Institutional Research & Assessment

The Office of Institutional Research and Assessment (OIRA) is under the direction and supervision of the University Dean for Institutional Research and Assessment, David Crook. OIRA is comprised of three units which are staffed separately but work closely together. A list of functions for each unit follows.

Contact Us

555 West 57th Street, Suite 1240
New York, NY 10019
phone:  646-664-8124
fax:  646-664-8131

OIRA Staff Directory >>

Testing Information >>


Office of Institutional Research

The Office of Institutional Research Assessment (OIRA) conducts a wide variety of quantitative analysis to guide policy and evaluate academic programs and administrative processes at CUNY. The office collects, manages and organizes data to support the analytic and reporting needs of the University including mandatory federal, state and city reports, ad-hoc requests, grant applications and major projects, such as enrollment management. <read more>

  • Analyzes data and presents results to support program development, evaluation, and decision-making among the Chancellery, particularly for the Office of Academic Affairs.

  • Collects and maintains numerous data sets which are used to provide quantitative information to a variety of university constituents. Examples include student information on admissions, enrollment, performance, degrees granted, basic skills and National Student Clearinghouse subsequent enrollment, as well as information on workload and CUNY personnel.

  • Designed, expands and maintains the Institutional Research Database (IRDB) – a warehouse of CUNY’s official student data, combining information from all of the colleges in a single relational database. The IRDB is accessible to institutional researchers and others at CUNY colleges and the Central Office for data analysis and reporting.

  • Responds to ad-hoc requests for information and provides data and support to the CUNY community as well as to researchers within and outside of CUNY.

  • Develops, expands, and maintains the Academic Program Database, which contains information on each of CUNY's academic programs, enrollments, degrees, dates, and assessment schedule.

  • Prepares data submissions in compliance with annual federal and state reporting requirements.

  • Designs and maintains web reports for public and restricted access on the OIRA portal to share information about CUNY’s students and their enrollment, graduation, and college experience.

  • Conducts surveys such as the biennial Student Experience Survey of undergraduates and the annual survey of CUNY community college graduates, and publishes summaries of survey responses.

  • Designs and generates annual Performance Management Process (PMP) reports including developing the methodology and analyzing data for PMP indicators.

  • Provides expertise on combining data from CUNY’s various silo systems towards data integration and participates in the university’s ERP planning.

  • Works closely with institutional researchers at CUNY colleges through participation in the Institutional Research Council.

IR Website >>

Office of Assessment

The Office of Assessment is responsible for CUNY-wide student assessments, principally the CUNY Assessment Tests (CAT) for students to demonstrate basic skills proficiency upon entering the University. The Office makes available assessment information on the CUNY portal, communicating all information pertinent to the CAT, from general test descriptions to actual sample tests, study resources, and test site locations. The Office has four main areas of responsibilities: <read more>

  • Testing policies -- implements board policies on:
    • University testing requirements.

    • Student eligibility.

    • Score scales and cut-scores.
  • Test design and development
    • Designs tests according to psychometric best practice and University principles of assessment.

    • Develops test specifications for functionally equivalent test forms.

    • Develops grading rubrics for test scoring.

    • Operationalizes measurement designs.
  • Test administration
    • Prepares and distributes test information to students, faculty, the administration and general public.

    • Coordinates test schedules throughout the University.

    • Sets and implements test security procedures and examination proctoring.

    • Maintains test facilities, providing optimal testing environments and ensuring ADA compliance.

    • Manages testing data.

    • Reports individual test scores to test-takers and generates summary reports of test results for the faculty, administration, government agencies and the general public.
  • Test quality assurance
    • Conducts studies on test reliability and validity.

    • Holds regular meetings with the University’s Testing Council, Assessment Council, and subject matter advisory groups.

    • Provides professional development for testing staff including training and certification of readers.

Office of Policy Research

The Office of Policy Research (OPR) was established to pursue research questions in-depth, overseeing an agenda of research and policy analysis addressing postsecondary access and performance gaps by race, income, and gender, the role of college in economic development and workforce training, and issues concerning the high school to college “pipeline” and college readiness. <read more>

Specifically, the Office of Policy Research:

  • Coordinates and analyzes policies that impact student access, retention, and performance across all of the CUNY campuses.

  • Works to identify the existence, extent, and causes of problems in student access and performance in order to design programs, institutional partnerships, and systemic supports to remediate and prevent them (e.g., Working Group on Unequal Access and Success).

  • Established and maintains a partnership and data exchange with the New York City Department of Education (DOE) to improve college readiness and to support students' successful transition from high school to college. 
    • Integral to this work is the data exchange between the DOE and CUNY that allows OPR to investigate NYC public school students' preparation for college, target certain public high schools as ‘hot spots' for high or low performance, better track public school students into the CUNY system, and identify ‘leakage points' where students slip out of the pipeline.
  • Assesses the impact and scalability of promising programs (e.g., ASAP).

  • Initiates and enriches academic dialogue by hosting a seminar series where speakers are invited to discuss current higher education policy and research.

  • Quantifies CUNY's economic impact on the city and state economies through its role in educating many of our health-care professionals, emergency workers, law enforcement officers, and policy-makers.

  • Builds partnerships with researchers at CUNY and other institutions to efficiently maximize the use of CUNY’s data resources to get answers to questions relevant to CUNY and the broader higher education policy community (e.g., Women in Science (IESP/Schwartz and Stiefel; Remediation (Bailey and Attewell)).

  • Provides technical assistance to CUNY administrators, staff, faculty, and policy-makers (e.g., Improving Math Learning grant competition, the Sexual Assault Policy task force, and the race reporting working group).

  • Provides local, state, and federal policy context for issues affecting CUNY.

Recent questions explored by OPR:

  • What factors led to recent increases in Latino enrollment at CUNY?

  • Do CUNY’s students stay in New York City and State after they graduate?

  • How large are retention and graduation gaps at CUNY by race, income, and gender?

  • What has been CUNY’s contribution to New York’s economic base over the past 30 years?

  • Which students are most likely to drop out before completing their degrees, and why?

  • Which New York City public school students do not matriculate to college, and what interventions hold promise to reverse this trend?

  • What factors predict early success in college?

Please see the Office of Policy Research page for working papers and seminar details.  

OPR Website >>