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How do research and evidence inform Ascend?

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 helps instructors use a student-centered, data-driven process to systematically measure and improve these conditions in their own classes. To learn about the conditions, see the Ascend Measures Summary.

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. Some initial findings include: 

  • Faculty participants reliably increased the share of students who experience identity safety and belonging; e.g., the average instructor had a 14% gain in identity safety and the top quintile of improvers increased it by 28% or more.

  • Instructors who fully participated in SEP communities of practice reduced DFW rates by 45% relative to their own historical averages for the same courses. 

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