No matter where students are in their academic journey, each student is unique and has different learning styles, personalities, and non-cognitive abilities. However, understanding how each student works can be challenging at times.
In this case study, learn how Vanderbilt University Medical Center – Center for Programs in Allied Health was able to better understand and set their students up for success with the use of SmarterMeasure.
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The Challenge: Understanding
At Vanderbilt University Medical Center – Center for Programs in Allied Health, they have anywhere from 75 to 100 students participating in high-intensity, fast-paced, specialized certification programs. Currently, students can choose from 5 different programs including Diagnostic Medical Sonography, Dietetic Internship, Medical Laboratory Science, Nuclear Medicine Technology, and Perfusion. These courses range from 96 credit hours to 2,295 credit hours (or 9 to 22 months long).
Along with the dedication these courses require, many of their students are at different stages of their academic journey. Some are taking their certification while completing the last year of their bachelor’s degree. Others are within their master’s program while taking their certification. While some are solely taking their specialized certifications while balancing their work, home, and personal life.
With multiple students at different walks of life, knowing how to best assist each one of them can be challenging, especially when a student is struggling or placed on academic probation. Vanderbilt’s Center for Programs in Allied Health needed an easy and efficient way to understand their students’ learning patterns, life factors, and non-cognitive skills in order to best support those that were having difficulties within their course.
Because their national, state, and programmatic accreditors require the university’s students to complete a learning readiness assessment, the school utilizes SmarterMeasure during their orientation. However, it wasn’t until Rachel Adams, Student Support Services Manager, joined the team in 2020 that they started utilizing SmarterMeasure to its full potential. Instead of just using SmarterMeasure as a baseline assessment, Adams worked with the university and members of SmarterServices’ team to further incorporate the use of the students’ SmarterMeasure assessment results within the university.
Just as before, when students go through orientation they take the SmarterMeasure assessment to evaluate their readiness to study based on their non-cognitive and technology-related skills. Once completed, students, instructors, and faculty members receive a copy of the assessment results to review.
However, now if a student is struggling in a class or is put on academic probation, Adams and her team review the student’s SmarterMeasure assessment to evaluate whether the student placed lower on any of the areas the assessment evaluated. From there, they will set up meetings with the student and help determine if one of those factors could be related to their difficulties in class. For example, if the team notices that a struggling student’s reading comprehension score was on the lower side, they would review that with the student.
From there, the faculty works with the student by offering assistance, support, and resources to overcome their obstacles. In the future as Vanderbilt University Medical Center – Center for Programs in Allied Health grows, they plan to sit down with each student about their SmarterMeasure assessment after completion during orientation. With this, they will offer suggestions with resources and guidance to assist students before potentially challenging situations arise. Vanderbilt also plans to require students to take the SmarterMeasure assessment at the end of their certification as well. This will assist the university in determining which areas they can improve their student support in, and will allow them to measure the general growth of their students overall.
By further utilizing SmarterMeasure within their programs, Vanderbilt’s Center for Programs in Allied Health is now able to better assist students struggling in their courses. Understanding their students’ life factors, individual attributes, learning styles, technical competency and knowledge, on-screen reading rate and recall, typing speed and accuracy, and more allows the university to offer tailored resources and suggestions to help their students succeed.
Along with that, SmarterMeasure provides the university with an easy-to-use platform with LMS integration options and immediate graphical and textual feedback on the results of the students’ reports. SmarterMeasure has also brought the university’s program departments closer together. By reviewing SmarterMeasure data it allows for their departments to conduct open discussions to evaluate course curriculum changes, technology improvements, and other attributes based on their students’ results.
Despite each of Vanderbilt’s Center for Programs in Allied Health students being at a different stage in their academic journey, the university is able to provide resources that can assist students and set them up for success during a time of need through the use of SmarterMeasure.