Carnegie Mellon University

Eberly Center

Teaching Excellence & Educational Innovation

Program: Academic Development
Assessment: Survey of Students’ Learning Beliefs and Behaviors


Over the past few years, increasing numbers of students have sought help from Academic Development to the point where we could no longer meet demand. Our goal was to collect data that would help us understand 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 our level and depth of support to students.


We constructed an online survey that focused on students’ beliefs about learning and studying as well as their help-seeking behaviors. We sent a link to the survey to 1430 first-year undergraduates in the Spring 2007 semester.


We got a 36% response rate. Based on the data we collected, we made several policy changes, redesigned programs, and changed the criteria used to determine the type of service that students receive. These changes will enable us to support more students and provide the most appropriate level of support to them. The data also provided impetus to develop new pilot programs that we will continue to assess.


We plan to repeat the survey annually.