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Survey of Student Engagement Reports is Out

Inside Higher Ed reports on the newest version of the National Survey on Student Engagement (known as “Nessie”) is out.  I’m going to have to try to get my hands on the whole report.  But here’s an excerpt from Inside Higher Ed’s reporting:

Touting the “High Impact” Activity

The survey also found that students receive both academic and personal benefits from taking part in what it calls “high impact” activities that require close interaction with their peers, faculty and other professionals. These include study abroad, internships or field placement, capstone projects, first-year seminars, learning communities and undergraduate research with faculty.

Nearly half of the 18,000 faculty members who completed the Faculty Survey of Student Engagement, also released through Indiana University, last spring said it is “important” or “very important” for undergraduates to take part in a learning community. More than 50 percent said working on a research project with a professor is an important exercise, and more than 8 in 10 faculty said students should have a culminating senior experience.

Still, fewer than half of the seniors surveyed said they had taken part in such an experience, and the numbers are especially small at public institutions, the survey found. More than half of seniors report doing a practicum or clinical assignment, or having a field experience.

Students who took part in a study abroad program report making greater gains in intellectual and personal development upon returning to campus than do those who stay on the home campus over that time period. The survey found that the length of time one spends abroad isn’t as important statistically as whether a student has any such an experience — though Kuh added that students who live with a foreign family report more gains than others who live among English speakers. Those most likely to leave: students at private colleges majoring in the arts and social sciences. First-generation and transfer students are the least likely participants.

Kuh said the survey data underscore how much students value faculty input on their academic and extracurricular choices. “The more faculty at an institution say doing an activity is important, the more likely students are to find it important and then take part in it,” he said.

The survey also found that:

  • Students who meet with their adviser at least twice a year are more engaged and gain more from college than those who don’t. A majority of students said their advisers were either “good or excellent.”
  • Part-time, white female students are less likely to meet with their adviser than full-time, male students of color. Ten percent of students overall never once met their adviser.
  • The Beginning College Survey of Student Engagement found that first-year males report higher SAT and ACT scores, but spend less time than females preparing for classes and more time “relaxing and socializing.” Women were more academically engaged and had better grades in high school, however.
  • Students starting college expected to spend 50 percent more time preparing for class than relaxing and socializing. Full-time students report spending 13 to 14 hours studying a week, a number that has remained constant since the report began. (Faculty said that’s about half of what is needed to do well in their classes.)
  • Forty-six percent of students attend college within 100 miles of home.

Mark Montgomery
Montgomery Educational Consulting

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