The Office of Institutional Research, Analysis, and Planning is committed to developing and supporting institutional, programmatic and student assessment in its various forms and spaces at Bates College. Assessment involves systematic collection and evaluation of evidence for the goal of improving outcomes, in particular student learning outcomes. This systematic analysis of what students are learning can help inform pedagogy and curricular design, enhance student learning, inspire improvement as well as providing institutional accountability.

Our office has analytical and pedagogical expertise to work with the wide array of data about the Bates experience. We encourage faculty and staff at Bates to use data, evidence and research to guide their work and welcome collaboration on assessment projects. We can provide resources, expertise, data analysis, collective examination and templates to facilitate existing work as well as engage in new ideas. Our office’s projects and professional development are enhanced by the experiences, expertise, insights and feedback from faculty, staff and administration, so we look forward to connecting with folks across campus.

Examples of our recent assessment work

Purposeful Work

Our office has worked extensively with the Purposeful Work team to understand both who is participating in Purposeful Work programs and what students are getting out of their Purposeful Work experiences. Since its pilot year (2014), the Purposeful Work staff has diligently collected both participation data and survey data, while our office has provided consultation about data collection and research design and conducted extensive analyses of the data collected. These analyses have produced strong evidence in support of the good work being done by Purposeful Work and have identified areas in which we can enhance the programs and focus our research efforts going forward.

For more information about Purposeful Work outcomes, please click here.

Academic Assessment

Our office provides a broad range of tools and services to support assessment at the institution level,  the department and program level as well as the course level. Here are just a few examples:

  • In collaboration with the Office of the Dean of Faculty, to better understand our general education outcomes, we have administered surveys to both faculty and students and administered pre- and post-tests to incoming and graduating students, respectively.
  • Starting in 2016, our office provides annual reports based on our student survey data to all departments and programs.
  • In collaboration with STEM faculty, we have conducted extensive analyses aimed at understanding student success in the STEM fields.
  • During the 2017-18 academic year, we have worked with the Biology and Geology departments to design and administer assessments of students majoring in these fields and alumni who have majored in these disciplines.

Learning Assessment

Beginning in 2018, our office’s Learning Assessment Specialist works with faculty, students and administration to provide support and enhance resources related to department/program-level and course-level assessment.

We are working with the Dean of Faculty’s office to develop a voluntary mid-semester teaching self-assessment program, building from models implemented at Smith College, Yale University and other campuses.

Our Specialist also collaborates with departments/programs and individual faculty to enhance students’ learning experiences through various instructional approaches, learning assessments, as well as strategies for increasing diversity and inclusion in curriculum. This is a collective process of building effective practices that fit within the realistic demands of teaching and learning; we learn from you and your experiences so as to create assessment spaces and ideas that support and inspire the Bates experience!

For more information about Learning Assessment at Bates, click here.

Student Surveys

Our office administers a series of institutional surveys that span the Bates student experience.

  • For more than 40 years, we have administered the CIRP Freshman Survey to students as they matriculate each fall.
  • Every other year (on even years), we administer the YFCY (Your First College Year) Survey to students at the end of their first year.
  • We administer an annual Senior Survey to graduating seniors as they leave the college. On odd years, Bates participates in the Higher Education Data Sharing Consortium (HEDS) Senior Survey. On even years, we participate as a guest in the Consortium on Financing Higher Education (COFHE) Senior Survey.
  • Bates administers periodic surveys of alumni to capture their perceptions of their Bates experience and learn about their professional, academic, and personal achievements beyond their Bates undergraduate experience.

These surveys provide us with a wealth of information about student learning, values and perceptions, satisfaction with academic and social experiences, the impact of their college experience on a variety of outcomes, and their post-graduation plans. For more information about our institutional surveys, including the results (password protected), please click here.

Additionally, our office regularly administers surveys to students and faculty on an ad hoc basis. For these projects, we also typically provide analysis and reporting.