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Equity & Student Experience

In many college courses, students of color and financially stressed students are far less likely to experience identity safety, belonging, or instructors who effectively communicate confidence in their potential. This experience gap contributes to the broader opportunity gap because—as research shows—these affirming experiences are crucial for students to fully engage and successfully persist in college.

What is Ascend?

Ascend is a free, data-driven professional learning program that enables college instructors and administrators to learn how their students are experiencing courses and what they can do to make those experiences more equitable, more engaging, and more supportive of student success.

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How does it work?

Educators use a brief, research-based survey to learn how students experience course(s). Once educators can recognize the experience gaps in their own courses, they are better equipped to take action to address them. Educators repeat the process through multiple cycles of inquiry and action in order to systematically create better learning experiences for all of their students.

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1. Elevate Student Experience

In a 5-10 minute survey, students describe how they are experiencing a course.

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2. Review Feedback

A confidential report shows how students’ experiences are promoting or hindering equitable learning.

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3. Learn Relevant Practices

A practice guide provides recommendations for creating more engaging & equitable learning experiences.

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4. Track Improvement

Repeat the survey to see how students experience new practices. Repeat steps 1-3 to keep improving.

Key Details

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Any U.S. 4-year or 2-year college or university can use Ascend. Ascend is designed for use by instructors or those who supervise or coach instructors (e.g., department chairs or staff at teaching and learning centers).

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It takes less than 30 minutes from registration to get through your personalized setup and start surveying students. Your confidential, disaggregated survey results are available a few days later—allowing you to take action quickly.

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Free or Affordable

Ascend is free to instructors thanks to the Raikes Foundation. Institutional implementations can benefit from additional services, like customized implementation planning and reporting, live demos, and enterprise tech support. Visit our support portal to learn more.

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Secure & FERPA Compliant

We keep your information secure, and we have a strict, legally binding privacy policy that is FERPA compliant. Hundreds of schools and colleges around the U.S. have used PERTS services under these legal and technological guarantees.

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The Project for Education Research That Scales (PERTS) is a nonprofit research and development institute that translates insights from psychological science into cutting-edge tools, measures, and recommendations that educators anywhere can use to foster healthy and equitable academic engagement and success.

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