Tools for Program Evaluation

Persistence in the Sciences (PITS) Survey

Persistence in the Sciences (PITS) assessment survey is designed to measure student psychological outcomes in course-based research experiences (CREs). The description of the instrument and establishment of its validity is presented in the following paper.

Hanauer DI, Graham MJ, Hatfull GF. A Measure of College Student Persistence in the Sciences (PITS). Brickman P, ed. CBE Life Sciences Education. 2016;15(4):ar54. doi:10.1187/cbe.15-09-0185.

The Project Ownership Survey

This survey aims to measure a component of the research experience thought to be an important element in the overall impact of a research experience on student outcomes. The development, evaluation and validity of the instrument is presented in the publication below.

Hanauer DI, Dolan EL. The Project Ownership Survey: Measuring Differences in Scientific Inquiry Experiences. Smith M, ed. CBE Life Sciences Education. 2014;13(1):149-158. doi:10.1187/cbe.13-06-0123.

Undergraduate Research Student Self-Assessment (URSSA)

This instrument is intended to measure the outcomes of research experience, and was developed from empirical evidence from a large qualitative study. Subsequent work has explored the validity of the survey (Weston and Laursen, 2015).

Hunter A-B, Weston TJ, Laursen SL, Thiry H. URSSA: evaluating student gains from undergraduate research in the sciences. Counc Undergrad Res Q. 2009; 29:15–19.

Weston T, Laursen S. The Undergraduate Research Student Self-Assessment (URSSA): validation for use in program evaluation. CBE Life Sci Educ. 2015; 14:ar33.


Originally funded by HHMI, the SURE (Survey of Undergraduate Research Experiences) survey and related instruments (CURE, RISC, SEA CURE) have been used to measure student perception of gains in areas related to the undergraduate research experience.  Although information concerning this instrument's theoretical basis, validity, or reliability is not published, the surveys are freely available on the Grinnell College website

Lopatto, D. (2008). Exploring the benefits of undergraduate research: The SURE survey. In R. Taraban & R.L. Blanton (Eds.), Creating Effective Undergraduate Research Programs in Science. NY: Teacher's College Press (pp. 112-132).