The NSSE (pronounced “Nessie”) is the National Survey of Student Engagement, and if you’re a first year or senior, you might have recently seen a link coming through your Beloit inbox (around Feb. 18) asking you to answer some questions. The aim of the survey is to measure student engagement. Student engagement in the NSSE has two elements: time and effort students devote to educational activities and how the college organizes itself to encourage student participation.
The NSSE is coordinated and administered by the Center for Postsecondary Research in the Indiana University of Education, and has been around since 1998. Beloit College has been involved twice before, in 2008 and 2011. The 2011 NSSE findings showed, for example, that 94 percent of first year students felt that Beloit College had a substantial commitment to their academic success.
The findings aren’t only about purely engagement in the classroom, but also tell us about students’ engagement with faculty and course materials outside of the classroom: 92 percent of seniors in 2011 reported at least occasionally discussing career plans with faculty members and 84 percent of first year students frequently discussed readings or ideas from coursework outside of class.
The college will use the findings of the NSSE to enhance students’ experience. Past NSSE results for Beloit have been used successfully to apply for a TRIO grant, which fund the McNair Scholars Program and Student Support Services program, both of which support the success of low-income, minority, or first-generation college students.
The NSSE findings are of special interest to Beloit this year, as seniors who complete the NSSE will be the first cohort of students who have experienced the new curriculum and Advising Practicum.
“The college has so many exciting initiatives under way to support students to engage with their own education in meaningful ways. The NSSE findings will be one way we can tell if students are responding to these opportunities and engaging differently with their education than students in the past,” says Director of Strategic Research and Assessment Ellenor O’Byrne.
Want to learn more? Read about the survey here.