What is Assessment?

Assessment is essential not only to guide the development of individual students but also to monitor and continuously improve the quality of programs, inform prospective students and their parents, and provide evidence of accountability to those who pay our way.
-- Redesigning Higher Education: Producing Dramatic Gains in Student Learning by Lion F. Gardiner; ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Report Volume 23, No. 7, p. 109

Assessment in higher education plays a critical role in determining the quality and success of the education offered.  The process of gathering and discussing information from multiple and diverse sources in order to develop a deep understanding of what students know, understand and can do with their knowledge as a result of their educational experiences.

Administering Surveys

The goals of the IR&E Office are to:

  1. Coordinate the administration of surveys to minimize overlap and duplication by maintaining a survey calendar.
  2. Provide support for survey development, administration and analysis.
  3. Ensure that the information being sought is not already available in another form.

Those who wish to survey Detroit Mercy faculty, staff or students must contact the IR&E Office at for review.

Assessment Activities

The Office of Institutional Research coordinates and administers a suite of inter-related assessment surveys.  These surveys allow the University to systematically collect pertinent data about demographic and qualitative issues and outcomes for use in decision-making at the institutional level.  In addition, some data are gathered from standardized tools that are used across the United States (e.g., SSI, HERI) and the data gathered by the University of Detroit Mercy contributes to national data sets, providing large-scale trend data regarding higher education.  Information about the current surveys being used, their purpose, and the timeframe in which they are administered are provided below

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    National Surveys

    CIRP Freshman Survey (TFS)

    The survey covers a wide range of student characteristics: parental income and education, ethnicity and other demographic items; financial aid; secondary school achievement and activities; educational and career plans; and values, attitudes, beliefs, and self-concept.  The CIRP Survey uses demographic and attitudinal data on incoming students to measure trends in higher education. The CIRP is administered at the beginning of a student's freshman year. Historically, it has been administered every other year: starting in 2015-16 the survey will be administered every year. This information is analyzed by the Higher Education Research Institute  (HERI).

    Student Satisfaction Inventory (SSI)

    The Student Satisfaction Inventory gives Detroit Mercy a powerful tool to improve the quality of student life and learning. It measures student satisfaction and priorities, showing how satisfied students are as well as what issues are important to them.

    This data is valuable and can be used to:

    • Guide strategic action planning
    • Strengthen student retention initiatives
    • Meet accreditation requirements
    • Identify areas of strength for institutional marketing
    • Chart your progress toward campus goals

    This survey is administered every three years.

    The Higher Education Research Institute Faculty Survey (HERI Faculty)

    The HERI Faculty Survey provides Detroit Mercy with a comprehensive, research-based picture of key aspects of the faculty experience. Results from this survey connect faculty practices, values and priorities to institutional success and drive improvement efforts. Results also assesses a variety of qualitative issues related to faculty including experiences, attitudes, professional activities and workload. The  HERI is administered every three years.

    National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE)

    Detroit Mercy is among hundreds of colleges and universities nationwide that administer the NSSE to freshman and senior students. This survey collects information about students' participation in University programs and activities intended to foster their learning and personal development, providing an estimate of what they gain from attending college here. This survey has been replaced by the Student Satisfaction Inventory.

    Below are the survey instruments from each year along with summary statistics of Detroit Mercy student responses paired with those of other schools.


    Institutional Surveys

    • Student Success Network Survey — Uses predictive analytics to identify at-risk students in order to effectively intervene and promote student success.  The Student Success Network Survey was launched in 2013-14 and is administered annually by the Student Success Center.  
    • Multi-Institutional Survey of Leadership (MSL) — Assesses the social change model and enhancement of student leadership capacity from freshman to senior year. The survey is administered by the Institute for Leadership and Service. 
    • The Outcomes Survey — Assesses student outcomes related to employment and graduate school admission of newly graduated undergraduates.  The Outcomes Survey is administered by the Center for Career and Professional Development annually with each graduating class.  
    • Law Employment Outcomes as reported to the American Bar Association (ABA) and National Association for Law Placement (NALP).