Student Engagement Survey Results Released

Posted: March 8, 2010 at 1:03 am, Last Updated: March 5, 2010 at 4:19 pm

Each year the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) collects information from first year and graduating seniors at colleges and universities in the United States and Canada. Mason has participated every three years since 2000.

The survey measures how engaged specific student populations are in an assortment of educational and social activities.

Mason’s Office of Institutional Assessment recently released a report on the latest findings, which are summarized below.

In 2009, 1,571 Mason students completed the survey, for a 33 percent response rate. Responses were split about evenly between the two groups surveyed and were largely representative of Mason’s first year and graduating senior populations.

The survey supplied both self-comparison results for the years 2003, 2006 and 2009, as well as peer comparison results for 2009.

Some of the findings were

  • Mason first year and senior students showed significant improvement over the last six years in their level of student-faculty interaction. In 2006 and 2009, Mason students were more engaged in active and collaborative learning activities than their 2003 counterparts.
  • Mason’s first year students’ perception of Mason’s campus environment improved from 2006 to 2009.
  • When compared to two peer groups, Mason first year students reported similar levels of active and collaborative learning, academic challenge and campus support.
  • Compared to peer groups, Mason seniors reported a similar level of academic challenge.
  • Mason first year students reported a significantly lower level of student-faculty interaction when compared with one of the peer groups, while seniors reported the same when compared to both peer groups. Mason students’ interaction with faculty is limited in talking with faculty/advisors about career plans; working with faculty on activities other than course work; and working on a research project with faculty outside of course or program requirements.
  • Mason students are more likely than students from both peer groups to report receiving prompt feedback on academic performance.
  • Mason first year students were significantly more likely than students from one of the peer groups to report participating in enriching educational activities. Mason seniors were significantly less likely to report participating in enriching educational experiences when compared to students from both peer groups. Mason senior participation was limited in community service, learning communities, foreign language course work, study abroad and culminating experiences.
  • When compared with both peer groups, Mason students were more likely to have conversations with students of a different race or ethnicity and were more likely to report that their institution emphasized diversity.

The report notes that Mason senior students’ patterns of engagement differed significantly based on enrollment status, transfer status and place of residence. Senior students who transferred to Mason after attending another institution, who were enrolled part time, and/or who lived off campus reported significantly lower levels of student-faculty interaction and participation in enriching educational experiences.

To read the full report, see the Office of Institutional Assessment web site.

Write to gazette at gazette@gmu.edu