Engagement insights: Survey findings on the quality of undergraduate education--Annual results 2018
National Survey of Student Engagement
Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research, 2018.
This year‘s Annual Results examines how colleges and universities are preparing students for work and careers. Our analyses investigated the importance of educational context—with special attention to major—in shaping students‘ development of workplace-relevant skills such as working with others and solving real-world problems, as well as basic skills valued by employers such as critical thinking and effective writing and speaking. We also asked a subset of respondents a set of targeted questions about their career goals and their use of career planning resources and related activities. Finally, we used results from NSSE‘s Topical Module on First-Year Experiences and Senior Transitions to study seniors planning to take less-traveled paths after college.
How writing contributes to learning: New findings from a national study and their local application
Anderson, P., Anson, C. M., Fish, T., Gonyea, R. M., Marshall, M., Menefee-Libey, W., Paine, C., Palucki Blake, L., & Weaver, S.
Peer Review, 19(Winter, 1), , 2017.
This article summarizes findings from NSSE Consortium for the Study of Writing in College by which three writing constructs were derived – Interactive Writing Processes, Meaning-Making Writing Tasks, and Clear Writing Expectations. Authors describe how to use the constructs to create better writing assignments, and provide examples from three institutions in their application.
Assessment in student affairs (2nd ed.)
Schuh, J. H., Biddix, P., Dean, L. A., & Kinzie, J.
San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2016.
A practical, comprehensive manual for assessment design and implementation, Assessment in Student Affairs (Second Edition) offers a contemporary look at the foundational elements and practical application of assessment in student affairs. Higher education administration is increasingly called upon to demonstrate organizational effectiveness and engage in continuous improvement based on information generated through systematic inquiry. This book provides a thorough primer on all stages of the assessment process. From planning to reporting and beyond, you'll find valuable assessment strategies to help you produce meaningful information and improve your program. Combining and updating the thoroughness and practicality of Assessment in Student Affairs and Assessment Practice in Student Affairs, this new edition covers design of assessment projects, ethical practice, student learning outcomes, data collection and analysis methods, report writing, and strategies to implement change based on assessment results. Case studies demonstrate real-world application to help you clearly see how these ideas are used effectively every day, and end-of-chapter discussion questions stimulate deeper investigation and further thinking about the ideas discussed. The instructor resources will help you seamlessly integrate this new resource into existing graduate-level courses. Student affairs administrators understand the importance of assessment, but many can benefit from additional direction when it comes to designing and implementing evaluations that produce truly useful information. This book provides field-tested approaches to assessment, giving you a comprehensive how-to manual for demonstrating—and improving—the work you do every day. •Build your own assessment to demonstrate organizational effectiveness. •Utilize quantitative and qualitative techniques and data. •Identify metrics and methods for measuring student learning. •Report and implement assessment findings effectively. Accountability and effectiveness are the hallmarks of higher education administration today, and they are becoming the metrics by which programs and services are evaluated. Strong assessment skills have never been more important. Assessment in Student Affairs gives you the knowledge base and skill set you need to shine a spotlight on what you and your organization are able to achieve.
What is NSSE?
Paine, C., Gonyea, R. M., Anson, C. M., & Anderson, P. V.
In R. Malenczyk (Ed.) A rhetoric for writing program administrators Anderson, SC: Parlor Press, 2016.
The contributions of writing to learning and development: Results from a large-scale multi-institutional study
Anderson, P., Anson, C. M., Gonyea, R. M., & Paine, C.
Research in the Teaching of English, 50(2), 199-235, 2015.
Conducted through a collaboration between the Council of Writing Program Administrators(CWPA) and the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), this study identified and tested new variables for examining writing‘s relationship to learning and development. Eighty CWPA members helped to establish a consensus model of 27 effective writing practices. Eighty US baccalaureate institutions appended questions to the NSSE instrument based on these 27 practices, yielding responses from 29,634 first-year students and 41,802 seniors. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) identified three constructs: Interactive Writing Processes, Meaning-Making Writing Tasks, and Clear Writing Expectations. Regression analyses indicated that the constructs were positively associated with two sets of established constructs in the regular NSSE instrument--Deep Approaches to Learning (Higher-Order Learning, Integrative Learning, and Reflective Learning)and Perceived Gains in Learning and Development as defined by the institution‘s contributions to growth in Practical Competence, Personal and Social Development, and General Education Learning--with effect sizes that were consistently greater than those for the number of pages written. These were net results after controlling for institutional and student characteristics, as well as other factors that might contribute to enhanced learning. The study adds three empirically established constructs to research on writing and learning. It extends the positive impact of writing beyond learning course material to include Personal and Social Development. Although correlational, it can provide guidance to instructors, institutions, accreditors, and other stakeholders because of the nature of the questions associated with the effective writing constructs.
Using National Survey of Student Engagement data and methods to assess teaching in first-year composition and writing across the curriculum
Paine, C., Anson, C., Gonyea, R. M., & Anderson, P.
In A. E. Dayton (Ed.) Assessing the teaching of writing: Twenty-first century trends and technologies Boulder, CO: University Press of Colorado, 2015.
In this chapter, we describe the origins, aims, and general structure of the NSSE (student engagement) and the Consortium for the Study of Writing in College (CSWC) (writing instruction) surveys. We describe how the CSWC was developed and offered and provide a brief overview of major findings of the national study. We describe how WPAs can adopt and adapt both the CSWC questions and the general approach to local needs. Finally, we describe some best practices (what to do and what to avoid) for using this approach, and we provide a few ideas for sharing results and making improvements.
Lessons from the field—Volume 2: Moving from data to action
National Survey of Student Engagement
Bloomington, IN: Center for Postsecondary Research, Indiana University School of Education, 2012.
In this publication we highlight approaches different types of institutions have taken to improve the undergraduate experience. Because NSSE focuses on student behavior and effective educational practice, colleges and universities have found many productive ways to use survey results: accreditation self-studies, benchmarking, curricular reform, faculty and staff development, grant writing, institutional research, retention, and state system comparisons. The stories about data use illustrate various ways that assessment can be a worthwhile undertaking when meaningful data are generated and discussed with a wide campus audience, and results are used to inform efforts to improve educational effectiveness. Understanding how colleges and universities use results and achieve improvements in undergraduate education is important. to advancing systemic improvement in higher education. The examples in this volume provide ample inspiration for encouraging institutions to move from collecting data to taking action.
STEM/non-STEM differences in engagement at U.S. institutions
Nelson Laird, T. F., McCormick, A. C., Sullivan, D. F., & Zimmerman, C. K.
Peer Review, 13(3), 23–26, 2011.
A recent paper by one of us (Nelson Laird) and some colleagues brought some sobering news of differences between STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and non-STEM undergraduates with regard to approaches to learning that promote more complex, deeper understanding. Using data from the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) and the Faculty Survey of Student Engagement (FSSE), Nelson Laird and colleagues examined disciplinary differences in the extent to which students are exposed to educational environments that promote deep approaches to learning. These approaches to learning are important because “[s]tudents who use deep approaches to learning tend to perform better as well as retain, integrate, and transfer information at higher rates than students using surface approaches to student learning” (Nelson Laird, Shoup, Kuh, and Schwarz 2008, 470). Nelson Laird and colleagues found—using models with extensive statistical controls—that, nationally, STEM faculty generally use pedagogies that encourage higher-order, integrative, and reflective learning significantly less than faculty in non-STEM fields and, not coincidently, STEM seniors experience “deep approaches to learning” less than seniors in non-STEM fields (for descriptions of the three measures, see Nelson Laird et al. 2008). The differences were small for Higher-Order Learning, the scale that is concerned with analysis, synthesis, and judgment regarding evidence—relatively good news—but quite large for the Integrative and Reflective Learning scales. The study by Nelson Laird and colleagues is a part of a larger body of work about students engaging in educationally purposeful activities—those educational practices known to positively influence valued educational outcomes, activities such as active and collaborative learning and those that involve much student–faculty interaction, as noted in many of the articles in this issue of Peer Review. We know of the positive impact of pedagogies of engagement not only on general student learning, but also on STEM learning, from years of research. It is discouraging that, nationally, faculty in STEM fields tend to have lower expectations for integrative and reflective learning relative to other faculty, and that results from seniors reflect those differences. The Integrative Learning scale assesses how often students use ideas from various sources and courses, include diverse perspectives in class discussions or writing assignments, and discuss ideas from readings or classes with faculty members and others outside of class. The Reflective Learning scale is a combination of responses to questions about trying out different perspectives and thinking about one‘s own beliefs. The kinds of intellectual self-reflection skills these questions are about are surely as important in the STEM disciplines as they are in other disciplines, but we see that STEM majors have far fewer opportunities to develop these skills than students in other majors. Indeed, one might argue that it is especially in STEM that students should acquire these skills, given the way empirical evidence tends to be seen as harder in science than in other disciplines. Discovering a bad premise or assumption and being open to other interpretations are just as important in STEM disciplines as elsewhere. These results caused us to want to look more closely at STEM/non-STEM differences and to determine whether there are circumstances where STEM seniors buck the general trends and are as engaged or more engaged than their non-STEM peers.
Institutional satisfaction and the development of transferable skills
Miller, A., & Fosnacht, K.
Association for Institutional Research Annual Forum, Long Beach, CA, 2013, May.
Transferable skills, such as problem solving and analytical writing, play an important role in students‘ appeal to prospective employers. This study explores whether senior students‘ development of these transferable skills were related to their perceptions of satisfaction with their higher education institutions. Using data from the NSSE 2012 administration, regression analyses suggest that problem solving skills were a significant positive predictor of institutional satisfaction, even when controlling for other demographic and institutional characteristics. Analytical writing skills were also a significant positive predictor of institutional satisfaction.
Writing, engagement, and successful learning outcomes
Gonyea, R. M., & Anderson, P.
American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA, 2009, April.
Assessing small populations: Recognizing everyone counts in your counts
BrckaLorenz, A., & Hurtado, S.
Student Affairs Assessment and Research Conference, Columbus, OH, 2018, June.
Quantitative and survey research depends heavily on large sample sizes, but a focus on the “average student” in quantitative analyses often hides diverse voices. Participants in this session will discuss common issues and solutions associated with giving voice to small populations of college students (e.g., gender variant, multiracial, LGBQ+). Participants will discuss administration issues related to small populations such as increasing response rates, identifying special subpopulations, and writing more inclusive survey questions. Tips for disaggregating, responsibly aggregating, and choosing inclusive comparative information will be provided. Additionally, participants will discuss strategies for analyzing and communicating about the results from small populations as well as approaches for communicating about the validity and data quality from small sample sizes.
Gender identity and sexual orientation: Survey challenges and lessons learned
BrckaLorenz, A., Clark, J., & Hurtado, S.
Association for Institutional Research Annual Forum, New Orleans, LA, 2016, June.
Research shows there are differences in the college experience for students from underrepresented backgrounds, including non-heterosexual and gender variant students. This is due in part to experiences of discrimination and negative campus climate for these students. Participants in this session will learn about and discuss the assessment of and conversations about gender identity and sexual orientation on other campuses, and the challenges and potential solutions for writing more inclusive survey questions about complex identities. Challenges and potential strategies for surveying, disseminating results, and talking about difficult or sensitive topics on college campuses will also be discussed. Finally, participants will learn about the engagement, perceptions of campus support, and satisfaction, of students with varying gender identities and sexual orientations from a longitudinal, large-scale, multi-institution survey of students at four-year colleges and universities.
College students' experiences with writing: What do we know, and how are institutions applying local findings?
Kinzie, J., Gonyea, R. M., McCormick, A., Paine, C., & Blake, L. P.
Association of American Colleges & Universities Annual Meeting, Washington, DC, 2016, January.
AAC&U‘s Essential Learning Outcomes and the Degree Qualifications Profile identify writing as a key outcome. Virtually all colleges and universities aim to develop proficient writers. Recent evidence suggests that experiences critical to developing writing competence correspond to broader benefits in student learning. And “Writing Across the Curriculum” initiatives make clear that the responsibility to develop this important competency is shared across departments. Consistent with AAC&U‘s emphasis on enhancing institutional structures and practices to support student success, many institutions monitor students‘ exposure to and participation in effective educational practices through the use of student surveys such as the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE). To enable deeper examination of specific practices and experiences, in 2013 NSSE began offering a menu of topical modules to complement the core survey‘s breadth of focus. Results from topical modules provide a fresh opportunity to “drill down” on educational quality and make targeted improvements in teaching and learning. One of the new modules investigates students‘ experiences with writing. Whereas the core survey focuses on the number of assigned papers of various lengths, the writing module probes a range of activities and experiences promoted by those who teach composition—interactive writing processes, meaning-making tasks, and clarity of instructor expectations for writing assignments. This research-informed panel presentation session (1) highlights recent findings from NSSE‘s Experiences with Writing module, including how these experiences vary across subpopulations and major fields, and (2) provides examples of how institutions are making productive use of their results. NSSE researchers report on large-scale findings, and two panelists share what they have learned and how they are using results to guide improvement.
Are our writing assignments effective?
Cogswell, C.A., Howe, E.C., & Gonyea, R.M.
Professional & Organizational Development Conference, Dallas, TX, 2014, November.
As evidenced by their steadily growing investment in writing-across-the-curriculum programs, institutions recognize how writing can increase student engagement and learning. This session explores how faculty members use writing assignments in their teaching and how this compares across academic disciplines and by faculty characteristics. Special sets of questions appended to the Faculty Survey of Student Engagement (FSSE) point to ways faculty members can design effective writing tasks. Participants will discuss how interactive writing processes, meaning-constructing writing tasks, and clear expectations increase students‘ likelihood to engage in deep approach to learn. Implications for faculty and academic leaders will be presented.
Faculty use of writing assignments: Exploring classroom teaching practices
Cole, E. R., Gonyea, R. M., & Ahonen, C.
Professional & Organizational Development Conference, Pittsburg, PA, 2013, November.
As evidenced by their steadily growing investment in writing-across-the-curriculum programs, institutions recognize how writing can increase student engagement and learning. This session explores how faculty members use writing assignments in their teaching and how this compares across academic disciplines and institutional characteristics. Special sets of questions appended to both the Faculty Survey of Student Engagement (FSSE) and the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) point to ways faculty members can design effective writing tasks. Participants will discuss how interactive writing processes, meaning-constructing writing tasks, and clear expectations improve students‘ success in learning. Implications for faculty developers are also presented.
Gauging writing and engagement levels to improve general education outcomes
Anderson, P., & Gonyea, R.M.
AAC&U Network for Academic Renewal Conference, Seattle, WA, 2010, February.
How writing contributes to learning and how institutions can increase that contribution: Lessons from NSSE & FSSE
Gonyea, R. M., Nelson Laird, T. F., & Anderson, P.
Association of American Colleges & Universities Annual Meeting, Washington, DC, 2010, January.
The role of writing in student engagement and learning
Paine, C., Gonyea, R. M., Anderson, P., & Anson, C.
College Composition & Communication Annual Conference, San Francisco, CA, 2009, March.
Transitions: Assessing writing & the first-year experience using BCSSE/NSSE data
Butler, T., Cole, J. S., & Hitchcock, T.
Annual Conference on the First-Year Experience, Orlando, FL, 2009, February.
National Survey of Student Engagement: Writing item workshop
Gonyea, R. M., Paine, C., & Anderson, P.
Writing Program Administrators Conference, Tempe, AZ, 2007, July.
Key Individual Questions Related to Academic Challenge
In A fresh look at student engagement—Annual results 2013, 9.
In A fresh look at student engagement—Annual results 2013, 10.
Reflective & Integrative Learning
In A fresh look at student engagement—Annual results 2013, 10.
STEM Students and Teaching and Learning Technologies
In Assessment for improvement: Tracking student engagement over time—Annual results 2009, 18 - 20.
In Promoting engagement for all students: The imperative to look within—2008 results, 11.
In Promoting engagement for all students: The imperative to look within—2008 results, 21 - 22.
In Experiences that matter: Enhancing student learning and success—Annual report 2007, 13.
Level of Academic Challenge
In Improving the college experience: National benchmarks of effective educational practice—NSSE 2001 report, 15 - 16.
Using results from the Consortium for the Study of Writing in College
Jillian Kinzie and Bob Gonyea
September 22, 2009.