Based on prevailing research evidence, the SuccessNavigator® assessment is specially designed to assess essential postsecondary preparedness skills directly related to academic success and retention across the full range of U.S. colleges and universities. It was developed by ETS in response to the significant challenges facing the nation's higher education system as it strives to prepare graduates who are critical thinkers, globally competitive and lifelong learners.
The challenges to attain these necessary goals are well documented. Traditionally, large numbers of students entering both two- and four-year colleges are unprepared for the academic challenges they face and are in need of significant subject-matter remediation.¹ In addition, many students fail to succeed in their academic pursuits, while many others, for an array of personal, economic, academic and other reasons, are unable to persist at their chosen institutions and do not complete their intended certificate, transfer and/or degree programs.²
The most traditional and long-standing measures of preparedness have focused on subject-matter learning and achievement. These indicators, primarily previous grades and standardized test scores, have been consistently validated in their ability to predict college performance.³
However, there now exists a rapidly growing body of significant research, including work by ETS researchers, that supports the ability of psychosocial measures (e.g., social support, motivation, etc.) to better predict postsecondary success and persistence. And while traditional measures have focused on cognitive strategies and content knowledge, the skills and traits measured by these psychosocial assessments tend to focus more on the two additional well-validated contributions to college and career readiness:
- Key learning skills and techniques
- Key transition knowledge and skills⁴
The result is an expanded student success model that not only focuses on the traditional cognitive knowledge and skills needed for postsecondary accomplishment, but also focuses on the confirmed value and use of psychosocial measures to support academic performance and college completion. It is within this improved student success paradigm that the SuccessNavigator assessment plays a primary and essential role.
See these resources for more information:
ETS Research Overview
- Summary video detailing the research behind the SuccessNavigator® assessment (Flash)
- View Transcript
- Overview about how research supports holistic view to inform decisions that drive student success
- A Pilot Study of Holistic Assessment and Course Placement in Community College: Findings and Recommendations
- Assessing Affective Factors to Improve Retention and Completion
- Examining Evidence of Reliability, Validity, and Fairness for the SuccessNavigator® Assessment
ETS Position Papers
- Breaking the Developmental Education Logjam: A Holistic Approach to Acceleration
- A Holistic View of Course Placement Decisions — Avoiding the High School GPA Trap
- A Holistic Approach to Predicting Academic and Retention Success
- Improving Course Placement Decisions
ETS-sponsored webinars include the following:
- Driving Student Success: Using Holistic Assessment to Improve Retention and Completion Rates
- Assessing Skills for Success: Data to Information, Information to Action
- Who Owns Student Success? A Case for Institution-wide Engagement
Inside Higher Ed Compilation of Articles and Essays on Student Retention
- The Completion Agenda Webinar
- The Completion Agenda Booklet
- The Completion Agenda Presentation
- The Retention Agenda Webinar
- The Retention Agenda Booklet
- The Retention Agenda Presentation
1 Sparks, D., & Malkus, N. (2013). First-Year Undergraduate Remedial Coursetaking: 1999–2000, 2003–04, 2007–08. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education.
2 Bailey, T., Jeong, D. W., & Cho, S. W. (2010). Referral, enrollment and completion in developmental education sequences in community colleges. Economics of Education Review, 29(2), 255–270; Complete College America. (2012). Remediation: Higher Education's Bridge to Nowhere. Washington, DC: Author.
3 Noeth, R. J. (2009). Foundations of Standardized Admission Testing. Arlington, VA: National Association for College Admission Counseling.
4 Conley, D. T. (2012). A Complete Definition of College and Career Readiness. Eugene, OR: Educational Policy Improvement Center.
Improve Student Success
See an overview of the SuccessNavigator assessment and how it has helped institutions improve retention and completion rates.
Get More Information
Talk to an ETS Advisor about how you can use the SuccessNavigator assessment to improve retention and graduation rates.