Responding to Students of Concern

Best Practices for Behavioral Intervention Teams

Topics: Student Affairs, Student Health and Wellness, Mental Health and Counseling, Student Health Centers, Alcohol and Drug Use, Student Experience, Special Populations, Academic Support Programs

Practice #17: Student Success Outcomes

Connecting BIT Work to Student Success

Teams Assess Retention and Graduation Data

Given the intense focus on student success, the Forum argues that BITs must fi nd ways to link their work to tangible outcomes such as retention and graduation. Interviewees highlight how innovative teams, such as the ones at Ohio University and the University of Florida, are already beginning to assess their impact on student success.

Early results from these initiatives suggests that student outcomes data not only boosts staff morale but can also be used to communicate the impact of the BIT’s work outside the division.

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Looking Beyond Retention and Graduation

Additional Assessment Metrics

While retention and graduation are the easiest indicators to measure, Forum research shows that there are other, less concrete indicators that can be explored around student success. For example, some BITs have started tracking a student’s pre- and post-intervention GPA in order to see whether there is a meaningful change.

Although there is skepticism about whether GPA can be directly connected to BIT interventions, some teams have added this indicator to the regular metrics they track for student cases in order to see if they can draw any broad conclusions over time.

Interviewees also report it can be diffi cult to explain how withdrawals and medical leaves constitute success to senior administrations focused on retention and graduation numbers. A few schools, however, try to shed light on data regarding leaves, withdrawals, and readmissions to foster a more nuanced discussion. Potential findings might include longitudinal trends around the average time away on leave, the percentage of students returning, and the fi nal outcomes for returning students of concern.

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Documenting Student Attitudes and Experiences

Teams Solicit Feedback about the Intervention Process

In addition to quantitative metrics, a handful of institutions also gather qualitative data, asking students to assess their experiences and interactions with the group. At Iowa State, the Office of Student Assistance and Outreach surveys students who have interacted with the staff in order to get their feedback. The office’s survey asks students to reflect the staff ’s willingness to listen to their concern, the student’s prior knowledge of campus resources, and the usefulness of referrals.

Interviewees highlight how the instrument is designed to shed light on what constitutes success for the students referred to the office and/or the BIT.

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Student Learning Outcomes of General Interest…

…But Few Teams Currently Focusing Resources Here

Although the concept resonated broadly with interviewees, the Forum’s work did not currently surface any examples of teams systematically assessing student learning outcomes and BIT interventions. The Forum believes there is an opportunity to use rubrics or reflection exercises to assess certain outcomes from the BIT process such as the student’s perception of their self-coping skills and/or knowledge of campus resources.

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Practice #16: BIT Operations KPIs

Practice #18: Forecasting Future Student Needs