National Survey Notes High Levels of Student Engagement at The Evergreen State College

December 5, 2007

(Olympia, Wash.) Students at The Evergreen State College reported higher than average engagement on all benchmark measures of the 2007 National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), which included academic challenge, active and collaborative learning, student-faculty interaction, enriching educational experiences, and a supportive campus environment.

  • Students at The Evergreen State College were as engaged as students attending schools that scored in the top 10 percent on the Level of Academic Challenge benchmark.
  • Evergreen students reported slightly higher engagement in Active and Collaborative Learning than students studying at schools who performed in the top 10 percent on this benchmark.
  • Evergreen first-year students were as engaged as students attending colleges who scored in the top 10 percent in terms of Student-Faculty Interaction
  • Evergreen seniors were as engaged in Enriching Educational Experiences as seniors in the top 10 percent of colleges.
  • Evergreen students perceive a level of Supportive Campus Environment that is equal to that of students at the top 50 percent of institutions.

Evergreen students scored strongly on Academic Challenge because they spend more time preparing for class, engaging in coursework that requires synthesizing, analyzing and making judgments about the value of information. They also reported reading more assigned texts. Compared with other first-year and senior-class students who reported to NSSE, Evergreen respondents indicated that they more frequently asked questions and contributed to discussions in class and gave class presentations. They also indicated that they more often worked with other students on projects during class and outside of class, as well as discussed ideas from reading and classes with others outside of class, all measures of Active and Collaborative Learning. In terms of Student-Faculty Interaction, Evergreen students more often discussed ideas from class with faculty members outside of class and more frequently received prompt feedback about their work than students at other institutions.

Evergreen seniors were significantly more likely to have participated in several Enriching Educational Experiences than seniors at other colleges and universities, including participation in a learning community, study abroad, independent study, and more frequent conversations with students who are different from themselves in terms of race, ethnicity, religion, political opinions, or values.

Six-hundred and ten colleges and universities participated in the survey. Evergreen conducts the National Survey of Student Engagement annually as part of its ongoing institutional assessment plan. The survey helps Evergreen to sustain effective and engaging educational practices and to identify areas for improvement. In addition, Evergreen’s regular participation in the survey provides a national context and multi-year trend data through which to examine educational practices, emphases, and challenges.

The survey had high participation at Evergreen with a response rate of 31 percent of the large random sample. Results were received from 24 percent of all enrolled first-year students and 21 percent of enrolled senior-class students.

The Evergreen State College is a nationally recognized public liberal arts college known for its distinctive interdisciplinary curriculum, high level of student/faculty engagement and emphasis on putting learning into action.