In order to promote an increased understanding of the factors associated with retention and persistence at Ball State, as well as to enable student success, Ball State utilizes the Map-Works system from Educational Benchmarking (EBI). Map-Works is an assessment system designed to promote student success and retention by helping students align their behaviors with successful outcomes and by enabling administrators (such as residence hall staff and advisors) to identify at-risk students. The original survey was developed by the Ball State Office of Academic Assessment and Institutional Research, Office of Housing and Residence Life, Academic Advising and Learning Center. In the fall of 2006, Ball State partnered with EBI to move the survey and its reporting online.
Ball State currently administers the survey to incoming first-year and second-year students during the early part of the fall semester at Ball State. Students are asked questions about items known to be related to retention and persistence such as their desire to stay at the institution, the degree of homesickness they experience, how frequently they attend class, etc. After completing the survey, all students receive a customized student report that helps them each gain a better understanding of their strengths and weaknesses in areas essential to their persistence at the school. In addition, the Map-Works systems provides the infrastructure to manage critical support and intervention efforts that students may need. Finally, summary reports and analyses provide the data necessary for informing policies and procedures which promote retention and persistence.