General Survey Protocols

Attitudinal surveys in which students self-report on their experiences, satisfaction levels, and learning gains are a critical element of any comprehensive institution-level program of assessment. Although we are ultimately concerned with the behaviors of students rather than their attitudes or opinions, self-reported attitudes often offer the most cost-effective and in many case only available“leading indicator” of important behaviors such as retention, social interaction, course selection, career choice, alumni gifts, and so on. Gathering and maintaining repositories of such data is a core function of a central institutional research office.

The primary purpose for gathering such data is institutional improvement, and that principle is reflected in the protocols concerning (1) data collection, (2) data analysis and reporting, and (3) coordination with other units.