EKU Scores Higher Than State, National Benchmarks on Many Areas of NSSE

file photo of Coates Bldg.

Eastern Kentucky University’s emphasis on guiding its students to think critically and creatively and communicate effectively is taking root.

According to the 2012 National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), EKU students scored well above their state counterparts and national benchmarks in several related areas.

For example, among EKU freshmen:

·         Seventy-six percent reported that their courses emphasized making judgments about the value of information, compared to 70 percent in the Kentucky system and 69 percent at the University’s benchmarks.

·         Thirty-three percent wrote more than four papers or reports of 5-19 pages, compared to 27 percent in the Kentucky system and 25 percent at benchmarks.

·         Twenty-two percent said they participated in a learning community, compared to 15-16 percent at state counterparts and national benchmarks.

Additionally, 64 percent of EKU seniors reported making a class presentation, compared to 55 percent in the Kentucky system and 60 percent at national benchmarks, and 82 percent said they asked questions and contributed to class discussions, well ahead of their state counterparts at 74 percent and the benchmarks at 75 percent.

For the second consecutive year, almost nine in 10 EKU seniors said they would definitely or probably choose Eastern again if they could start their college years afresh. EKU’s 88 percent surpasses the state and national averages of 83 and 84 percent, respectively.

The NSSE, developed and administered by Indiana University, assesses the extent to which college students engage in educational practices associated with high levels of learning and development. “It measures what students do – the time and energy devoted to educationally purposeful activities – as well as the practices institutions employ to induce students to do the right things,” said Stacey Street, assistant director of the Office of Institutional Effectiveness at EKU.

The approximately 6,000 first-year students and seniors at EKU were invited to participate in the web-based survey last Spring, and 1,143 responded. The response rate of 23 percent was roughly equivalent to the national rate.

Seniors ranked EKU ahead of its state counterparts and national benchmarks in four of the five categories they were asked to measure: level of academic challenge, active and collaborative learning, student-faculty interaction, and supportive campus environment. EKU scored below the average only in the category of enriching educational experiences.

First-year students placed EKU ahead of the norm in level of academic challenge, student-faculty interaction and supportive campus environment.

For both first-year students and seniors, Eastern improved its scores from a year ago in four of the five areas and achieved all-time highs (since EKU first participated in NSSE in 2001) on level of academic challenge and supportive campus environment.

In 2006, EKU adopted a Quality Enhancement Plan that calls for the university to develop informed, critical and creative thinkers who can communicate effectively. Also, the University’s emphasis on academic rigor is reflected in the fact that 61 percent of the first-year respondents reported they frequently worked harder than they thought they could to meet faculty expectations.

NSSE’s Annual Results 2012 is sponsored by The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. For more information about the National Survey of Student Engagement, visit www.nsse.iub.edu.

Published on November 28, 2012

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