Higher education institutions have put a lot of effort into collecting information about the student experience via student assessments and surveys. Unfortunately, these methods aren’t accurate or comprehensive enough to paint a real picture of the unique challenges students face. There are two major problems with student surveys: Only a fraction of students participate, and surveys are typically too general to gain insight into specific challenges individuals face.
Lack of Participation & Skewed Results
In general, student surveys give rise to too many errors. Results are skewed as they’re only coming from students who want to respond. The survey results don’t reflect the results that would have been obtained had everyone in the target population participated.
The lack of participation is largely due to:
- Administering surveys at inopportune times (i.e. at the end of the last class of the semester, right after the final exam when students just want to leave)
- Amount of time it will take to complete the survey
- Online surveys getting lost in inboxes
- Lack of motivation (what’s in it for me?)
- Skepticism that their responses will make a difference
If you only gather responses from a small portion of your target population, real issues will be overlooked. You’ll walk away having gained little to no valuable insight into the student experience. You won’t know where or how to improve, and not much will change.
Surveys Can’t Pinpoint Specific Issues
Most colleges and universities distribute surveys once at the end of every semester. Twice a year, they’re getting feedback they intend to use to improve the student experience. The problem is, collecting general information twice a year isn’t enough to gain insight needed to create real change.
University-wide surveys are general by nature. They almost have to be. Questions and prompts can’t be too specific or they’ll only apply to a fraction of the hundreds or thousands of students they’re designed for.
General questions can be good for identifying glaring red flags. For example, suppose you ask students something like, “How supportive were faculty members on a scale of 1 to 10?” If nearly every student responds with a 1 or 2, the university is going to know something’s wrong. But if you have answers across the board, which is more likely, you’ll have data, but you won’t have details. Every student has a different experience interacting with faculty, and if 100 students rate their experience a 6, it’s for 100 different reasons.
Students respond to surveys based on unique, personal experiences. Questions like the above don’t usually give students the opportunity to clarify their answers. If they do, free responses are difficult to quantify when processing hundreds of surveys at once.
Surveys Don’t Lead to Transformation. Here’s What Does.
If you want actual digital transformation, you need ongoing, quantifiable insight into the student experience.
The easiest way to get ongoing, informative assessments of how students are doing is EVAN360. Since students don’t particularly enjoy filling out surveys and institutions don’t have ongoing insight into real issues students face, EVAN360 is a natural next step.
Visible, timely feedback is the key to student equity and success. You’ll know what your students need when they need it, not at the end of the semester when it’s too late. You’ll be able to help students in real-time with the staff you already have so getting help is easier on faculty and students. This level of scalability is crucial and rare in higher ed.
With EVAN360, the assessment is naturally built in so you can spend more time interacting with students and less time juggling requests on multiple platforms at once. In addition, you’ll save time logging or filling out documentation after every interaction.
If you want to get ongoing feedback on the student experience, and dedicate more time to the things that matter, EVAN360 is for you. Get a demo here.