Experiences That Matter: Enhancing Student Learning and Success—Annual Report 2007

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Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research


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.



Learner Engagement, National Surveys, Student Surveys, Undergraduate Students, Educational Quality, Faculty Advisers, Family Role, Difficulty Level, Active Learning, Cooperative Learning


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