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Frequently Asked Questions About the SuccessNavigator® Assessment


When will the SuccessNavigator® assessment be discontinued?

The SuccessNavigator assessment was discontinued on September 30, 2019. Existing SuccessNavigator assessment customers may continue to use the assessment through September 2020.‚Äč Call 1-800-745-0269 or contact an ETS Advisor for additional information or if you have any questions.

Will ETS be replacing the SuccessNavigator assessment with something new?

ETS is discontinuing the SuccessNavigator assessment in its current commercially available form, and we’ll continue our research and data collection to develop better and stronger noncognitive assessments which we believe are important for success. Moving forward we plan to investigate alternative options, based on user feedback, for assessing noncognitive skills.

What is the SuccessNavigator assessment?

The SuccessNavigator assessment can help colleges cost-effectively improve student success and retention rates. This 30-minute, nonproctored online tool measures the critical factors that most greatly influence student success: academic skills, commitment, self-management and social support. It complements the placement tests you may already use and gives you a tailored detailed action plan for each student so you can more efficiently and effectively guide them to success.

See About the Assessment for more information.

What are the various ways the SuccessNavigator assessment can be used?

SuccessNavigator reports can be used by advisors, faculty or anyone who interacts with students to:

  • help identify attrition and poor academic performance risk
  • develop feedback and action plans for students that will increase their likelihood of success
  • guide in decisions on course acceleration within a developmental education sequence to ensure students are properly placed, supported and engaged
Is the SuccessNavigator assessment research based?

Yes, ETS researchers are established experts in the field of noncognitive assessment. The SuccessNavigator assessment is built based on cutting-edge knowledge of (a) what the critical drivers of student success are and (b) effective institutional practices required as part of a holistic assessment and intervention solution. The assessment was based on a national series of field trials with many two- and four-year institutional partners.

See Research for more information.

How the SuccessNavigator Assessment Works

How does the SuccessNavigator assessment work?

The SuccessNavigator assessment is simple to administer and provides instant, easy-to-understand feedback. First, incoming students complete the online assessment, which usually takes 25–30 minutes (ESL students or those with developmental reading skills or disabilities may take longer). The results are immediately tabulated and you instantly receive a comprehensive score report and tailored action plan for each student.

See How the Assessment Works for more information.

Why is measuring noncognitive skills for incoming freshmen important?

Knowing whether a student will succeed in college requires more than just a placement or admissions test. It requires a holistic understanding of a student's strengths and vulnerabilities in areas such as motivation, goal setting and time management.

The SuccessNavigator assessment provides that holistic understanding so advisors and academic support staff can identify which students need support and increase the likelihood that those students persist. It also allows you to identify students who fall just below standard placement test cut scores but have correspondingly high noncognitive scores. Research indicates that these students may benefit from course acceleration. Advisors and academic support staff can reference the SuccessNavigator Resource Library and access plans for targeted interventions that are designed to strengthen a student's noncognitive vulnerabilities. The Student Score Report also offers tools and resources directly to the student, empowering them to help themselves.

Does the SuccessNavigator assessment also measure cognitive skills?

No, the SuccessNavigator assessment measures only noncognitive skills.

The SuccessNavigator Assessment and Students

For which student populations is the SuccessNavigator assessment designed?

The SuccessNavigator assessment is designed to measure the incoming abilities of first-year students. However, it can also target interventions for special populations such as Summer Bridge students, and students on academic probation or provisional admittance.

Can I use the SuccessNavigator assessment on upperclassmen?

The SuccessNavigator assessment can help identify which noncognitive skills need to be developed for upperclassmen who are on provisional acceptance or probation. Otherwise, the SuccessNavigator assessment should be administered to freshmen for optimal results.

Is the SuccessNavigator assessment appropriate for older or online students?

Yes, the SuccessNavigator assessment helps inform and predict student success by evaluating noncognitive behavioral qualities such as motivation, organization and time management. These factors are important in helping predict the success of students engaged in self-directed learning and those who work in a digital environment, especially adult learners and those with multiple roles and responsibilities.

Can students cheat the results?

No, students cannot cheat because there are no "right" answers on the test. ETS has included a number of proven and innovative item types that reduce the likelihood of "faking" answers.

Many items on the SuccessNavigator assessment are reverse-scored, meaning that items have been designed to "flag" inconsistencies. For example, one item may read, "Finishing my homework on time is a priority"; meanwhile, the reverse-scored item would read, "Finishing my homework on time is not a priority."

The SuccessNavigator assessment is also graded on an algorithm that is calibrated to determine whether or not the test was taken "seriously." Tests that were completed after a certain time threshold and items lacking variation (e.g., if an assessment reads the same answer for every item) will be voided.

What accommodations are recommended for students with disabilities?

When testing students with disabilities, the SuccessNavigator assessment should be administered following the same accommodation procedures as for other important local tests. There are no time constraints, so allowing for additional testing time will not pose a problem for your institution. You might also recruit an unbiased individual to read the questions aloud and enter the student's responses. Additionally, the online system will allow for adjustments in screen contrast and font size.

Where is personal information for students stored? Is it safe?

See ETS Privacy and Security.

Administration and Integration

At what time during the year would I administer the SuccessNavigatorassessment?

The SuccessNavigator assessment is designed to be administered early in a student's academic career. It can be given as part of orientation or enrollment, during first-year experience (FYE) courses or in combination with academic placement exams. Students can also take the assessment after registration and before classes.

Who from my institution coordinates the SuccessNavigator assessment?

The SuccessNavigator assessment is designed to be flexible to meet institutional needs. Anyone can coordinate the assessment due to the cascading administrative rights designed into our functionality.

Will my institution be required to purchase hardware?

The SuccessNavigator assessment is an online assessment, meaning that students can take it in the privacy of their own homes, in a computer lab, etc. While there are minimum hardware and system requirements, there is no need to purchase additional hardware to administer the assessment.

How can the SuccessNavigator assessment be part of a larger educational program at my institution?

The SuccessNavigator assessment was purposely designed to be a highly flexible and customizable tool for multiple intervention strategies. It can be integrated into FYE programs or orientation. You can also use it for Summer Bridge programs, counseling and advising sessions.

How can I use the SuccessNavigator assessment to drive institutional policy agenda at my institution?

The SuccessNavigator assessment can be used as part of test administration, course placement and institutional research that evaluates antecedents of student success. You will receive highly specified data files designed for institutional download and manipulation which include student background information you may not otherwise collect. This will allow you to conduct your own research.

Can I use the SuccessNavigator assessment with my current academic placement exams?

Yes, the SuccessNavigator assessment complements academic placement exams to give a holistic picture of a student's abilities. You can use the assessment to identify students who fall just below standard placement test cut scores, but have correspondingly high noncognitive scores, for acceleration in the developmental sequence.

What is the capability of this system to interface with student information systems and other advising systems?

Data from the SuccessNavigator assessment can be downloaded into spreadsheet software such as Microsoft Excel® so you can evaluate data in conjunction with other student information and advising system reports.

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