National Survey Measures Mason Student Engagement

Posted: February 22, 2007 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Beau Cribbs

Each year the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) collects information from undergraduates at colleges and universities from around the country, including Mason. This is done to gauge how engaged specific student populations are in an assortment of educational and social activities.

In spring 2006, a random selection of about 3,600 first-year and senior Mason students were invited to participate in the survey. According to the NSSE report, these students were representative of Mason’s diversity in terms of gender, race, age, enrollments status and grades. In all, 1,566 (or 43 percent) completed the online survey.

The information gathered reveals that the George Mason academic and social community continues to thrive, and that in many cases, Mason students are more confident in several areas of academic interest when compared to their peers surveyed at other colleges and universities.

The 2006 Benchmark Report released by the NSSE shows that student-faculty interaction at Mason has noticeably improved since the 2003 survey, so much so that Mason freshmen now score significantly higher on this benchmark than the majority of selected peers. As compared to the survey three years prior, “more Mason freshmen and seniors in 2006 have talked about their career plans with faculty and worked with faculty on activities other than course work,” the report states.

Another observation of the Benchmark Report is that Mason students are busier than their peers, with more working part-time or full-time jobs either on or off campus. This percentage is higher than the proportion of working Mason students surveyed in the 2003 cohort.

Academically, more Mason students enjoy the advantage of collaborative learning than the majority of their peers. This includes having confidence in class presentations and in contributing to classroom discussions. Mason freshmen also have more reading and writing assignments than other surveyed college students.

In all, the survey results highlighted the Mason student population as willing to take on responsibility and eager to progress as academics.

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

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