The University of New Mexico was 1 of 10 universities to participate in a field trial conducted by Educational Testing Service to develop and study an assessment of noncognitive skills for incoming college students. The assessment, later named SuccessNavigator®, measures students' academic skills, commitment, self-management and social support in order to predict a student’s likelihood of academic success, to guide course placement decisions and to recommend psychosocial interventions to college advisors and others who work with students.

“Any time I talk about how UNM is using this innovative assessment, I tell folks that we are focusing on skills that can be changed and improved. Unfortunately, we can't change a student's income or background status, but we can help with their self-efficacy and management skills, and so on. This is a more positive way of approaching student success rather than the typical deficit model,” said Renée Delgado-Riley, a program planning officer in the UNM Office for the Associate Vice President for Student Services and Center for Education Policy Research.

ACT and SAT are the traditional measures used to understand first semester success and third semester retention. But they are only good at predicting first semester Grade Point Average (GPA). When accounting for the other measures, the findings indicate that they are more predictive as to whether or not students will return.

“It is a holistic assessment that was piloted at UNM in the summer of 2012, and because of our great sample size, we contributed positively to the development of the SuccessNavigator product,” said Delgado-Riley.  

Currently, students within in the UNM College Enrichment Program and Athletics freshmen are given the assessment prior to New Student Orientation and the findings are used during advisement sessions to better target resources and engagement early in the academic journey.  

For more information on SuccessNavigator, visit Chart Your Course