NSSE Annual Results

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This extensive report, published annually each November, disseminates new research on the quality of students’ educational experiences using the most recent data from NSSE, FSSE, and BCSSE.

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    NSSE 2021 Annual Results Engagement Insights
    (Center for Postsecondary Research, 2022-01-15) NSSE
    Engagement Insights shares Annual Results from the National Survey of Student Engagement 2021.
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    Engagement Insights: Survey Findings on the Quality of Undergraduate Education–Annual Results 2019
    (Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research, 2020-01) National Survey of Student Engagement
    This latest volume in NSSE’s Annual Results series, Engagement Insights: Survey Findings on the Quality of Undergraduate Education, presents key findings from the 2019 administration of NSSE and its companion survey, the Faculty Survey of Student Engagement (FSSE). NSSE surveyed first-year and senior students attending 531 bachelor’s degree-granting institutions across the United States in spring 2019, while FSSE results came from 120 institutions, almost all of which administered NSSE as well. Annual Results 2019 also provides findings from a subset of NSSE respondents who answered additional questions about academic advising and from a study of the persistence of first-year students. Noteworthy findings include:•The percentage of first-year students who spent more than 15 hours per week preparing forclass increased from 34% in 2004 to as high as 45% in 2017.•The proportion of first-year students who interacted frequently with faculty about career plans,on course topics outside of class, and in activities other than coursework increased by morethan 10 percentage points from 2004 to 2019. Notably, FSSE 2019 results show that faculty and student views about interaction reasonably align; 68% of faculty frequently talked with undergraduates about their career plans, and 59% discussed course topics, ideas, or concepts outside of class.• From 2004 to 2019, the share of students reporting a substantial institutional emphasis on diverse interactions rose more than 10 points for first-year students and seniors. • More than half of both first-year students and seniors had five or more meetings with an advisor, faculty member, or success coach to discuss their academic interests, course selections, or academic performance; only a trivial proportion (3% first-years and 6% seniors) neverhad such meetings in the current school year. • Regardless of the frequency of their interactions with advisors, seniors who experienced high-quality advising, compared to those who experienced low-quality advising, indicated that their college experience contributed much more to their job- or work-related knowledge and skills. • While just 66% of responding faculty received adequate training for advising, 93% felt comfortable in their role as advisor, and 70% would feel comfortable training or mentoring others in advising. • Students’ responses on Quality of Interactions and Supportive Environment, two of NSSE’s 10 Engagement Indicators, had the strongest positive correlations with persistence; students who persisted also spent more time preparing for class and were more likely to believe their institution emphasizes spending significant amounts of time on academic work. • Students who returned to the institution exhibited higher levels of financial well-being, belongingness, and safety than their peers who did not persist; this suggests the importance of monitoring and enhancing these dimensions of the student experience.
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    Improving the College Experience: National Benchmarks of Effective Educational Practice—NSSE 2001 Report
    (Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research, 2001) National Survey of Student Engagement
    The 2001 report from the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) is based on information from first-year and senior students at 470 different four-year colleges and universities. The NSSE study, titled “From Promise to Progress: How Colleges and Universities Are Using Student Engagement Results to Improve Collegiate Quality,” gives schools an idea of how well students are learning and what they put into and get out of their undergraduate experience. The report focuses on how schools can use engagement data to improve their campuses. The report also contains the following findings: • Schools of similar sizes differ on the student engagement benchmarks, though students at smaller colleges are generally more engaged than their counterparts attending larger institutions. • A worrisome gap exists between the amount of time students spend on educational activities and how much time faculty members say they should be spending.
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    From Promise to Progress: How Colleges and Universities Are Using Student Engagement Results to Improve Collegiate Quality—2002 Annual Report
    (Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research, 2002) National Survey of Student Engagement
    The 2002 report from the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) is based on information from first-year and senior students at 618 different four-year colleges and universities. The NSSE study, titled “From Promise to Progress: How Colleges and Universities Are Using Student Engagement Results to Improve Collegiate Quality,” gives schools an idea of how well students are learning and what they put into and get out of their undergraduate experience. The report focuses on how schools can use engagement data to improve their campuses. The report also contains the following findings: ■ Students from different racial and ethnic backgrounds appear to engage in effective educational practices at comparable levels. ■ International students are generally more engaged in various college experiences than American students, particularly in the first year. ■ Senior transfer students interact less with peers and faculty members and are less involved in campus activities and programs, but perform academically on par with nontransfer students. ■ Diversity-related experiences are positively related to many other effective educational practices. ■ Learning communities are positively linked to a variety of other educationally purposeful activities and desired outcomes. ■ Engagement and grades go hand-in-hand in that GPA is positively related to all five benchmark scores and nearly all of the effective educational practices represented on the NSSE survey.
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    Converting Data into Action: Expanding the Boundaries of Institutional Improvement—2003 Annual Report
    (Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research, 2003) National Survey of Student Engagement
    The 2003 report from the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) is based on information from 185,000 first-year and senior students at 649 different four-year colleges and universities. The NSSE study, titled “Converting Data Into Action: Expanding the Boundaries of Institutional Improvement,” gives schools an idea of how well students are learning and what they put into and get out of their undergraduate experience. Findings show that the vast majority of undergraduate students are regularly using information technology in their academic work. About 83% frequently go to the World Wide Web to obtain resources for their classes and 80% report that their instructors often require them to use computer conferencing, the WWW, and other forms of information technology for completing assignments. The universal access to an endless stream of information has its downside, however, as 87% say that their peers at least “sometimes” copy and paste information from the WWW for reports and papers without citing the source. Other key findings from the 2003 report are: • Contrary to popular opinion, intercollegiate athletes are generally as engaged in learning activities as other students. • Men are generally less engaged than women, especially in the areas of academic challenge and enriching educational experiences. • Less than half of seniors frequently have serious conversations with students from different racial or ethnic backgrounds. • More than a third of all seniors only “occasionally” get prompt feedback from faculty members. • Student experiences vary greatly by major field, with students in professional areas such as architecture and health sciences reporting higher levels of engagement than other fields. • Two fifths of all students report A grades; only 3% of students have C or lower average grades. A third of the students earning A grades study only 10 or fewer hours per week.
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    Student Engagement: Pathways to Collegiate Success—2004 Annual Survey Results
    (Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research, 2004) National Survey of Student Engagement
    The 2004 report from the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) is based on information from 163,000 first-year and senior students at 472 different four-year colleges and universities. The NSSE study, titled “Student Engagement: Pathways to Collegiate Success,” gives schools an idea of how well students are learning and what they put into and get out of their undergraduate experience. Findings show that students who are more engaged in civic activities also gain more during college in terms of ethical development and contributing to the welfare of their community. Some aspects of the student experience have improved over the past five years. For example, today more seniors participate in service learning (from 12% to 19%), have serious conversations with students with different social, political, and religious views (from 45% to 55%), and perceive their campus administration to be helpful, considerate and flexible (from 48% to 63%). About half of all students publicly expressed their views on political or community issues important to them, though only about 10% acted on these views by volunteering for a political campaign or organizing a petition. Only 10% of students rely on newspapers or magazines as their primary source of local, national or international news while more than 50% say television is their primary source. Other key findings from the 2004 report are: • Students spend only about half the time preparing for class as faculty expect. • Two-fifths of first-year students and 25% of seniors “never” discussed ideas from their classes or readings with a faculty outside of class. • About half of first-year and senior students “reported they often” or “very often” had serious conversations with students of a different racial or ethnic group. • One-third of all students frequently participate in spirituality-enhancing activities, while 42% never do so. • Though about a quarter of all students frequently attend cultural and performing arts events during the year, a comparable size group never attends such events. • Students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities are far more likely to participate in a community project linked to a course (28%) versus students at predominantly white institutions (16%).
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    Exploring Different Dimensions of Student Engagement—2005 Annual Survey Results
    (Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research, 2005) National Survey of Student Engagement
    The 2005 report from the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) is based on information from about 237,000 first-year and senior students at 528 four-year colleges and universities. The NSSE study, titled “Exploring Different Dimensions of Student Engagement,” gives schools an idea of how well students are learning and what they put into and get out of their undergraduate experience. Findings show that almost half (45%) of all college seniors took at least one course from another postsecondary institution prior to enrolling at their current institution. This “swirl pattern” – taking classes from multiple institutions on the way to the baccalaureate – is a concern because transfer students participate less in activities that enrich their learning, such as doing community service or volunteer work and working with a faculty member on a research project. A third of seniors took at least one course at another college after enrolling at their current institution. Most of the outside coursework was done at vocational-technical schools or two-year colleges. Among the more popular reasons for taking a course at another school were to complete degree requirements sooner (47%), have a better course schedule (21%), or to take an easier course (17%). Other key findings from the 2005 report are: • At institutions where faculty members use proven teaching practices, such as frequent feedback and class discussions, students are more satisfied and more likely to interact with their teachers and peers. • The 54% of all first-year students who took a first-year seminar were more likely to use campus services, were more satisfied with college, and gained more in terms of personal and social development. • High-profile student-athletes – male football and basketball players and female basketball players – generally take part in effective educational practices at the same level as other students. • Graduates of institutions where students interact more with faculty and have a more supportive campus environment are more likely to make financial contributions to their school. • African American and Asian American students are the least satisfied with their college experiences. • Students who worship frequently or engage in other spirituality-enhancing practices such as meditation also participate more in a broad cross-section of collegiate activities. • Three of ten first-year students reported studying just enough to get by. • Although over 90% of new students expect they will get involved in co-curricular activities, 36% of first-year students and 43% of seniors do none.
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    Engaged Learning: Fostering Success for All Students—Annual Report 2006
    (Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research, 2006) National Survey of Student Engagement
    The 2006 report from the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) is based on information from about 260,000 randomly selected first-year and senior students at 523 four-year colleges and universities. The NSSE study, titled “Engaged Learning: Fostering Success of All Students,” gives schools an idea of how well students are learning and what they put into and get out of their undergraduate experience. Findings show that while student engagement helps all learners, those who come to college less well prepared academically or are from historically underrepresented racial and ethnic backgrounds tend to benefit even more. Being involved in educationally purposeful activities such as interacting with faculty members and working with peers on projects inside and outside of class has positive effects on grades and increases the odds that students will return to college for a second year. Distance education and adult learners engage as often in many positive educational activities as do traditional-age students taking classes on campus. Compared with other students, part-time students who were working had less contact with faculty and were less likely to participate in enriching educational experiences such as community service or active and collaborative learning activities. • Both first-year and senior students spend on average only about 13-14 hours a week preparing for class, far below what faculty members say is necessary to do well in their classes. • New students studied fewer hours during their first year than they expected to when they started college. • Student engagement is positively related to grades and to persistence between the first and second year of college. • Compared with campus-based students, distance education learners reported higher levels of academic challenge and engaged more often in deep learning activities. • First-year students at research universities are more likely to participate in a learning community than their peers at other types of institutions. • First-year students at liberal arts colleges more often participate in class discussions and view their faculty more positively than students at other institutions. • Seniors at master’s level colleges and universities more frequently make class presentations and work with their peers on problems in class than students at other institutions.
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    Experiences That Matter: Enhancing Student Learning and Success—Annual Report 2007
    (Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research, 2007) National Survey of Student Engagement
    The 2007 report from the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) is based on information from about 323,000 randomly selected first-year and senior students at 610 four-year colleges and universities in the U.S. and Canada. The NSSE study, titled “Experiences That Matter: Enhancing Student Learning and Success,” gives schools an idea of how well their students are learning and what they put into and get out of their undergraduate experience. Findings show that taking part in certain activities during college boosts students’ performance in many areas, such as thinking critically, solving real world problems, and working effectively with others. These “high-impact” activities include first-year seminars, learning communities, service learning, undergraduate research, study abroad, internships, and capstone projects. Contrary to what some educators believe, students who frequently talk with their parents and follow their advice participate more frequently in educationally purposeful activities and are more satisfied with their college experience. This is also true for students with so-called “helicopter parents” – those who intervened with institutional officials to solve problems their student encountered on campus. • Students who meet with their advisor at least twice a year are more engaged and gain more from college, yet 10% never meet with their advisor. • Thirteen percent of first-year students have parents who frequently intervene with college officials. • When faculty members provide guidance and feedback on projects and papers, students are more satisfied and say they benefit more in desired ways. • First-year men report higher SAT or ACT scores, but spend less time than women preparing for classes and more time relaxing and socializing in the first year of college. • Students who study abroad report greater gains in intellectual and personal development than their peers who do not have such an experience. • First-generation students are less likely to take part in enriching educational experiences such as study abroad, an internship, or research with a faculty member. • An internship or field placement is the most powerful form of a culminating senior experience. • Only 29% of seniors at public institutions do a culminating senior experience, compared with 42% of their private college and university counterparts.
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    Promoting Engagement for All Students: The Imperative to Look Within—2008 Results
    (Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research, 2008) National Survey of Student Engagement
    The 2008 report from the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) is based on information from nearly 380,000 randomly selected first-year and senior students at 722 four-year colleges and universities in the U.S. The report, Promoting Engagement for All Students: The Imperative to Look Within, provides an overview of survey findings and points to accomplishments as well as areas where improvement is needed. Findings from a national survey released this week show that the quality of undergraduate education varies far more within colleges and universities than between them. As a result, rankings can be highly misleading predictors of educational quality. Analyses of key “Benchmarks of Effective Educational Practice” reveal that in almost every case, more than 90 percent of the variation in undergraduate education quality occurs within institutions, not between them. A related conclusion is that even institutions with high benchmark scores have an appreciable share of students whose undergraduate experience is average at best. Other key findings from the 2008 survey are: • Students taking most of their classes online report more deep approaches to learning in their classes, relative to classroom-based learners. Furthermore, a larger share of online learners reported very often participating in intellectually challenging course activities. • Seniors who entered as transfers lag behind their peers on several measures of engagement. They talked less frequently with faculty about their future plans, were less likely than their peers to work with their classmates on assignments outside of class, and fewer participated in co-curricular activities. On the other hand, they more frequently prepared multiple drafts of assignments. • About one in five first-year students and seniors reported that they frequently came to class without completing readings or assignments. • First-year students wrote on average 92 pages and seniors wrote 146 pages during the academic year. Seniors majoring in the social sciences and arts and humanities wrote considerably more than those studying the physical and biological sciences. • When courses provided extensive, intellectually challenging writing activities, students engaged in more deep learning activities such as analysis, synthesis, and integration of ideas from various sources, and they grappled more with course ideas both in and out of the classroom. These students also reported greater personal, social, practical, and academic learning and development.
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    Assessment for Improvement: Tracking Student Engagement Over Time—Annual Results 2009
    (Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research, 2009) National Survey of Student Engagement
    The 2009 report from the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), Assessment for Improvement: Tracking Student Engagement Over Time, details results from a 2009 survey of 360,000 students attending 617 U.S. colleges and universities, and it includes a special look at trends in student engagement at more than 200 of those schools that had four to six year’s worth of data going back to 2004. In examining trends, the researchers used several key quality measures: NSSE’s “Benchmarks of Effective Educational Practice” as well as the percentage of students who participate in high-impact practices such as learning communities, service-learning, study abroad, and research with faculty. They found that 41% of institutions showed positive trends on at least one quality measure for first-year students, and 28% did so for seniors. For first-year students, two benchmarks saw the largest number of institutions with steady improvement: active and collaborative learning, and student-faculty interaction. Positive changes were found at public as well as private institutions, at doctorate- and master’s-granting universities as well as undergraduate colleges, and at institutions in all size categories. Other key findings from the 2009 survey and its companion surveys, the Beginning College Survey of Student Engagement (BCSSE) and the Faculty Survey of Student Engagement (FSSE), include: About one in three seniors participated in a culminating experience such as a capstone course, senior project, or comprehensive examination. Compared with their peers who did not do so, these students scored higher on the NSSE benchmarks, reported greater participation in deep approaches to learning, and felt they gained more from their college experience. • Students whose classes used course management technologies (which provide discussion boards and the posting of notes, readings, or assignments) or interactive technologies (such as collaborative editing software, blogs, simulations, and virtual worlds) scored higher on NSSE benchmarks, participated more in deep approaches to learning, and reported higher academic and personal gains during college. • One in three seniors rated the quality of academic advising as only fair or poor. • Results from BCSSE indicated that entering first-year students who were involved in co-curricular activities in high school expected higher grades and were more certain that they would persist at their college, and were more likely to aspire to graduate education. • FSSE results indicate that about three-quarters of faculty felt their institution was very involved in assessment efforts, but only about a third believed the findings were being effectively disseminated or used.
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    Major Differences: Examining Student Engagement by Field of Study—Annual Results 2010
    (Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research, 2010) National Survey of Student Engagement
    The report from the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), Major Differences: Examining Student Engagement by Field of Study—Annual Results 2010, details results from a 2010 survey of 362,000 first-year students and seniors attending 564 U.S. colleges and universities. The report looks at how patterns of involvement in educationally purposeful activities vary according to students’ major field of study. It provides detailed examinations of engagement patterns in four of the largest majors: general biology, business administration, English, and psychology. A key finding from this analysis is that the nature of the educational experience—not just the amount of reading and writing, but involvement in a range of educationally purposeful activities and specific high-impact educational practices such as service-learning, research with faculty, and internships or field placements—varies considerably by major. Results show that student veterans attending four-year colleges and universities in the United States generally perceive lower levels of campus support than nonveterans, and they also interact less often with faculty members. These differences were more systematic among seniors than first-year students. Despite spending more time working and caring for dependents, veterans spent as much time studying as their nonveteran peers. Compared to nonveterans, first-year students who were combat veterans spent twice as many hours per week working, and six times as many hours on dependent care. About one in five combat veterans in college reported having a disability, twice that of nonveterans. These findings notwithstanding, overall levels of satisfaction with the college experience were generally comparable between veterans and nonveterans. Other noteworthy findings from the 2010 survey and its companion surveys, the Beginning College Survey of Student Engagement (BCSSE) and the Faculty Survey of Student Engagement (FSSE), include: • Beginning students who were in the bottom half on self-described preparation for college and in the top half on anticipated academic difficulty rated the importance of academic support services lower than their better prepared and more confident peers. In other words, the very students most likely to need academic support are the ones who see it as less important. • Senior biology majors said their courses emphasized memorization more than other majors, and they made fewer class presentations. They also spent more time each week preparing for class than other majors. • About two in five seniors majoring in business administration and accounting had internship or field experiences, compared to about half of other majors. • Senior English majors were more engaged in integrative learning—such as incorporating diverse perspectives in assignments and combining information from multiple sources—than seniors in other fields. • Relative to other majors, seniors in psychology were more engaged in reflective learning (for example, examining the strengths and weaknesses of one’s own beliefs or trying to view an issue from another’s perspective). • About four out of five biology faculty said it is important or very important for undergraduates to do research with a faculty member. The relatively high rate of research participation among senior biology majors (40%, twice the overall average) reflects this faculty priority. • Learning with other students—for example, participating in study groups, working on group projects, and exchanging feedback with other students—was positively related to other forms of student engagement, and greater involvement in peer learning was also related to higher levels of reflective learning.
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    Fostering Student Engagement Campuswide—Annual Results 2011
    (Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research, 2011) National Survey of Student Engagement
    The report, Fostering Student Engagement Campuswide—Annual Results 2011, details results from a 2011 survey of 416,000 first-year students and seniors attending 673 U.S. colleges and universities. The report’s theme illustrates the value of connecting student engagement results to specific campus programs and units to encourage greater collaboration to improve the quality of the undergraduate experience. Results show that on average, full-time college students study 15 hours a week. However, study time differed by academic majors, with seniors in engineering averaging about 19 hours per week, while their peers in the social sciences and business averaged five fewer hours per week. Faculty expectations for study time by field corresponded closely to what students reported, but there were exceptions. Social sciences faculty, for example, expected four more hours per week than the average social sciences senior reported. Students who devoted at least 20 hours per week to studying did not always attend class fully prepared. These findings, released by the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), raise questions about areas where a mismatch may exist between the work asked of students and what they believe necessary to succeed, and also whether faculty expectations for study time may need to be recalibrated. The survey also documents a variety of student approaches to studying and learning. Taking careful notes during class was widespread, but only two out of three students frequently reviewed their notes after class. Only half said they frequently outlined major topics and ideas from course materials or discussed effective study strategies with faculty or students. All of the effective learning strategies were positively related to other measures of student engagement such as academic challenge and active and collaborative learning. Other noteworthy findings from the 2011 survey and its companion surveys, the Beginning College Survey of Student Engagement (BCSSE) and the Faculty Survey of Student Engagement (FSSE), include: • About one in five entering students expected paying for college to be “very difficult,” and those who expected financial difficulty also anticipated more trouble learning course material, managing time, and interacting with faculty. These students also placed a higher value on the importance of getting help with school work and campus support services. Only seven out of ten students frequently sought help when they did not understand course material. • The majority of seniors (83%) discussed career plans with a faculty member or advisor, and 75% perceived substantial gains in work-related knowledge and skills. • About half of seniors participated in an internship, practicum, field experience, or clinical assignment. Participation rates differed by discipline, from a high of 71% for education majors to a low of 43% for business majors. • First-generation college students (neither parent has a bachelor’s degree) spent significantly less time preparing for class than students with at least one college-educated parent, yet they were more likely to use a variety of learning strategies, including taking careful notes during class, connecting learning to things they already know, and identifying key information from readings.
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    Promoting Student Learning and Institutional Improvement: Lessons from NSSE at 13—Annual Results 2012
    (Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research, 2012) National Survey of Student Engagement
    Promoting Student Learning and Institutional Improvement: Lessons from NSSE at 13—Annual Results 2012, details results from a 2012 survey of 285,000 first-year students and seniors attending 546 U.S. colleges and universities. NSSE’s annual survey provides diagnostic, comparative information about the prevalence of effective educational practices at participating bachelor’s degree-granting colleges and universities. A majority of students surveyed worry about paying for college, and as many as one in three frequently opt not to purchase required academic materials due to cost. Full-time students working more than 20 hours per week face the greatest financial stress: three in five said that their job interfered with their academic performance, yet just as many had considered working more hours. The survey also shows that social media can be a mixed blessing. Nine out of ten students use social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), primarily to connect with friends and family. Many also use social media in educationally purposeful ways, such as to plan study groups or complete class assignments. Frequent interaction with peers, faculty, and campus offices by way of social media corresponded to higher engagement and satisfaction. But those who used social media during class for nonclass activities had lower grades and were less satisfied with college. On the eve of launching an updated survey in 2013, NSSE dedicated a part of this year’s report to revisiting key findings from its first 13 years. New analyses reinforce the educational benefits of deep approaches to learning—approaches that favor higher-order thinking over rote memorization, that call on students to integrate knowledge from multiple sources, and that inspire them to rethink and revise their prior beliefs. Students participating in high-impact practices such as service-learning and culminating senior experiences (e.g., capstone courses and senior theses) showed higher levels of deep approaches to learning. A core purpose of the NSSE project is to provide actionable information to inform the improvement of undergraduate education. An updated analysis of multi-year, institution-level results in student engagement at more than 400 colleges and universities found that more than half showed positive trends for first-year students, as did more than one-third for seniors. Only 7-8% evidenced negative trends. Positive trends were found at public as well as private, and large as well as small institutions. Other noteworthy findings from the 2012 survey and its companion surveys, the Beginning College Survey of Student Engagement (BCSSE) and the Faculty Survey of Student Engagement (FSSE), include: • First-year students spent an average of 15 hours per week preparing for class, and seniors averaged one half-hour more. Those earning grades of A or A- studied about four more hours per week than their first-year peers with grades of C+ or lower. • In most fields, full-time seniors devoted about one to two hours less to class preparation than faculty expected. Engineering majors studied more than faculty expected. But when asked how much they believe students actually study, faculty estimates in all fields fell short of student accounts by five to eight hours per week. • On average, distance education students spent about one hour more per week preparing for class than their on-campus counterparts. • Support for learning in college was beneficial regardless of how engaged students had been in high school. Although high school engagement was related to subsequent engagement in college, on average, students who experienced a more supportive campus environment evidenced higher levels of engagement. • Job opportunities were cited by the majority of seniors among the factors motivating their choice of major, but this varied by racial/ethnic background and field of study. Students of color were generally more concerned than Whites about their ability to find a job. Seniors majoring in science, technology, engineering, and math were more likely than others to cite job opportunities as a motivating factor.
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    A Fresh Look at Student Engagement—Annual Results 2013
    (Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research, 2013) National Survey of Student Engagement
    The report, A Fresh Look at Student Engagement—Annual Results 2013, details results from a 2013 survey of nearly 335,000 first-year and senior students attending 568 U.S. bachelor’s degree-granting colleges and universities that participated in NSSE in spring 2013. It also uses data from two topical modules elected by a subset of 2013 institutions. NSSE’s annual survey provides diagnostic, comparative information about the prevalence of effective educational practices at participating institutions. As higher education debates the merits of distance learning, NSSE results reveal that online students spent more hours per week preparing for class and on assigned reading compared to students taking no courses online. They also reported more total pages of assigned writing, and a larger percentage said their courses were highly challenging. However, students taking all of their courses online were significantly less engaged in collaborative learning. NSSE results illuminate the relationship between emphasizing higher-order learning in the classroom – sophisticated cognitive tasks rather than rote memorization, aligning with employer concerns for creativity and problem-solving skills – and other indicators of academic challenge such as the amount of assigned reading and writing. Emphasis on higher-order learning was nearly doubled among seniors who indicated a high level of course challenge compared with those whose courses provided low challenge. In 2013, NSSE and the Faculty Survey of Student Engagement (FSSE) asked a subset of students and faculty about their perceptions of end-of-course evaluations. Two-thirds of students believed that end-of-course evaluations substantially (“Very much” or “Quite a bit”) allowed them to give feedback that matters most to them about a course. Lower-ranked faculty – instructors and assistant professors – were more likely than their more senior colleagues to make use of evaluation results to improve their courses and teaching. About one in three first-year students and one in four seniors submitted evaluations to external providers such as ratemyprofessors.com, and about half of all students said they used these sources when selecting courses. Other noteworthy findings from the 2013 survey include: • First-year students spent an average of 14 hours per week preparing for class, and seniors averaged one hour more. Of this, six and seven hours per week, respectively, were devoted to assigned reading. Overall, about 55% of first-year students and 61% of seniors felt strongly (6 or 7 on a 7-point scale) that their courses challenged them to do their best work. • First-year students who participated in at least one high-impact practice (learning community, service-learning, or research with a faculty member) reported greater gains in their knowledge, skills, and personal development, were more satisfied with their entire educational experience, and were more likely to say they would choose the same institution if they were to start over again. • Participation in high-impact practices also differed by major. Seniors majoring in education, health professions, and social service professions were more likely to take courses that included a service-learning component; and arts and humanities, communications, and engineering majors were more often asked to do a culminating senior experience such as a capstone course or senior project. • On average, seniors in engineering and biology were most engaged in collaborative learning, while their peers majoring in arts and humanities, social sciences, and social service professions had the lowest levels. • Only 40% of students identified an academic advisor as their primary source of advice regarding academic plans. About one-third of first-year students and 18% of seniors identified friends or family as their primary source of academic advice, and another 18% of seniors identified faculty members who were not formally assigned as an advisor. • Both learning with technology and courses that improved students’ understanding and use of technology had a positive association with all four of NSSE’s academic challenge Engagement Indicators.
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    Bringing the Institution into Focus—Annual Results 2014
    (Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research, 2014) National Survey of Student Engagement
    The report, Bringing the Institution into Focus—Annual Results 2014, details results from more than 355,000 first-year and senior students attending 622 U.S. colleges and universities that participated in NSSE in spring 2014. NSSE’s annual survey provides colleges and universities with rich data about the undergraduate experience to help them improve student learning and success. Other noteworthy findings from the 2014 NSSE survey and its companion surveys, the Beginning College Survey of Student Engagement (BCSSE) and the Faculty Survey of Student Engagement (FSSE), include: • Although African American and Latino students overall reported lower quality of interactions with others (students, faculty, advisors, and other staff) than their white peers, the results revealed an appreciable share of institutions where the difference between groups was absent or reversed. • The number of times first-year students met with an academic advisor was positively related to perceptions of a supportive campus environment, and this holds across racial-ethnic groups. Unfortunately, about one in three first-year students rarely met with an advisor (23% had one meeting, and 9% never saw one).The proportion who rarely sought advice was higher among commuting, nontraditional-aged, and part-time students. • Both first-year students and seniors reported a considerable emphasis by instructors on information literacy skills such as assessing the quality of information sources and properly citing them. But while 74% of first-year students said their instructors emphasized questioning the quality of information sources, only 37% of first-year students and 36% of seniors frequently decided not to use an information source due to quality concerns. • Learning-directed uses of social media were positively related to all of NSSE’s measures of student engagement. The strongest relationships were with reflective and integrative learning, collaborative learning, and student-faculty interaction. • About two in five first-year students and one-third of seniors said social media substantially distracted them from their coursework. • First-year students who earned higher grades than they had expected scored higher on seven of ten engagement indicators compared to students who performed below their expectations. They also spent more time studying and less time working for pay. • On average, faculty devoted more time to teaching activities than to research, service, and advising. Full-time faculty averaged 9 hours per week preparing for their classes, close to 10 hours teaching, and an additional 17 hours on other instructional activities such as grading and meeting with students outside of class. Faculty who devoted more time to teaching improvement had higher expectations for their students’ learning, spent less class time lecturing, interacted more with students, and more often used effective teaching practices.
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    Engagement Insights: Survey Findings on the Quality of Undergraduate Education—Annual Results 2015
    (Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research, 2015) National Survey of Student Engagement
    The report, Engagement Insights—Annual Results 2015, details results from more than 315,000 first-year and senior students attending 541 U.S. institutions in spring 2015, or subsets of that group where supplemental survey questions were included. NSSE’s annual survey provides colleges and universities with rich data about the undergraduate experience to help them improve student learning and success. Results for seniors show that participation in several High-Impact Practices (an internship or field experience, a learning community, research with faculty, a culminating senior-year experience, or service-learning) was positively related to how well their major coursework prepared them for post-graduation plans for employment or further education. Results also show that financial stress has not abated since 2012, and in some cases has worsened. Compared to 2012, a higher proportion of students frequently chose not to purchase required academic materials due to their cost. Other noteworthy findings from the 2015 NSSE survey and its companion surveys, the Beginning College Survey of Student Engagement (BCSSE) and the Faculty Survey of Student Engagement (FSSE), include: • BCSSE results indicate considerable consistency in study time between high school and the first year of college. Over two thirds (68%) of those who studied more than 15 hours a week in high school studied at least that much during the first year of college. In contrast, only a quarter (25%) of those who studied five or fewer hours per week in high school studied more than 15 hours per week in the first college year. • A large majority (88%) of faculty at 16 institutions felt safe at their institutions, and 70% substantially agreed that if a crisis happened their institution would handle it well. However, perceptions of preparedness varied considerably from campus to campus. About one in four faculty members (23%) experienced offensive behavior, discrimination, isolation, or harassment at their institutions. (Results from FSSE experimental questions.) • Additional NSSE findings: 66% of first-year students frequently learned something that changed the way they understand an issue or concept, and 80% of seniors talked about career plans with a faculty member. The report also features examples from Harvey Mudd College, University of Mount Union, and University of West Florida illustrating how these institutions have used NSSE results to guide improvement efforts.
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    Engagement Insights: Survey Findings on the Quality of Undergraduate Education—Annual Results 2016
    (Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research, 2016) National Survey of Student Engagement
    Engagement Insights—Annual Results 2016 details results from more than 300,000 first-year and senior students attending 512 U.S. bachelor’s-granting institutions in spring 2016. Given the increasing national importance of postsecondary degree completion, the report also explored the relationship between first-year students’ engagement and institutional retention and graduation rates. While retention and graduation were positively related to student engagement, the strongest association was for the amount of time students spent preparing for class. Other noteworthy findings from NSSE—and its companion surveys, the Beginning College Survey of Student Engagement (BCSSE) and the Faculty Survey of Student Engagement (FSSE)—include: • Seniors who were more inclined toward a growth mindset—meaning they embrace challenges and believe that rising to those challenges can enhance their capabilities—were more likely to use effective learning strategies and to engage in reflective and integrative learning. • About nine out of ten students felt safe and comfortable being themselves at their institution, and about eight in ten felt valued by the institution. However, students with a gender identity other than man or woman, as well as those who are African American, Native American, or multiracial, were less likely to feel safe and welcomed by their institutions. • About one in four beginning college students took college-level courses during high school as part of a dual enrollment program. Students who took academically rigorous dual-credit courses were significantly more engaged in the first year of college. • On average, African American faculty interacted with students most often, while White and Asian men faculty did so the least. Asian women and Latina faculty were most likely to implement effective teaching practices, while White men faculty were the least likely. The report also features examples from Carlow University, Oregon Institute of Technology, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, and Winthrop University illustrating the use of NSSE results to guide improvement efforts.
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    Engagement Insights: Survey Findings on the Quality of Undergraduate Education—Annual Results 2017
    (Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research, 2017) National Survey of Student Engagement
    The 2017 release of NSSE’s annual report, Engagement Insights: Survey Findings on the Quality of Undergraduate Education, presents findings from the most recent administration of NSSE and its companion surveys, the Beginning College Survey of Student Engagement (BCSSE) and the Faculty Survey of Student Engagement (FSSE), to first-year and senior students attending more than 630 bachelor’s degree-granting institutions across the United States in spring 2017. This report provides responses to new survey questions about inclusiveness and engagement with cultural diversity as well as findings offering fresh insights into the experiences of first-generation college students; students of color; gender-variant students; and LGBQ+ students, those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or other non-heterosexual orientation. Reflecting the national attention on issues of racial equity, social justice, and political polarization, the report also investigates student activism and its relationship to engagement in educationally purposeful activities. Rather than a threat to the ideals of higher education, student activism appears to signal reflection, critical thinking, and engagement with ideas—combined with a vision for change. Other noteworthy findings from NSSE, BCSSE, and FSSE include: • Seniors from traditionally underrepresented groups gave higher ratings than the average senior to the quality of interactions with others and campus support. • First-generation seniors were less likely than their peers with college-educated parents to participate in five of six educationally beneficial High-Impact Practices. • Gender-variant first-year students rated their interactions with peers, advisors, and faculty as high as cisgender students did, but their interactions with administrative staff and offices garnered lower ratings relative to other students. • LGBQ+ students were more engaged than their straight peers in reflective and integrative learning activities. • Results from BCSSE on students’ expectations for student-faculty interaction compared to NSSE results on their actual experiences indicate that unmet expectations may be a predictor for student departure. • Comparison of results from a special question set in FSSE 2007 and 2017 found little change in the incorporation of diversity in courses over the last decade. • Analysis of FSSE results on the time faculty allocate to teaching, research, and service revealed five distinct patterns accounting for 9–33% of faculty. The report also features examples of the use of NSSE results to inform improvement efforts at Biola University, California State University San Bernardino, Keene State College, University of Minnesota Duluth, Southern Connecticut State University, Winthrop University, and Youngstown State University.
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    Engagement Insights: Survey Findings on the Quality of Undergraduate Education—Annual Results 2018
    (Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research, 2018) National Survey of Student Engagement
    NSSE’s latest volume in its Annual Results series, Engagement Insights: Survey Findings on the Quality of Undergraduate Education, presents key findings from the 2018 administration of NSSE and its companion survey, the Faculty Survey of Student Engagement (FSSE). NSSE surveyed first-year and senior students attending nearly 500 bachelor’s degree-granting institutions across the United States in spring 2018, while FSSE results came from 113 institutions, almost all of which administered NSSE as well. Annual Results 2018 also provides findings from a subset of NSSE respondents who answered additional questions about their career goals, use of career planning resources, and related activities. Results from NSSE’s Topical Module on First-Year Experiences and Senior Transitions provide further insights into seniors planning to take less-traveled paths after college. Noteworthy findings include: • Three in five seniors interviewed or shadowed a professional in the field, while about half attended a talk or panel discussion about careers. • Black first-year students attending historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) took greater advantage of career preparation resources than their peers at predominantly White institutions (PWIs), and they also expressed greater certainty about their career goals. • Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) faculty who teach lower-division students at HBCUs discussed careers with students more often than their PWI counterparts did. • About 9 in 10 seniors believed what they were learning in college was relevant to their career plans, with a modest difference favoring majors in professional fields compared to arts and sciences majors. • Arts and sciences majors were notably less likely than others to say their career goals had remained the same since beginning college, and they also expressed somewhat lower confidence than other majors in their career plans. • Seniors’ beliefs about how much their college experience helped them develop career-related skills differed by major. Those in social service professions reported above-average growth in understanding people of other backgrounds, while seniors in communications, media, and public relations were above average on perceived gains in writing and speaking. Majors in engineering and physical sciences reported below-average growth in these areas. The strongest beliefs about growth were in thinking critically and analytically, with few meaningful differences by major. Annual Results 2018 also summarizes students’ participation in High-Impact Practices (HIPs). Service-learning had the highest participation rate, with about half of first-year students and three fifths of seniors. About half of seniors had an internship or other field experience.