What is ISSAQ?  Part 1: The Process

ISSAQ is not just a survey or assessment, it's a system of understanding student strengths and challenges, providing feedback to students and those working with them, and connecting everyone involved to resources that can improve student success.

But the assessment IS pretty important...

Students who take ISSAQ (or the "Incoming Student Skills and Attitudes Questionnaire") complete a series self-report, Likert-type items. These are traditional, personality-like items where the student is given a statement and and rate their level of agreement (e.g., "Graduating from college is one of my top priorities").

What's different about ISSAQ is it's comprehensive focus on student success.

  • First, ISSAQ is not just a survey, but an assessment of students' behavior, strategies, and mindsets, based on decades of research in fields such as assessment and measurement, educational psychology, and student success in higher education. ISSAQ addresses the critical "noncognitive" factors related to student success: the behavioral, motivational, emotional, and social domains. These are the same factors addressed by popular recent work in areas such as "grit" and "growth mindset."

  • Second, getting the data is important, but it's how those data are used that truly matter. Thus, ISSAQ focuses on communicating results to both students and those working with them (e.g., advisors, coaches, faculty) in order to create better awareness of these critical domains of student success. 

  • Third, connecting all parties involved to resources is perhaps most important. Assessment gathers information, reporting and feedback create awareness, but only through informed use of interventions can we drive change - both within our students as well as our institutions of higher education. As the adage goes, "insanity is repeating the same behavior and expecting different results." Similarly, we can only change student success by changing the way we work with students. This is why interventions - and this Resource Hub - are so critical.

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