Contributed by Tyler Achilles, B.A.
New research suggests that problem drinking among college students is not a phase or one-time deal. Yet many colleges and universities don’t have a method of monitoring outcomes in the weeks and months following an alcohol education program that usually takes place during orientation or the first few weeks of the semester. If colleges aren’t monitoring these outcomes, then they are missing out on detecting prevailing trends in student behavior. Implementing a method for measuring student behavior over time will also help evaluate the alcohol and drug education program the colleges may have in place, for example, MyStudentBody.
One way to observe changes in drinking or drug use on your campus is to implement the follow-up assessment – an easy to use feature built into all MyStudentBody courses. If your college currently uses MyStudentBody, you know all students must complete the Rate Myself assessment in order to successfully pass the MyStudentBody Essentials Course (Alcohol, Drugs, and, if applicable, Sexual Violence). The follow-up assessment feature gives you the option to require that students retake that assessment after a designated period of time (30, 60, or 90 days following their completion of the Essentials Course).
The follow-up assessments can be a powerful data-gathering tool. Using the data you receive can help you answer questions such as:
- Are students using more protective factors than they were before?
- How did the patterns of drinking or non-medical use of prescription medications change?
- Are students more likely to get consent or to report sexual violence?
- Have students gained familiarity with campus alcohol and drug policies?
Remember, the more students who complete the follow-up assessments, the more accurate the results. So make sure that your college is setting the expectation that students have not completed the MyStudentBody program until they’ve completed the follow-up assessment. It’s also a good idea to send out email reminders to students about the process.
So how does it work?
It’s easy! At the selected interval (30, 60, or 90 days after completing the course) we send an email to the student instructing them to log in to MyStudentBody and select the Follow-Up Assessment option on the My Stuff page. Once they have completed the follow-up assessment, the status will change from “Take Now” to “Completed.” Administrators can verify successful completion using the Course Completion report by logging in to MyStudentBody-Admin. You may also modify your follow-up assessment settings in MyStudentBody-Admin by clicking “Customize” from the home page and then going to “Course Settings” in the sidebar. The default setting is to send out the follow-up assessment email 90 days after completion of the Essentials Course.
For more information about implementing a follow-up assessment or about tracking student behavior over time, contact Amy Cavender, implementation specialist, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (800) 848-3895 x205.
What other outcome monitoring systems do you use? Do you use something “home grown” or do you purchase a separate data-gathering program? Write a comment in the section below. Click here for more Announcements from MyStudentBody.