PAEA Data on Demand: Matriculating Students

Many programs are beginning to compile longitudinal student databases that bring together exam results, course grades, and PAEA Matriculating Student Survey (MSS) responses — among other datapoints — for the purposes of program evaluation and educational outcomes research. In order to support this important use of data, PAEA is now offering a new service, wherein each PAEA member program’s students’ responses to the MSS are made available directly to that program in the form of a CSV spreadsheet. You can view and download the 2020 Matriculating Student Survey instrument here.

Your program will only receive the responses from your students; you will not receive any other program’s student data. To receive this raw, identifiable data, each participating program’s participation rate for the MSS must be at least 80%, and you must provide documents proving local Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval or exemption, as well as a completed application.

To be clear, all member PA programs will still be welcomed and encouraged to invite their matriculating students to participate in the MSS, and IRB approval or exemption and/or an application are NOT required to participate in the survey if you do not wish to receive your students’ raw data. However, programs interested in receiving their own students’ identified, raw MSS data for the purposes of program evaluation and education outcomes research must first obtain IRB approval or exemption to collect and store these data.

All programs interested in receiving their students’ identified MSS data must submit an application by December of the preceding year. For example, to receive identified data from the 2020 MSS, programs must have submitted an application to PAEA by December 2019. Due to the need for students at participating programs to consent twice to release their identified data as part of Data on Demand: Matriculating Students, programs that did not submit an application with proof of IRB approval or exemption by the December deadline will be unable to retroactively request identified student data; however, your students will still be able to participate in the survey in the same way they have for the last several years.

Download these forms for inclusion in your application to your institution’s IRB:

Programs will be required to agree to the following policies:

  • Student participation in the Matriculating Student Survey is strictly voluntary.
  • Student consent to release data to the program is strictly voluntary.
  • Data will only be made available if the overall participation rate among the matriculating cohort is at least 80%.
  • Programs will receive students’ unaltered, raw data.
  • Programs must take extensive measures to protect student privacy and confidentiality, including storing data on a secure, password-protected server accessible only to investigators trained in human subjects protections.
  • Programs may not release identified student data to any external individuals or parties.
  • The source of the data must be properly cited in any published works in any format, or in other forms of dissemination of the data in whole or part.
  • Violation of these stipulations may result in forfeiture of any further access to PAEA data.

Per normal MSS procedures, program directors (PDs) will be contacted two weeks before the month in which the program matriculates students. PDs will receive a survey link and pre-written emails with information about the MSS to send to students. Programs that meet or exceed the minimum 80% overall response rate among their matriculating class will receive their students’ raw, unaltered data within 60 days of matriculation. Data on Demand requests will only be honored if the PA program is in good standing, meaning dues are up-to-date and the program has completed the most recent Program and Curriculum Surveys. This service is free for member programs and does not count toward programs’ hour of free data request services.

If you have any questions, please contact the PAEA Research Team at