National Survey Reports High Level of Student Engagement

January 15, 2013

Evergreen students report they are as engaged as the top ten percent of 595 National Survey on Student Engagement (NSSE) surveyed schools on the academic challenge benchmark, which include such factors as first year and senior students’ time spent analyzing, synthesizing, evaluating and applying learning. Similarly students report they are as engaged as the top ten percent of 595 NSSE schools (both in the first year and as seniors) in the active and collaborative learning benchmark, which includes factors such as participation inside and outside class, and in community-based projects as part of a course.

These are just some of the findings of the 2012 National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) conducted by Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research. In fact, students at The Evergreen State College reported higher than average engagement in comparison with similar schools on all benchmark measures of the 2012 NSSE.

NSSE is a survey that assesses student engagement in educational practices that are associated with high levels of learning and development. NSSE developed six benchmarks of effective educational practice that are computed based on the results of clusters of individual survey questions.

The survey included categories measuring academic challenge, active and collaborative learning, student-faculty interaction, enriching educational experiences, supportive campus environment, and deep approaches to learning.

“The NSSE survey results are a real-time testament to the impressive collaborative work students and faculty undertake at Evergreen. The results indicate that students are challenged by their faculty mentors and that they regularly rise to meet those challenges,” says Dr. Michael Zimmerman, Vice President for Academic Affairs. “One of the most important facets of a successful educational experience, indeed, of success in any arena, is commitment and engagement with the task at hand.”

Since 2010, The Evergreen State College has made gains in all benchmark dimensions of NSSE, improving on levels of student engagement reported then.

The National Survey of Student Engagement placed Evergreen higher in relation to comparative schools in achieving deeper approaches to learning through a greater emphasis on higher order thinking skills, integration, and reflection, as well as providing academic challenge, active and collaborative learning, student faculty interaction, enriching educational experiences, and a supportive campus environment.

Other notable results:

  • In terms of Academic Challenge, nine of ten Evergreen students reported substantial emphasis on analyzing basic elements of ideas and theories (90% of first-year students and 92% of seniors) and to synthesizing and organizing ideas (89% of first-year students and 94% of seniors).
  • In terms of Active Learning, approximately 4 of 5 (83%) first-year students indicated that they discuss readings and ideas from courses outside of classes.
  • Almost nine out of ten students (87%) indicated they felt that faculty members were accessible and supportive, a measure of Student Faculty Interaction.
  • Eighty seven percent of seniors indicated they discussed career plans with advisors and faculty.
  • Evergreen students also engage with different perspectives and viewpoints. Almost three-quarters of first-year students indicated they interact with students with different viewpoints from themselves (73%). A similar percentage interacted with peers from different racial or ethnic backgrounds (74%).
  • Sixty-one percent of students participate in community service or volunteer work by their senior year.
  • A full 88 percent rated their overall educational experience at Evergreen as either good or excellent.