Near the beginning of each semester, freshmen and first year transfer students are asked to complete the Mapworks survey, a questionnaire that focuses on helping these students map out their strengths and weaknesses.
The purpose of the questionnaire is to help students connect to the resources based on their answers, according to the Mapworks webpage.
As a transfer student with two years of college under his belt, the process of sitting down and thinking about all my weaknesses is not only redundant, but disheartening.
When I started at Appalachian State last fall, I came in knowing what I needed to do to make an A in my classes.
I also knew that a quick search on the school’s website would point me in the direction of getting help.
The Mapworks survey did not help me in any way.
Not only is the survey pointless for transfer students, it is written in a weird way.
The issue was not so much the questions themselves, but the way the answers were scaled. The answers were on a scale of one to seven, with one being “not at all,” seven being “extremely” and five being “moderate”.
The problem is that, without warning, the answers switch from one being “not at all” to seven being “not at all.” Out of the blue, the response bubbles are switched in value.
This leaves the student who are trying to answer honestly and correctly with a survey of incorrect information if they did not notice the values of the answers had changed.
So if the student knew nothing about their strengths and weaknesses, this would leave them with false information, and not have helped them very much.
One way to fix this would be to keep all the answer scale the same throughout, without switching any values. It feels like the creators of Mapworks are trying to test if you are paying attention or not.
Of course, students should be paying attention, but the practical reality is that they often do not, something the creators of Mapworks should have known when the university set up the program.
For a tool like this, which is intended to help people make important determinations about their college careers, the tool should be as simple as possible.
Also, the survey should be optional for transfer students. As a group of people with college experience, we do not need to a survey to tell us what we need improvement on. We just need a resource to tell us where to get help on our weaknesses.
Even though Mapworks gives students a way to connect to campus resources like the tutoring center or the writing center, a quick look the Appstate website can send me to those resources faster then Mapworks can.
For the freshmen who are required to take it, Mapworks should be improved to help those students get better information. For transfer students, it should be optional.
Branch, a sophomore journalism major from Brunswick, Ga, is an opinion writer.