Survey Says: Alma Students Exceed Norms
NSSE Gives High Marks to Alma College
Findings from a national survey released Nov. 5 show that Alma College students report levels of educational experiences and faculty interaction that exceed the national norms by significant amounts.
The 2007 National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), a highly respected, independent survey that measures factors that lead to educational success, gives high marks to Alma College in several categories that measure how well students are learning and what they put into and get out of their undergraduate experience.
The responses by Alma College first-year students and seniors about their educational experiences are reflected in five categories:
STUDENT-FACULTY INTERACTION — Alma students report positive and supportive relationships with faculty in the following ways:
• First-year and senior students are much more likely to have talked about career plans with a faculty member or advisor than their peers at other participating schools.
• Forty-one percent of seniors indicate that they have worked on a research project with a faculty member outside of class, compared to 19 percent of seniors at other participating institutions.
• Seniors are more likely to have worked with faculty members on activities other than class work, including committees and student life activities.
ENRICHING EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCES — This category measures opportunities to interact with diverse groups, use of technology, internships, community service and senior capstone courses that provide students the opportunity to synthesize, integrate and apply their knowledge.
• Eighty-three percent of seniors reported participating in community service or volunteer work as compared to only 59 percent of their peers at other schools.
• Forty-one percent of seniors had a study abroad experience, compared to 14 percent of their peers.
• Forty-nine percent of seniors completed an independent study or self-designed major, compared to 17 percent of their peers.
ACTIVE AND COLLABORATIVE LEARNING — Alma seniors are more likely to participate in community-based service learning projects as part of their courses than are students at other institutions. First-year and senior students also are more likely to work with other students outside of class to prepare class assignments.
LEVEL OF ACADEMIC CHALLENGE — Questions in this category include time and effort spent preparing for class, an emphasis on writing in various courses, and learning to apply theories or concepts to practical problems or new situations. Alma’s first-year students report a higher level of academic challenge than their peers at other participating schools.
SUPPORTIVE CAMPUS ENVIRONMENT — Alma students report high satisfaction with the support provided to help them succeed academically and with the quality of their relationships with other students and with faculty.
The NSSE findings are based on information from 313,000 randomly selected first-year and senior students at 610 four-year colleges and universities in the United States and Canada. The survey asks students a series of questions about their undergraduate educational experiences. Their answers provide information to member schools about how students perceive their education.
The NSSE data is important because the test measures the experiences that decades of national research show make the most differences to student learning, says Alma Provost Michael Selmon. The results compare the average Alma student to hundreds of thousands of students nationwide.
Posted: Thu, November 29th, 2007 at 1:24PM