MARA Program Performance


MARA Program Performance

Program Based Assessment

The San José State University School of Information has developed a set of Program Learning Outcomes that are focused on the core competencies of our profession. The culminating e-Portfolio serves to assess a student’s mastery of all program learning outcomes (core competencies) for the MARA degree before graduation.

Review and Measurement of Individual Program Learning Outcomes

e-Portfolio data is collected to assess the achievement level of graduating students in meeting specific program learning outcomes.

Starting with the spring 2011 semester, the school has collected data on the number of revisions needed to satisfactorily demonstrate achievement of each of the 9 MARA Learning Outcomes or Core Competencies presented in students’ culminating electronic portfolios. Our goal is to have 90% or better of MARA 289 (e-Portfolio) students who need no or only 1 revision to a Statement of Competency, the essay in which they demonstrate achievement of a specific Program Learning Outcome. If less than 90% of students submit work at that level, then that identifies for the faculty a need for curricular review of the courses that address that PLO.

Since 2011 we have collected datasets on all of our competencies and are in the process of reviewing all of them as part of our ongoing curricular review process.

Assessment of Individual Program Learning Outcomes Reports MARA

Course Student Learning Objectives and Course Mapping to Program Core Competencies (Program Learning Objectives)

Each course has both student learning objectives – linked to assignments – as well as core competencies (program learning objectives) defined for that particular class. – See

External Inputs into the Curriculum

Retention Data

Through fall 2015, there were three key points monitored to understand MARA retention rates.  As of spring 2016, there are two key points. The data point no longer consider is the MARA New Technology Workshop offered through fall 2015.

Data was gathered after the required new technology workshop, Online Social Networking, and between that course and the start of the following semester. The students began this workshop before they started their first semester were required to pass it to continue in the program. One of the purposes of the class was to help determine if a student was equipped for the online environment. This workshop was not taken for credit, and statistics were not available before fall 2011. Beginning in spring 2013, MARA students could also start their program in January. Figures for this non-credit workshop are available from fall 2011 through fall 2015.  Some students completed the technology workshop but didn’t register for classes for the following term. In spring 2016, the course was replaced with an optional, self-paced MARA Program Technology Preparation Workshop. Therefore, It became no longer feasible to use this option to gather retention data.

Table 1.a. MARA New Technology Workshop: Online Social Networking Retention and Pass Data (through fall 2015)

Semester Total Enrolled by iSchool Withdrawn/ dropped Still Enrolled at End of Course Not Satisfactory Satisfactory Retention Rate Pass Rate Enroll in classes the first term % Completed Enrolled in classes the first term
Fall 2015 20 2 18 0 18 90.0% 100% 18 100%
Spring 2015 16 1 15 0 15 93.75% 100% 15 100%
Fall 2014 18 4 14 0 14 77.7% 100% 14 100%
Spring 2014 17 5 12 0 12 70.5% 100% 11 92%
Fall 2013 22 4 18 2 16 82% 89% 15 94%
Spring 2013 17 0 17 0 17 100% 100% 17 100%
Fall 2012 25 2 23 0 23 92% 100% 22 96%
Fall 2011 18 4 14 0 14 78% 100% 9 64%

MARA Program Technology Preparation course (optional, self-paced), spring 2016 and beyond.

The previous process of providing an introduction to the technology that would be used in MARA classes was dropped in favor of a self-paced. optional approach. A Canvas course was created with the program coordinator as instructor to interact with students and answer questions. Students were invited but not required to participate. This workshop is not reviewed for retention purposes.

2. Core Courses. Students who began the MARA program in the fall semester between 2008 and 2011 were required to take two core classes: MARA 200 (The Records and the Recordkeeping Professions) and MARA 202 (Information Technology, Records, and the Information Age).

Table 2.a. Data about Students Taking MARA 200 and MARA 202 in their first term (Students entering program prior to fall 2012 ONLY) and continuing on to a second term the following spring.

  200 Total Enrolled # B or better % 202 Total Enrolled # B or better % # Started following term % Started following term
Fall 2011 9 7 78% 9 0 100% 8 89%
Fall 2010 15 14 93% 15 14 93% 10 67%
Fall 2009 11 4 36% 11 8 73% 5 45%
Fall 2008 8 8 100% 8 8 100% 8 100%

MARA students who entered the program in the fall, beginning in fall 2012, were expected to take MARA 200 and MARA 204 (instead of MARA 202 as previously required). However, students could elect to take just one course if they wished.

Table 2.b. Data about Students Taking MARA 200 and MARA 204 in their first term. Students entering program in fall (beginning in fall 2012) and continuing on to a second term the following spring.

First Term 200 Total Enrolled # B or better % 204 Total Enrolled # B or better % # Started following term in MARA % of highest total in either course
who started following term
Fall 2017 17 15 88% 17 15 88% 15 88%
Fall 2016 12 7 58% 11 6 55% 7 58%
Fall 2015 18 13 72% 15 13 87% 12 67%
Fall 2014 13 12 92% 13 13 100% 12 92%
Fall 2013 15 14 93% 15 14 93% 12 80%
Fall 2012 22 20 91% 19 18 95% 19 86%

MARA students who enter the program in the spring semester, beginning in spring 2013, were required to register for MARA 210 and were advised to take one MLIS elective (optional).

Table 2.c. Data about Students Taking MARA 210 required and an MLIS elective (optional) in their first term (Students entering program beginning in spring 2013) and continuing on to a second term the following fall).

  210 Total MARA Enrolled # B or better % MLIS Elective
Total Enrolled
# B or better % # Started following term % of students
who Started following term
Spring 2018 18 17 94% 11 11 100% 16 89%
Spring 2017 14 14 100% 10 8 80% 11 79%
Spring 2016 17 15 88% 13 10 77% 9 53%
Spring 2015* 12 8 67% 9 6 67% 4 33%
Spring 2014 11 10 90% 8 7 87.5% 9 81.8%
Spring 2013 13 11 84.6% 11 9 81.8% 7 54%

*Some students since spring 2015 have registered for more than two courses.

3. In order to graduate with their MARA degree students must complete as a culminating experience: MARA 289 (e-Portfolio).

MARA students are required to complete an e-Portfolio for their culminating experience. The goal of the e-Portfolio is to provide a program-based assessment to ensure that each student demonstrates mastery of all program learning outcomes (core competencies) for the degree before graduation.

The e-Portfolio can be completed in one semester though the preparation happens all throughout the student’s program and is reviewed following the MARA e-portfolio rubric developed to evaluate the MARA competency statements.

Table 3. MARA 289: e-Portfolio Statistics


Total Enrolled Passed Failed* Incomplete % Completion Rate
Spring 2018 9 9 0 0 100%
Fall 2017 4 4 0 0 100%
Spring 2017 8 8 0 0 100%
Fall 2016 9 9 0 0 100%
Spring 2016 16 15 1 0 93.7%
Fall 2015 1 1 0 0 100%
Spring 2015 14 13 0 1 92.8%
Spring 2014 7 7 0 0 100%
Spring 2013 8 8 0 0 100%
Spring 2012 5 5 0 0 100%
Spring 2011 5 5 0 0 100%

*Students who fail MARA 289 have one more chance to retake the e-Portfolio course. If they fail again, they are disqualified from the MARA program. To date, there have been no disqualifications due to failing to produce a satisfactory e-Portfolio.

About Our Students

Graduating Student Exit Survey Data

We survey our graduating students as they complete the MARA program. The information below is from our most recent exit survey, presenting the responses we received from MARA students (n=8) who completed MARA 289 in spring 2018.

Key survey findings include the following:

  • Nearly two-thirds of survey respondents completed the MARA program within two years.
  • 88% of survey respondents said their overall education experience in the MARA program was very good or good.
  • 88% of survey respondents said they would recommend the MARA program to others.

The survey also provided insight regarding the employment trends of our recent MARA graduates, such as:

  • 63% of respondents were working at the time they completed the MARA program.
  • Employed respondents worked in archival, business/ industry, or higher-education settings. 

The survey also provided insight regarding the MARA program’s top strengths, including:

  • Curriculum was the top program strength, followed by cost, flexibility, faculty, and online learning environment.
  • 100% of respondents made use of iSchool technology support services during their program.
  • 87% of students made use of their MARA academic advisor for advice and support planning their program.
  • 50% took advantage of MARA guest lectures from experts in the archives and records management field.

Survey results also provide insight regarding MARA student demographics, including the following:

  • Survey respondents lived in four states throughout the United States. Three indicated they spent time in other countries while pursuing their MARA degree online. 
  • 63% of spring survey respondents identified as female.
  • MARA survey resondents came from a wide range of ages.

Students reflected on their reasons for recommending the MARA program:

  • “It’s current and relevant to the industry.”
  • “Very professional and covers a large amount of archival topics. Very hard program to achieve. I feel confident I am ready for any position in the archival industry.”

Alumni Placement Data

We survey our alumni within 13 months after they graduate to track employment trends, ensure that our curriculum remains relevant, and help us anticipate shifts in the job market.

Our most recent survey was sent in June 2018 to graduates who completed the MARA program during calendar year 2017. We received a total of 7 responses (58% response rate) to our survey.

We are pleased to share the following data regarding our alumni who are working in an archives, records, information governance, or related capacity.

Here are some highlights from our survey of our 2017 MARA graduates.

100% of alumni responding to the survey are currently employed, with 100% working full time. 67% of survey respondents held their present job when they graduated from the MARA program.

100% of respondents who searched for a new job at time of graduation received placement within six months. For those who remained with an existing employer after graduation, earning the MARA degree advanced their career. 87% reported they received a promotion, received a salary increase, and/or moved from a support position to professional staff. 33% are working in business/industry, and 67% of respondents are working in a range of environments including law, oil and gas, and healthcare.

Survey respondents listed the following experiences as the most helpful in obtaining their jobs: Technological skills, ability to work collaboratively in an online environment, using the E-portfolio as a career portfolio, and additional certifications in conjunction with a master’s degree. 83% of survey respondents strongly agree or agree that the skills and knowledge they learned in the MARA program prepared them for their job. 17% felt neutral.

2017 MARA alumni shared the following comments:

“The MARA program gave me the knowledge, skills and abilities to excel in my current position, and I now have the chance to advance my career in the future.”

“Class content was extremely relevant and allowed me to enter the industry feeling prepared and knowledgeable. Class content all has real-world application.”

We invite you to learn more about our alumni by browsing our alumni career spotlights, reading alumni stories, and learning about our alumni at work.