2006 student engagement survey results show gains

Results from the spring 2006 National Survey of Student Engagement recently arrived and WSU. The good news is, WSU made significant progress in three categories, including interaction with faculty, active and collaborative learning, and academic challenge. Some progress was made in a fourth category — supportive campus environment, and a slight decline was seen in enriching educational experiences.

The NSSE  (pronounced ness-see) is an annual survey given to randomly selected freshman and seniors from participating colleges and universities – 557 colleges and universities participated in the spring of 2006. It is designed to measure student “participation in programs and activities that institutions provide for their learning and personal development.”  The results help provide a picture of “how undergraduate students spend their time and what they gain from attending college.”

NSSE asks each participant 42 key questions regarding the “student experience,” student behaviors and institutional activities and features, which all affect personal development.
Fran Hermanson, director of Student Affairs Research and Assessment, said the NSSE survey results are being analyzed and compared with WSU’s 2004 results, as well as with those from two peer groups — 15 universities with “very high research activity,” and 16  “large four-year, primarily residential” universities.

Each institution randomly selects the names of potential freshmen and seniors, who are contacted via mail and asked to participate.

WSU Today was only able to receive a small portion of the results at this time. A full report with more details is expected to be released by about Sept. 20, said Hermanson.

Here are some of the WSU freshman participant results and demographics (senior student data was not available to WSU Today):

* Level of academic challenge: 47% in 2006, 31% in 2004
* Active and collaborative learning: 39% in 2006, 24% in 2004
* Interactions with faculty: 42% in 2006, 10% in 2004
* Supportive campus environment: 41% in 2006, 34% in 2004
* Enriching education experiences: 43% in 2006, 46% in 2004


* Response rate: WSU’s response rate among 467 freshmen was 32 percent, similar to its peers. This provides a sampling error of + or – 7.9%
* Survey mode: 32% paper, 68% internet. (Most peers have moved primarily to internet response, 98-99%).
* Enrollment status: 99% full-time
* Ethnicity: Native American 1%; Asian 9%; African American 1%; Caucasian 74%; Mexican-American 4%; Puerto Rican 1%; Other Hispanic or Latino 1%; multiracial 4%; other 1%; no response 5%.
* International students: 4%
* Place of residence: on-campus 82%; off-campus 18%
* Transfer: 3%
* Age:  Traditional (less than 24 years old) 99%; nontraditional (24 or older) 1%

The 2004 NSSE results revealed that WSU scored above average on providing a supportive campus environment but was lacking in the academic areas of collaborative learning, interaction with faculty and educational challenge and experiences. The survey also showed that WSU freshmen weren’t spending much time out of the classroom in learning activities.WSU responded to the 2004 results by launching the Freshman Focus Living Communities project, which put 3,000 freshmen with similar or related classes in common or nearby housing.

Detailed results on each of the 42 specific NSSE questions currently are not available. More detailed results will be provided as they are made available to WSU Today.

WSU Faculty Senate Chair Chuck Pezeshki recently pointed to student engagement as a major issue that the Faculty Senate will be addressing in 2006-07. (See related story at WSU Today online,  http://www.wsutoday.wsu.edu/completestory.asp?StoryID=3153.)