAP-Works also
offers comprehensive assessments of academic programs, student affairs
programs, and custom assessments tailored to the needs of educational
More information on EBI MAP-Works is available at http://www.webebi.com or by calling (417) 429-0081.
About the University of Southern Indiana
Established in 1965, the University of Southern Indiana (USI) serves
over 10,000 students and offers over 70 undergraduate academic majors,
10 master’s programs, and one doctoral program. USI is an engaged
learning community, advancing education and knowledge, enhancing civic
and cultural awareness, and fostering partnerships through comprehensive
outreach programs. Its mission is to prepare individuals to live wisely
in a diverse and global community.
More information on the University of Southern Indiana is available at http://www.usi.edu.