Halfway through the semester, students may be searching for ways to overcome the difficulties they face in managing their time to complete their assignments or preparing for tests. A free resource available to Penn State World Campus students can help them with these challenges.

SmarterMeasure is an online assessment tool designed to identify the strengths and opportunities for improvement of an online learner. Students who take the assessment can discuss their results with a counselor from World Campus Academic Development Services to be connected with the appropriate resources.

Since 2019, the academic support team has worked with more than 500 students. This semester, the staff are looking to increase the number of students served and encouraging students to take the SmarterMeasure assessment so they can consult with a specialist.

Kimberly Wiesner, a certified academic coach and student success coordinator with World Campus Academic Development Services, said the free survey takes about 30 minutes to complete.

“It measures those non-cognitive factors that can influence student success in college, especially those who are enrolled in online learning,” she said. “It really allows us to have an informed conversation about that particular student’s needs and interests.”

The assessment consists of an analysis of life factors, technical competency, reading recall, typing speed, and internet competency. Questions cover how much time the student allocates for school, their perceived academic abilities, and past success, as well as their time management and likelihood of procrastination. The assessment also measures the resources the student already has, like finances to pay for school and a support system at home.

After students take the assessment, they will receive their results and an option to schedule a consultation with an academic support specialist. Students aren’t required to sign up for coaching, but Wiesner said they are always welcome.

Survey results show that 93% of students completing the consultation find SmarterMeasure helpful toward identifying their strengths and opportunities for improvement in asynchronous online learning.

"We're here to give them resources, because helping them succeed is truly our interest," Wiesner said. "The academic coaching tool provides students with an opportunity for one-on-one support."

The program is a partnership between the staff member and the student. Wiesner said the value of this tool is the one-on-one coaching that results from it.

“Everything about coaching is driven by the students. The topics we discuss can change from week to week based on their needs,” she said. “It’s giving students what they need at the moment they need it.”

Wiesner said adult learners may be reluctant to ask for help or struggle with feelings of self-doubt when embarking on a new academic journey. She encourages any online learner to consider completing the SmarterMeasure assessment to see what resources may improve their online education experience.

“We’re here to help you on this journey,” she said.

SmarterMeasure is one of the resources and services available to Penn State World Campus students to help them be successful learning online. Other tools and programs include tutoring, course preparation, technology support, and library services.

Learn more about SmarterMeasure on the Penn State World Campus Student Center website.