Students beginning their first or second year at Ball State this semester are required to participate in an online survey called Making Achievement Possible (Mapworks). 

The Mapworks survey, which has been conducted online since 2006, aims to encourage student retention and success, as well as to identify at-risk students.

According to Mapworks 2015 in Brief, the response rate of the first-year matriculates to the Mapworks Fall Transition Survey dropped by 22 percent from 91 percent in 2014 to 69 percent in 2015. The response rate for the new transfer students also dropped slightly from 36 to 33 percent, and the response rate for the second-year survey dropped from 41 to 37 percent. 

Transfer, first year and second year students each receive the survey. Participants are emailed a personalized link, where they are asked multiple questions about their success and preparation for college. 

The survey asks students to rate their experiences so far in various aspects of college life such as academic, social and emotional. 

The purpose of this survey is to provide information and feedback to students about the challenges that may lay ahead in their university experience. After completing the survey, students are given a personalized report derived from their Mapworks results. The report shows students upon which areas they might focus on, covering everything from how comfortable they feel with their housing arrangements to how they are finding their classes.  Students are able to see their responses represented in graphs, and the report also gives them tips for improving in the future.

This information is shared with residence hall directors, campus administrators and student advisors, in an effort to assist them with working with students. The results from the 20-minute survey are grouped so that administrators can better understand the areas that students are struggling in, and then continue to work towards improving that.

The Office of Institutional Effectiveness is offering incentives to students who complete the survey.  Residence floors who have a response rate of more than 85 percent will be entered into a raffle to win $100 for their floor, which could be used toward a floor pizza party or movie night.  Off-campus students can also enter a draw to win a pizza party if more than 40 percent of them complete the survey.  Additionally, students who complete the follow-up survey in October will be eligible to enter a brief essay contest to win $50 towards books for the spring semester.

Winter Yocom, a freshman music education who had completed the Mapworks, said the only motivating factor to take the survey was the constant reminders by her resident adviser to do so. 

“It was interesting learning about myself, reflecting on it,” Yocom said. “Hopefully it’s worth the university’s time, but I don’t get anything out of it really.”