ROCK HILL, S.C. - As parents and high school students research colleges, they may want to check out a national survey that gauges what students have to say about their actual academic experiences.
Unlike some guides that measure perceptions or reputation of a college, the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) includes items which research suggests are important to student engagement and success, such as whether students consider their learning to be active and collaborative, how often they interact with faculty and diverse peers, and the quality of advising they receive.
In the latest survey, Winthrop students who participated in NSSE reported for the fifth straight year that their college experience surpassed those of their peers nationally.
The results from 570 students – 377 first-year students and 193 seniors – exceeded those of Winthrop’s peers on the majority of NSSE items, with many differences being fairly substantial, according to Joe Prus, director of assessment and professor of psychology. The survey measures important characteristics of institutions from the perspective of students.
"The NSSE examines aspects of college student engagement important to learning," Prus said. "The fact that Winthrop not only exceeds its peers nationally on many NSSE items, but has done so consistently over five years, is quite remarkable."
Questions pertain to both student perceptions of the extent to which the institution actively encourages student engagement, as well as to student reports of actual behavior. For example, the NSSE asks students how often they write papers or work with faculty outside of the classroom.
Winthrop was one of more than 530 four-year colleges and universities nationally that participated in the 2005 survey. It is the only public university in South Carolina to have administered the survey each of the past five years. The project is supported by a grant from The Pew Charitable Trusts and cosponsored by The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and The Pew Forum for Undergraduate Learning.
Winthrop’s survey results can be found at http://www.winthrop.edu/NSSE/default.htm.
Winthrop first-year students exceeded their national peers to the greatest extent on the following items: Participated in a community-based project as part of a regular course; attended campus events and activities; the institution encouraged contact among students from different economic, social, and racial or ethnic backgrounds; participated in community service or volunteer work; and attended an art exhibit, gallery, play, dance or other theatre performance.
For seniors, students exceeded their national peers to the greatest extent on the following items: attended an art exhibit, gallery, play, dance or other theater performance; completed foreign language course work; satisfied with quality of academic advising; and the institution encouraged contact among students from different economic, social and racial or ethnic backgrounds.
Questions regarding the results or other assessment activities may be directed to the Office of Assessment at 803/323-2341.