Map-Works to be phased out, replaced by other retention tools

SVSU will be moving away from the use of Map-Works as a tool for identifying at-risk students at the end of this school year.

Map-Works is an early interventions and retention software program. Freshmen and sophomores participate in interactive online questionnaires throughout the school year that help identify gaps between their behavior and successful academic outcomes.

Faculty, staff and sometimes a student’s resident assistant has access to the information gathered by these questionnaires. The information is used to identify at-risk students and allow for early intervention in their academic success at the university.

Dan Strasz, director of the Academic Advisement Center, said that not everyone on campus utilizes Map-Works effectively.

“In order to get Map-Works to its maximum potential, you have to get everyone to use it, and we don’t have that,” he said. “A part of the problem is that this tool is underutilized.”

According to Neil Baumgartner, assistant director of the Academic Advisement Center, the university is reaching other retention tools and is hoping to implement a new system by the fall semester.

“We can access academic preparation information from a student’s ACT score and high school GPA, but a lot of it comes down to a student’s engagement,” Baumgartner said. “We are looking at a few other survey instruments to assess students’ engagement with the community, engagement in the classroom, self-efficacy and other issues that are not available through normal measurement tools.”

Switching to a different rentention tool may also save the university money. The use of Map-Works at SVSU was originally funded in 2011 with a six-year grant through the Michigan Department of Career Development’s King-Chavez-Parks Initiative.

“We want to identify at-risk students and get them to resources that can help immediately,” Strasz said. “We think we can do better.”

Baumgartner said that the university will be looking carefully at what each survey tool offers before selecting one for the new school year. Regardless of which tool is selected, only faculty and staff with a need to access information about a student will be able to.

“It’s about building a framework to reach out to students and show them the resources that are available,” Baumgartner said. “We want to gain information from students and identify patterns in the minds of incoming freshmen so we can address those issues up front.”

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