At the end of the Spring 2022 semester, the QEP working group shifted focus from research and understanding equitable student success & retention at JMU to begin designing an early student success system. Some of the evidence and assumptions informing our design decisions: 

  • We want to improve student success & retention while closing equity-based gaps right away
  • We need to balance the uncertain timeframes within ReEngineering Madison and the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) procurement & implementation process with the desire to start building system elements that can be piloted right away yet also integrate into incoming CRM and other technologies and processes
  • Retention rates have declined over the last ten years and equity-based retention gaps have generally widened
  • Student agency, empowerment, and equity-mindeded should drive our design-process and decisions
  • Of the students who have withdrawn or discontinued between Spring 2017-Fall 2021, 82.11% of them did so in their first two years at JMU and psychological, fit/sense of belonging, and health were the reason given for almost 33% of those student withdrawals
  • Within reasons for withdrawing, student groups list different reasons for withdrawing as their top reasons - suggesting that there are different dominant reasons for leaving JMU based on one's identity
  • Focus groups show that sense of belonging, mental health, and connections with faculty, staff, and peers matter for student success and retention 
  • Predictive modeling with JMU student data suggests that while student social identity may explain small differences between students who stay and those who leave, student success & retention is intersectional and complicated 
  • Fall 2020 pilot of the Incoming Student Skills & Attitudes Questionnaire (ISSAQ) survey suggests that non-conginitive skills and attitudes like sense of belonging, engagement, organization, and goal committment impact one's probability of student success & retention
  • Any design and system needs to be flexible enough to learn, adapt, and respond to students, faculty, staff, data, and other information. 

Based on these assumptions and pieces of evidence, the working group has identified four key pillars of design that constitute the first phase of designging an early student success system. Phase I is now through the SACSCOC accrediation visit, SACSCOC feedback, beginning adoption and implementation of the CRM, and launch of the approved QEP; roughly Summer 2022 through Summer 2025. 


Pillar I: Data Ethics, Governance, and Transparency 

The data design sub-group is focused on identifying the principals, values, and frameworks that guide our design and implementation of an early student success system. Additionally, this group is interested in identifying a communications plan for how students opt-in/out of data collection and use and making recommendations for the use of data analytics at JMU. 

Pillar II: Use of the Incoming Student Skills & Attitude Questionnaire (ISSAQ)

The ISSAQ design sub-group is focused on rolling out the continued pilot of the ISSAQ non-cognitive survey. This includes collaborating with different areas of campus interested in using the ISSAQ, distributing ISSAQ reports, providing training for advisors and other ISSAQ report uses, maintaining ISSAQ student website resources, and exploring the use of ISSAQ reports and data on-campus. 

Pillar III: Check-in Survey

The check-in survey group is exploring the use of a brief check-in survey during week 2 through week 4 of the academic semester to literally check-in on students across four areas: basic needs, well-being, academics, and sense of belonging. The group is thinking through the survey, the administration, campus resource capacities, the data work-flow, and how to support students during this important transition time for students. 

Pillar IV: Rethinking Mid-term Grades

The mid-term grades group is re-thinking what role do mid-term grades play currently as evidence of student success and what roles can they play for providing insights to students, faculty, advisors, and others for more equitable student success and retention. 

Back to Top