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INSTITUTIONAL RESEARCH > NATIONAL SURVEY OF STUDENT ENGAGEMENT(NSSE)
National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE)
NSSE is a
college student survey that assesses the extent to which students engage in
educational practices associated with high levels of learning and
development. Per its sponsoring
organization, “NSSE was specifically designed to assess the extent to which
students are engaged in effective educational practices and what they gain from
their college experiences. Voluminous research on college student development
shows that the time and energy students devote to educationally purposeful
activities is the single best predictor of their learning and personal
development. Therefore, the main content of the NSSE instrument represents
student behaviors that are highly correlated with many desirable learning and
personal development outcomes of college”.
become an important assessment tool in higher education. In 2013 and 2014 nearly 1,000 colleges,
including RMU, participated in NSSE. About
190,000 college freshmen and seniors took the NSSE in spring 2014 including 220
RMU freshmen and 480 RMU seniors. The 2014
administration of NSSE was RMU’s fifth participation in this survey which is
administered in the spring of even-numbered years.
results by NSSE category reveal few statistically meaningful differences from
the results of comparison group colleges.
These categories include (level of) academic challenge, learning with
peers, experiences with faculty, and campus environment. Comparison of RMU’s results with those
recorded by the highest-performing NSSE colleges shows that they outstrip RMU
in categories pertaining to synthesis of learning and inclusion of diverse
perspectives inside and outside of the classroom. RMU compares favorably with these high-performing
institutions in quantitative literacy, quality of student-faculty interaction
and the supportiveness of RMU’s campus environment.
individual question level, when compared with other colleges and universities
RMU shows strength in participation in student organizations, internships,
attainment of presentation and speaking skills, and participation in learning
activities that take place outside the classroom. RMU was weaker than the comparison group in
development of values and ethics, imparting writing skills and requiring students
to synthesize information from multiple classes and sources in order to address
academic challenges and problems. RMU’s
results were not significantly different on many other NSSE questions that fall
between these two extremes.
NSSE results have been shared with its Board of Trustees, senior administrators
and Deans. RMU administrators and
faculty are examining the results (both aggregate and at the departmental
levels) to seek opportunities to improve students’ RMU experience and to
address any weaknesses identified via the survey.