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What’s the impact of Ascend?

A 2022 study found that improved student experience predicts improved academic outcomes and engagement.

Research shows that students are more engaged and successful when they experience certain learning conditions, like identity safety, belonging, and a growth mindset culture. Ascend is a professional learning tool that helps motivated instructors improve their practice and cultivate academic engagement, success, and equity. To facilitate these improvements, Ascend:

  • Makes it easy for instructors to use valid surveys to learn how students experience their teaching.

  • Gives instructors practical, research-based recommendations for improvement. 

  • Enables instructors to quickly test the impact of the new practices they try, so that instructors can determine for themselves what works for their teaching style and their students. 

We’re proud to offer instructors this powerful combination of support. But, at the end of the day, Ascend is just a tool. The real engine improving student experiences are the instructors who reflect on the feedback their students give them, experiment with new practices, and persist through challenges. While this work can be challenging, especially when student feedback isn’t initially as positive as instructors might have hoped, the impact for students can be transformative.

An initial, 6-college cohort of the Student Experience Project (SEP) assembled college instructors into supportive, action-oriented communities of practice so that they could learn to use Ascend together. A research report published in July 2022 found:

  • Students’ self-reported experiences of their learning environments in SEP courses were strongly and positively associated with grade outcomes. 

  • As students’ experiences became more positive over the term, their likelihood of earning an A or B in the course increased, and their likelihood of earning a D, F, or W (formally withdrawing from the course) decreased.

In the video below, Isabella Zarco, student at CSU Fullerton, reflects on how her instructor was able to leverage Ascend to provide a positive classroom.

Read these case studies to learn some of their stories, or watch educators talk about their work to center student experience. (Please send us your own videos if you have an Ascend story to share!)

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