Instruments

JSU standardized tests and surveys offered through the Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness:

What are MFT and ACAT?

The Major Field Test and the Area Concentration Achievement Test are designed to assess what you have learned in your major field of study. These tests cover the knowledge and skills typically taught in your major field at colleges and universities across the nation. These tests are similar to the Graduate Record Examination in subject areas except that they measure what you have achieved rather than your potential for success in graduate school.

Who should take the MFT or ACAT?

JSU currently administers MFT/ACAT tests for the following disciplines:

Biology, Business, Chemistry, English, Economics, History, Music, Political Science, Psychology, and Sociology.

If you are majoring, or seeking secondary education certification, in one of these areas, you should register to take the appropriate test(s) during your final Fall or Spring semester of classes.

When should I take the MFT or ACAT?

Most departments prefer that students take the test during their last semester.

Why is the MFT/ACAT administered?

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) is the accreditation agency for Jacksonville State University. To maintain accreditation, SACS requires that member institutions establish procedures for evaluating the extent to which their educational goals are being achieved. The MFT or ACAT is a major component of the evaluation of attainment of educational goals for many of JSU's programs.

What will be done with the results?

SACS requires that the University's evaluation process "use the results of these evaluations to improve institutional programs, services and operations." Results of students' performance on MFT/ACAT are sent to the student and to the appropriate department (e.g., biology, English, etc.) The department uses test results to evaluate its success in achieving stated educational goals and to improve curriculum and instruction. Your scores on these tests will not affect your graduation.

How will I benefit from taking the examination?

You will receive a report of your test results which will allow you to compare your achievement to that of students in your discipline who are graduating from many other colleges and universities. This is an objective means of affirming your academic accomplishments. Additionally, you will know that, by your conscientious effort on the test, you have contributed to efforts to improve your program.

How do I register to take the MFT/ACAT?

MFT and ACAT tests are administered by individual academic departments. At the beginning of your last semester of classes, check with the department office of your academic major to register and determine the testing dates and location. Most departments schedule testing during the second month of the semester.

Alumni Survey

Some effects of college can be assessed only after graduates have a few years experience in life and work. This questionnaire asks alumni to evaluate the long-term effects of alumni's experience at JSU. The information provided will help the University improve its programs and services. Information about alumni's employment experiences will improve career advising and placement services.

Survey of Recent Graduates

This questionnaire is designed to examine the experiences of recent graduates. The primary concern is about how alumni experienced the transition from classroom to career. It is also designed to learn how graduates' experiences at JSU affected their transition to work or graduate studies. The information provided will help the University improve its programs, services, and also improve career advisement and counseling.

The ETS Proficiency Profile (EPP) assesses four core skill areas — critical thinking, reading, writing and mathematics — in a single test. It measures proficiency in critical thinking, reading, writing and mathematics in the context of humanities, social sciences and natural sciences, and academic skills developed in general education courses. JSU uses the results to demonstrate program effectiveness for accreditation and funding, inform teaching, and analyze trends. It is administered to all JSU graduating seniors as a graduation requirement. The ETS annual Comparative Data Guide (CDG) can help us determine how our students’ skills compare with the skills of at similar institutions.

The Faculty Survey of Student Engagement (FSSE) complements NSSE, is designed to focus on:

  • Faculty perceptions of how often students engage in certain activities.
  • The importance faculty place on various areas of learning and development.
  • The nature and frequency of faculty-student interactions.
  • How faculty members organize their time, both in and out of the classroom.

The survey, launched in 2003, measures faculty’s expectations of student engagement in educational practices that are empirically linked with high levels of student learning and development. The information from faculty who teach undergraduates at JSU can be used to identify areas of institutional strength, as well as aspects that need attention. The results are intended to be a catalyst for productive discussions related to teaching, learning and quality of JSU undergraduates’ educational experience. FSSE is a web-based survey. It is administered nationally to faculty at baccalaureate degree-granting colleges and universities that are concurrently administering NSSE or have participated in NSSE in the previous year. 

The Gamecock Orientation Survey (GO!) is administered to those who attend an orientation session in the summer. The purpose is to learn about orientation attendees perceptions of the event and to use the results to facilitate any needed improvements in the future.

The Graduating Senior Survey allows seniors to evaluate their experiences at JSU and rate the extent of their intellectual and ethical growth as students. The survey results are used to improve the University's programs, processes (e.g., instruction, registration, advisement), resources, and environment.

Graduating Senior Survey Questionnaire

What are MFT and ACAT?

The Major Field Test and the Area Concentration Achievement Test are designed to assess what you have learned in your major field of study. These tests cover the knowledge and skills typically taught in your major field at colleges and universities across the nation. These tests are similar to the Graduate Record Examination in subject areas except that they measure what you have achieved rather than your potential for success in graduate school.

Who should take the MFT or ACAT?

JSU currently administers MFT/ACAT tests for the following disciplines:

Biology, Business, Chemistry, English, Economics, History, Music, Political Science, Psychology, and Sociology.

If you are majoring, or seeking secondary education certification, in one of these areas, you should register to take the appropriate test(s) during your final Fall or Spring semester of classes.

When should I take the MFT or ACAT?

Most departments prefer that students take the test during their last semester.

Why is the MFT/ACAT administered?

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) is the accreditation agency for Jacksonville State University. To maintain accreditation, SACS requires that member institutions establish procedures for evaluating the extent to which their educational goals are being achieved. The MFT or ACAT is a major component of the evaluation of attainment of educational goals for many of JSU's programs.

What will be done with the results?

SACS requires that the University's evaluation process "use the results of these evaluations to improve institutional programs, services and operations." Results of students' performance on MFT/ACAT are sent to the student and to the appropriate department (e.g., biology, English, etc.) The department uses test results to evaluate its success in achieving stated educational goals and to improve curriculum and instruction. Your scores on these tests will not affect your graduation.

How will I benefit from taking the examination?

You will receive a report of your test results which will allow you to compare your achievement to that of students in your discipline who are graduating from many other colleges and universities. This is an objective means of affirming your academic accomplishments. Additionally, you will know that, by your conscientious effort on the test, you have contributed to efforts to improve your program.

How do I register to take the MFT/ACAT?

MFT and ACAT tests are administered by individual academic departments. At the beginning of your last semester of classes, check with the department office of your academic major to register and determine the testing dates and location. Most departments schedule testing during the second month of the semester.

The purpose of this questionnaire is to learn more about new students' interests, needs, and plans so that the University may provide appropriate programs, activities, and support, in order to assure that new students have a positive, fulfilling experience at JSU. The information students provide about why they chose JSU will also assist in the University's recruitment planning.

New Student Survey Questionnaire

The National Survey of Student Engagement is designed to focus on what matters most to student learning: what students do and what they say about their experience, the things that really matter to quality undergraduate education. It surveys and reports on all first-year and senior bachelor's degree-seeking students of all participating institutions. The survey, launched in 2000 and updated in 2013, assesses the extent to which students engage in educational practices associated with high levels of learning and development. The questionnaire collects information in five categories: (1) participation in dozens of educationally purposeful activities, (2) institutional requirements and the challenging nature of coursework, (3) perceptions of the college environment, (4) estimates of educational and personal growth since starting college, and (5) background and demographic information. The information will help the decision makers at JSU make improvements to our curriculum and general campus life. Participating in this survey will allow us to compare teaching and learning effectiveness at JSU with national benchmarks for similar types of institutions.

In 2013, NSSE added 5 topical modules that allow participating institutions to explore deeper in areas such as academic advising, civic engagement, experiences with diversity, technology, and writing. View a Copy of the Module Learning with Technology.

NTSS - New Transfer Student Survey

The purpose of this questionnaire is to learn more about new transfer students’ interests, needs, and plans so that the University may provide appropriate programs, activities, and support, in order to assure that new transfer students have a positive, fulfilling experience at JSU. The information students provide about why they chose JSU will also assist in the University’s recruitment planning.

New Transfer Student Survey