Previous Essays

Teaching to Lead
Teaching practices that help students develop leadership

Knowing About vs. Knowing How
The challenges of translating what we know about good practices into making our classes, majors, and programs more effective

Clear and Organized Teaching
Why a basic and under-appreciated teaching skill is critical for student learning

Improving Educational Quality
Lessons learned from liberal arts colleges about the conditions that facilitate the use of evidence to improve student learning


Alternative administration improves response

The first administration of the Wabash National Study at Oxford College did not go as well as Satu Riutta, Kent Linville, and our other colleagues at Oxford had hoped. About 39% of their entering class completed all of the Wabash materials.

Following the suggestion of an Oxford faculty member, Satu contacted us and asked whether they could approach students who did not participate in the first test sessions, hand out the Registration form, Student Survey, and Student Assessments as a "take home" assignment, and then just ask them come to one 40-minute makeup session to complete the CAAP or DIT-2.

We thought that sounded like a good experiment that would test one way that we could administer part of the study online this spring, so we all agreed to give it a try. Using the partial “take home method” in their makeup sessions upped Oxford’s overall response rate from 39% to 82%.

So, if you are pursuing makeup sessions, please feel free to try this approach. You can contact Satu for more information.

Once again, we appreciate your hard work in implementing the study on campus. We realize that this is a very challenging task, and we also realize that, given the unique structures and student bodies at the institutions in the study, we will see very different response rates across participating institutions. We are not worried about the response rates as much as we are focused on getting a sufficient number of students so that we can use the data in as many ways as possible to help your institution.

CB and KW