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Inside Higher Ed: Motivation Matters

5/21/2013 12:00 AM

Academic preparation isn’t the only factor in college readiness. Also helping to determine whether students get to graduation are social behaviors, like whether they show up for class, engage with professors and make eye contact. A new assessment from the Education Testing Service (ETS) seeks to measure those non-academic variables.

ETS today is rolling out the test, which is called SuccessNavigator. It could help colleges identify students in remedial tracks who can pass credit-bearing, college-level courses, said officials with the nonprofit testing giant. ...

ETS, a nonprofit testing giant, has worked to develop the test for seven years. The process featured field tests at 20 colleges and system, including four-year institutions as well as community colleges.

City Colleges of Chicago has participated in the trials. Kevin Li is dean of instruction at Wilbur Wright College, which is part of the seven-college system. Li said he thinks the test can help the colleges provide targeted interventions when students are struggling. For one thing, it could allow instructors to reach out to students who are unlikely to seek assistance.

“We want to be able to speed up the students’ progress,” he said. ...

The research trial with ETS has shown promising results, said Rasmus Lynnerup, vice chancellor for strategy and institutional intelligence for City Colleges. The test "allows us to have a personal relationship with students” as soon as they arrive. And it adds a new approach and a range of information that the colleges currently do not collect. “We don’t do it at all yet,” he said.

City Colleges is currently mulling the test for systemwide adoption.

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