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Survey of Students’ Learning Beliefs and Behaviors

Name: Linda Hooper, Academic Development,
Scope: Program- Academic Development, University-Wide
Assessment Tools: Online Survey

Motivation/Purpose: What factors/data/circumstances initiated the action?

Over the past few years the number of students seeking help from the Academic Development Center has continually increased, to the point where we could no longer meet the demand. This situation led us to wonder who was using the various programs (e.g., B students vs. D students), why, and whom else (besides Academic Development) they turned to for help when struggling in a course (e.g., faculty members, TAs, peers). We hoped that the answers to these questions might allow us to revise our programs, policies and procedures to be both more efficient and effective in working with students. We were interested in all three of the major support programs offered – Supplemental Instruction, walk-in tutoring, and individual peer tutoring.

Goal: What did you hope to learn from the assessment?

The main goal was to gather data on students’ academic support-seeking behavior, identify students’ motivations for seeking academic support, and reveal how students’ beliefs about learning are related to their support seeking behavior. We hoped to use this data to make decisions about the level and depth of support we should be offering.

Methods/Tools: How was the data collected?

We constructed a survey that focused on students’ beliefs about learning and studying as well as their help-seeking behaviors.

Implementation: How was the assessment activity carried out?

The survey was distributed online.

Who were the participants?

We administered the survey to 1430 first-year undergraduate students, and got a 36% response rate.

When was/will the data be collected?

The survey was administered in the Spring of 2007.

What is the current status?

Completed.

Impact/Results: How is the data being used?

Based on the data we collected we made a number of policy changes.  These changes aimed at creating more effective use of our resources by redesigning programs and changing the criteria used to determine the type of service students receive.  These changes will enable us to support more students and provide the most appropriate level of support.  The data also provided impetus for the development of new pilot programs that we will continue to assess.

Comments:

The data was very useful in guiding changes and improvements in the services we offer. We plan to repeat the survey on a year cycle.

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