NSSE eNews is a periodic electronic newsletter created to keep NSSE users and others informed about current project activities.
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- “Support for Learners Yields Positive Outcomes” Among Findings in 2016 NSSE Annual Results
- NSSE 2017 Survey Preparations Are Underway
- New Blog Shares Latest Developments in Student Engagement Findings
- Carlow University Deploys Topical Module Results for Accreditation and Action
- BCSSE Outreach Supports Users
- Faculty Use of Rubrics: An Examination Across Multiple Disciplines.
- Data Visualization to Inspire Action on NSSE Results
- Webinars Update for New and Returning Users
- First Annual Teaching and Learning National Institute: Its Achievements and an Invitation
- New NSSE–IDEA Mapping Toolkit
NSSE “Support for Learners Yields Positive Outcomes” Among Findings in NSSE Annual Results 2016
Findings released November 17th in NSSE’s Annual Results 2016 show that getting support for coursework made a positive difference over and above study time and learning strategies for first-year students. These results signal the imperative to provide accessible and effective learning support services to ensure that students who encounter academic difficulty get the help they need.
The report, Engagement Insights–Annual Results 2016, details findings on academic support and several other engagement-related topics from students attending 512 U.S. bachelor’s-granting institutions in spring 2016. Also included are new examples of how institutions use their NSSE data to enhance undergraduate education on their campuses. The full report can be downloaded from the NSSE website.
NSSE 2017 Survey Preparations Are Underway
Over 720 colleges and universities are actively preparing this fall for their NSSE 2017 administration so they can learn more about their students’ engagement in effective educational practices. These institutions will benefit from several recent changes to NSSE content and administration practices:
- 130 institutions will administer our new Inclusiveness and Engagement with Cultural Diversity Topical Module;
- All sampled students will now have the option to answer a question about their sexual orientation, so that institutions can better examine the engagement experiences of their GLBQ students compared to other students on their campus;
- All institutions may choose to have their NSSE reports customized by limiting their selection of responses to only those from the students most critical to their assessment needs;
- More than 160 schools will post unique survey links to their student portals or learning management systems to help increase survey participation;
- Institutions can now elect to send up to two additional email messages from their own campus so as to encourage student participation (after consultation with NSSE staff); and
- Respondents will interact with a survey optimized for both mobile and desktop devices, helping to increase response rates and survey item completion.
All these changes are exciting to us here at NSSE and reflect our practice of listening to NSSE schools about what’s most important to them. Send your ideas about how NSSE can improve further to firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Blog Shares Latest Developments in Student Engagement Findings
NSSE’s brand-new blog—NSSE Sightings—authored by researchers associated with NSSE, FSSE, and BCSSE, is our special online venue for sharing engagement-related findings from recent scholarly publications, conference presentations, webinars, annual reports, and other information sources. Additionally, the blog will highlight stories about how institutions and other researchers are using NSSE data. Blog posts will typically include hyperlinks to full research papers as well as conference presentation slides and handouts and other useful resources. To stay up to date with the latest engagement-related insights and findings, visit us often at NSSEsightings.indiana.edu.
Carlow University Deploys Topical Module Results for Accreditation and Action
Because NSSE results provide actionable evidence on outcomes of interest to a wide range of campus constituencies, Carlow University used their results to prepare for Middle States Commission on Higher Education accreditation and also to target areas for improvement. In particular, results from NSSE’s Learning with Technology Topical Module indicated Carlow students were using technology in the classroom less frequently than their peers at comparison institutions, reinforcing similar findings by other campus assessment tools. To improve the digital literacy components of their students’ educational experience, Carlow designed and conducted a professional development conference for faculty on learning with technology that included a plenary event, concurrent sessions, and faculty demonstrations of their own classroom uses of technology. Carlow will use future NSSE administrations to measure the impact of this faculty training.
If your institution has recently used Topical Module findings to improve student engagement on your campus, please consider sharing your story. Stories may include how you have communicated NSSE results to campus constituencies, paired NSSE findings with those from other assessment tools, and/or used NSSE data in the development of innovative practices. To share your story, send it by email to email@example.com or use the form on our web page.
BCSSE Outreach Supports Users
Collecting your Beginning College Survey of Student Engagement (BCSSE) data is the easy part; using it to increase student success is the most difficult and challenging. We understand this challenge and see it our mission to provide you with tools and resources to best utilize your data. This outreach includes our numerous conference presentations on effectively using BCSSE data for purposes such as first-year advising, retention, faculty development, and institutional research efforts.
In response to frequent requests from BCSSE campus project managers for examples of how other participating colleges and universities use their data, we have made a special effort to collect these institutional stories, particularly since the survey’s major revision in 2013. An online collection of a variety of such exemplary stories is on our website.
For additional data use examples and suggestions, we suggest you review our extensive compilation of publications and presentations related to BCSSE, NSSE, and FSSE—via our searchable online database.
Have your own examples of BCSSE data use? To let us share them with your colleagues or for answers to any question about BCSSE data use, email BCSSE Project Manager Jim Cole: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Faculty Use of Rubrics: An Examination Across Multiple Disciplines
Assessment professionals identify rubrics as key tools in measuring student learning, yet the field of higher education lacks a clear picture of how much faculty use these tools or of how the rubrics are developed and used. To help fill this knowledge gap, at the 2016 Assessment Institute, Thomas Nelson Laird, John Zilvinskis, and Polly Graham presented research on faculty rubric use that drew on a dataset of over 2,000 faculty members from 20 institutions. Attendees audibly gasped when hearing that 76% of the faculty used this important pedagogical tool! Other findings and implications for practice were also presented. To learn more, view the presentation slides.
Data Visualization to Inspire Action on NSSE Results
Data visualization is a critical skill for IR and assessment professionals tasked with communicating complex, detailed, and varied information to institutional stakeholders. While NSSE produces multiple graphics representing results for its reports, users at some institutions have created unique, dynamic, interactive data displays for sharing information on specific institutional questions and for reaching particular campus audiences.
Brock University has creatively re-visualized their data representation, for example, developing a heat map comparing their NSSE results with those of other Ontario institutions. View Brock’s data visualization.
We look forward to exchanging ideas about NSSE data visualization at next year’s Association for Institutional Research (AIR) annual forum in Washington DC. We hope to see you there!
Webinars Update for New and Returning Users
NSSE continues to regularly offer a series of live, interactive webinars for faculty, administrators, and institutional researchers who want to better utilize NSSE, FSSE, and BCSSE data and reports.
Using NSSE Data to Assess and Enhance High-Impact Practices, a recent webinar, provides recommendations for facilitating campus dialogue about high-impact practices and includes an overview of the literature and characteristics of high-impact practices. The presenters also review the NSSE High-Impact Practices Report and how users can effectively utilize this report to inform improvements of institutional practices. This webinar also shares NSSE findings related to participation in high-impact practices by institution control, class level, race/ethnicity, and first-generation status. Lastly, examples are given of how institutions have increased participation in high-impact practices on their campuses.
Survey Recruitment Using Student Portals and Learning Management Systems is an excellent webinar to view if you are participating in NSSE 2017 and are registered to use your campus’ student portal/learning management system. This webinar reviews how 37 institutions supplemented their NSSE recruitment efforts in 2016 with their student portal or learning management system and how it impacted their survey response rates. Additionally, the presenter discusses steps for your administration to implement similar recruitment efforts.
To get slides of these webinars or to see recordings of other webinars, visit our Webinar Archive.
First Annual Teaching and Learning National Institute: Its Achievements and an Invitation
How can campuses use evidence of students’ educational experiences to improve learning and success? Putting NSSE data to use to respond to this question was a key theme of the first annual Teaching and Learning National Institute (TLNI), hosted by The Evergreen State College in summer 2016.
This TLNI event brought together teams of faculty, student affairs professionals, institutional researchers, and administrators from 29 two-year and four-year institutions whose campus plans and uses of NSSE results were diverse. Some used NSSE results to refine the alignment of curriculum and co-curriculum, while others applied their results toward strengthening a student learning outcome such as quantitative or information literacy. Several teams designed faculty development programs linked to student engagement data and institutional goals for student learning. For many campuses, reshaping general education was a central aim. All of the teams focused on using evidence to identify areas of the student experience that could be strengthened and then, building on what is known about successful practices, to shape more effective approaches both in and outside the classroom.
The extensive work of the campus teams at the institute was scaffolded by sessions that informed the action plans on topics such as shaping an effective professional development program, understanding the role of faculty in change initiatives, and creating an equity mindset. Further scaffolding of the teams’ efforts was provided in the formation of cohorts of campus teams with similar interests, with the work of each cohort facilitated by resource faculty who guided the cohort’s process and provided feedback on draft plans.
TLNI is co-sponsored by the National Survey of Student Engagement, the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment, the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, the Achieving the Dream National Network, and the Washington Center for Improving Undergraduate Education.
Join us at the second annual Teaching and Learning National Institute, to be held at The Evergreen State College July 30–August 2, 2017. Participating campus teams will develop evidence-based action plans aimed at improving effective instructional practices, student engagement, and student learning and success. Teams will develop strategies to engage their full- and part-time teaching colleagues in elaborating and institutionalizing their action plans. Apply now for the early bird discount.
New NSSE–IDEA Mapping Toolkit
Pairing NSSE data with other measures of student learning and campus outcomes can prove to be beneficial for campuses, increasing comprehensiveness and precision in understanding the impact of various practices on student progress. One such tool that aligns well with NSSE is the IDEA Student Ratings of Instruction Diagnostic Feedback Instrument (DFI), which provides faculty and administrators feedback on students’ progress on learning outcomes and their observations of faculty teaching methods. Specifically, combining data from NSSE and IDEA DFI enables institutions to examine institutional and course-level dimensions of teaching and learning. In a new toolkit for users, NSSE and IDEA DFI items are mapped to encourage institutions to think more broadly about how these two instruments can inform improvements on their campuses.