Progress reports replace midterm evaluations for second semester in a row

Kansas State's Intermediate Photography course taught by professor Shree Joglekar. Due to COVID-19 protocols, the classroom has been split into two sections. The class will alternate days to meet in person. Aug. 17, 2020. (Dylan Connell | Collegian Media Group)

In the spring, as all Kansas State students transitioned to distance learning, the university used an evaluation process previously reserved for freshmen throughout the entire undergraduate population.

Progress reports were traditionally submitted by professors to gauge first-year students’ engagement midway through the semester and identify those who may need extra support.

Last spring, that process was expanded to include all undergraduates, “to see who was still connected after we went fully online,” Jeannie Leonard, vice provost for student success, said.

It began as a recovery effort from the effects of the pandemic on students, but this semester, Leonard said progress reports will serve as a proactive measure to promote student success.

“If someone has not figured out Canvas or has not turned in a major assignment, there’s still plenty of time to do things differently to be successful,” Leonard said. “We want students to understand that they will make mistakes, but they’re recoverable.”

Leonard said it’s common for students who begin the semester struggling academically to not seek help.

“Either students don’t ask questions because they’re embarrassed, or they explain it away as a fluke,” she said.

Progress reports are intended to give professors opportunities to check in with struggling students and make sure they can receive the support they need.

“Faculty are critical partners in knowing when students need a little extra support or a little extra challenge,” Leonard said. “Most professors do this themselves by checking in with students, but in larger classes, or in this COVID landscape, we wanted to provide another layer of opportunity.”

The Student Success Center is working to compile data collected through progress reports and build a database that will be accessible to K-State students, faculty and staff.

“I want to have transparency with this data,” Leonard said.

While going to professors for help can be intimidating, Leonard said the Student Success Center is hoping to create programs to aid in “building skills to help students reach out when they need support.”

In the spring, the Student Success Center received a 59 percent response rate from faculty. This semester, Leonard said, she’s expecting a 65 percent response rate and hoping to learn how her department can best help students succeed.

“We’re in crazy times,” Leonard said. “Let’s do the best we can.”

Progress report forms were sent out to faculty Friday and are due on Sept. 28.