angle-up angle-right angle-down angle-left close user menu open menu closed search globe bars phone store


Based on prevailing research evidence, the SuccessNavigator® assessment is specially designed to assess essential postsecondary preparedness skills directly related to academic success and retention across the full range of U.S. colleges and universities. It was developed by ETS in response to the significant challenges facing the nation's higher education system as it strives to prepare graduates who are critical thinkers, globally competitive and lifelong learners.

The challenges to attain these necessary goals are well documented. Traditionally, large numbers of students entering both two- and four-year colleges are unprepared for the academic challenges they face and are in need of significant subject-matter remediation.¹ In addition, many students fail to succeed in their academic pursuits, while many others, for an array of personal, economic, academic and other reasons, are unable to persist at their chosen institutions and do not complete their intended certificate, transfer and/or degree programs.²

The most traditional and long-standing measures of preparedness have focused on subject-matter learning and achievement. These indicators, primarily previous grades and standardized test scores, have been consistently validated in their ability to predict college performance.³

However, there now exists a rapidly growing body of significant research, including work by ETS researchers, that supports the ability of psychosocial measures (e.g., social support, motivation, etc.) to better predict postsecondary success and persistence. And while traditional measures have focused on cognitive strategies and content knowledge, the skills and traits measured by these psychosocial assessments tend to focus more on the two additional well-validated contributions to college and career readiness:

  • Key learning skills and techniques
  • Key transition knowledge and skillsā“

The result is an expanded student success model that not only focuses on the traditional cognitive knowledge and skills needed for postsecondary accomplishment, but also focuses on the confirmed value and use of psychosocial measures to support academic performance and college completion. It is within this improved student success paradigm that the SuccessNavigator assessment plays a primary and essential role.

Additional Resources

See these resources for more information:

ETS Research Overview

Research Publications

ETS Position Papers

Inside Higher Ed Compilation of Articles and Essays on Student Retention

1 Sparks, D., & Malkus, N. (2013). First-Year Undergraduate Remedial Coursetaking: 1999–2000, 2003–04, 2007–08. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education.

2 Bailey, T., Jeong, D. W., & Cho, S. W. (2010). Referral, enrollment and completion in developmental education sequences in community colleges. Economics of Education Review, 29(2), 255–270; Complete College America. (2012). Remediation: Higher Education's Bridge to Nowhere. Washington, DC: Author.

3 Noeth, R. J. (2009). Foundations of Standardized Admission Testing. Arlington, VA: National Association for College Admission Counseling.

4 Conley, D. T. (2012). A Complete Definition of College and Career Readiness. Eugene, OR: Educational Policy Improvement Center.

Promotional Links