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University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) 2001, 2004 and 2006 Comparisons

The University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point participated in the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) in the spring of 2006.  The survey was distributed via the Web to a random sample of 1,846 first-year students and 1,809 seniors.  First-year students returned 704 surveys and seniors returned 808 for an overall response rate of 41%.  The 2004 survey was distributed via the Web to a random sample of 952 first-year students and 987 seniors.  First-year students returned 385 surveys and seniors returned 441 for an overall response rate of 43%.  The 2001 survey was distributed by mail and Web to a random sample of 350 first-time first-year students and 350 graduating seniors.  First-time first-year students returned 201 surveys and seniors returned 223 for an overall response of 62%.  The samples are slightly different.  The 2001 sample was composed of first-time first-year students and seniors who had applied for May graduation.  The spring 2004 and 2006 samples are composed of all first-year students and seniors as of the previous fall.
 
The following tables compare the mean responses of UWSP students in 2001, 2004 and 2006.  [The single sample t-test is used to test for statistical significance.  Two plus signs after a mean indicate that the mean is significantly higher than the previous survey, p < .05.  Two minus signs- indicate the mean is significantly lower.]  The tables are organized according to NSSE’s “five areas of effective educational practice.”  Additional information is located at http://www.iub.edu/~nsse
 

Level of Academic Challenge

 1st Year Senior
2001 2004 2006 2001 2004 2006
Preparing for class per week (studying, reading, writing, rehearsing, and other activities related to your academic program) 3.99 3.83-- 3.85 4.22 3.99-- 4.15++
Number of assigned textbooks, books, or book-length packs of course readings 3.20 3.16 3.19 3.01 3.13++ 3.00--
Number of written papers or reports of 20 pages or more 1.13 1.19 1.19 1.61 1.47-- 1.49
Number of written papers or reports of between 5 and 19 pages 2.06 1.91-- 2.01++ 2.60 2.31-- 2.38++
Number of written papers or reports of fewer than 5 pages 3.33 3.12-- 3.00-- 3.31 3.32 3.28
Coursework emphasized analyzing the basic elements of an idea, experience or theory 2.99 3.01 2.92-- 3.12 3.18 3.10--
Course work emphasized synthesizing and organizing ideas, information, or experiences into new, more complex interpretations and relationships 2.66 2.68 2.66 2.93 3.01++ 2.90--
Course work emphasized making judgments about the value of information, arguments, or methods 2.72 2.77 2.67-- 2.78 2.89++ 2.89
Course work emphasized applying theories or concepts to practical problems or in new situations 2.85 2.97++ 2.89-- 3.09 3.17++ 3.20
Worked harder than you thought you could to meet an instructor’s standards or expectations 2.52 2.41-- 2.47++ 2.61 2.64 2.63
Campus environment emphasized spending significant amounts of time studying and on academic work 3.06 3.06 2.98-- 2.95 3.07++ 3.01--
 
The following analysis focuses on trends over the three survey years which reflect relatively consistent changes—increase or decrease.   As previously indicated, the 2001 sample is different from the 2004 and 2006 samples which may have influenced the survey results.
 
First-year students reported spending significantly fewer hours preparing for class in 2004 than 2001. The 2006 mean is not significantly different from 2004 but remains significantly lower than the 2001 mean. 
 
There is a significant decline in the number of written papers or reports of fewer than five pages reportedly done by first-year students from 2001 to 2004 and from 2004 to 2006.  While the number of written papers between 5 and 19 pages significantly declined from 2001 to 2004, there is a significant increase from 2004 to 2006 and the 2006 mean is not significantly different from 2001.  The number of written papers or reports of 20 pages or more is stable across the three years.    
 
There is a significant decline in the reported number of written papers or reports between 5 and 19 pages done by seniors from 2001 to 2004.  While there is a significant increase between 2004 and 2006, the 2006 mean is significantly lower than the 2001 mean.  The number of written papers or reports of 20 pages is also significantly lower for 2004 and 2006 compared to 2001 while the 2006 mean is not significantly different from 2004.  The number of written papers fewer than five pages is stable across the three years. 
 
Seniors are significantly more likely to report that their course work emphasized applying theories or concepts to practical problems or in new situations in 2004 compared to 2001.  There is a non-significant increase in the means from 2004 to 2006.
 

Active and Collaborative Learning

  1st Year Senior
2001 2004 2006 2001 2004 2006
Asked questions in class or contributed to class discussions 2.63 2.63 2.55-- 2.96 2.95 2.99
Made a class presentation 2.04 2.22++ 2.20 2.86 2.69-- 2.89++
Worked with other students on projects during class 2.50 2.35-- 2.44++ 2.65 2.53-- 2.70++
Worked with classmates outside of class to prepare class assignments 2.13 2.13 2.28++ 2.95 2.83-- 2.93++
Tutored or taught other students 1.34 1.42++ 1.62++ 1.86 1.97++ 2.05++
Participated in a community-based project as part of a regular course 1.17 1.26++ 1.45++ 1.58 1.64 1.71++
Discussed ideas from your readings or classes with others outside of class (students, family members, co-workers, etc.) 2.60 2.61 2.52-- 2.94 2.81-- 2.77
 
There is a significant increase in the tutoring and teaching of other students by first-year and senior students from 2001 to 2004 and from 2004 to 2006.  They are also increasingly more likely to have participated in a community-based project as part of a regular course although the increase from 2001 to 2004 for seniors is not significant.  Seniors are less likely to have discussed ideas from their readings or classes with others outside of class in 2006 than they were in 2001 and 2004.  While the decline from 2001 to 2004 is significant, the decline from 2004 to 2006 is not.
 

Student Interactions with Faculty Members

 1st Year Senior
2001 2004 2006 2001 2004 2006
Discussed grades or assignments with an instructor 2.27 2.40++ 2.44 2.76 2.64-- 2.73++
Talked about career plans with a faculty member or advisor 2.20 2.08-- 2.19++ 2.64 2.40-- 2.52++
Discussed ideas from your readings or classes with faculty members outside of class 1.51 1.64++ 1.77++ 1.99 1.88-- 2.01++
Worked with faculty members on activities other than coursework (committees, orientation, student-life activities, etc.) 1.39 1.45 1.56++ 1.98 1.91 2.01++
Received prompt feedback from faculty on your academic performance (written or oral) 2.53 2.43-- 2.52++ 2.74 2.76 2.74
Worked with a faculty member on a research project outside of course or program requirements* .21 .25 .31++.21 .29++ .30
 
*The format for these questions was changed from 2001 to 2004.  In 2001 students were asked which of the following have you done or do you plan to do before you graduate from your institution.  The response categories were yes, no, undecided.  Thus, yes includes done or plan to do.  The same question was asked in 2004 but the response categories were changed to done, plan to do, do not plan to do, and undecided.  For 2004 and 2006 done and plan to do responses are coded 1 and do not plan to do and undecided are coded 0.  Therefore, caution should be used in comparing across years for these items. 
 
First-year students are increasingly likely to have discussed ideas from their readings or classes with faculty members outside of class, worked with faculty members on activities other than coursework, and worked or planned to work with a faculty member on a research project outside of course or program requirements from 2001 to 2004 and from 2004 to 2006.  The increases from 2001 to 2004 for the latter two items are not significant.  Seniors are increasingly likely to have worked or plan to work with a faculty member on a research project outside of course or program requirements.  The 2001 to 2004 change is significant but the 2004 to 2006 change is not.
 

Enriching Educational Experiences

 1st Year Senior
2001 2004 2006 2001 2004 2006
Participating in co-curricular activities (organizations, publications, student government, sports, etc.) 2.14 2.15 2.14 2.47 2.24-- 2.25
Had serious conversations with students that have different religious beliefs, political opinions, or personal values 2.76 2.71 2.53-- 2.91 2.64-- 2.60
Had serious conversations with students of a different race or ethnicity 2.14 2.29++ 2.15-- 2.24 2.20 2.22
Campus environment encouraged contact among students from different economic, social, and racial or ethnic backgrounds 2.37 2.52++ 2.44-- 2.03 2.24++ 2.28
Practicum, internship, field experience, co-op experience, or clinical assignment* .78 .79 .77 .78 .81 .86++
Community service or volunteer work* .69 .67 .72++ .67 .72++ .79++
Foreign language coursework* .32 .41++ .36-- .26 .36++ .38
Study abroad* .34 .41++ .40 .17 .26++ .30++
Independent study or self-designed major* .11 .15 .16 .28 .28 .27
Culminating senior experience (comprehensive exam, capstone course, thesis, project, etc.)* .19 .28++ .28 .37 .38 .48++
Using electronic technology to discuss or complete an assignment 2.72 2.50-- 2.61++ 2.77 2.64-- 2.74++
 
*The format for these questions was changed from 2001 to 2004.  In 2001 students were asked which of the following have you done or do you plan to do before you graduate from your institution.  The response categories were yes, no, undecided.  Thus, yes includes done or plan to do.  The same question was asked in 2004 and 2006 but the response categories were changed to done, plan to do, do not plan to do, and undecided.  For 2004 and 2006 done and plan to do responses are coded 1 and do not plan to do and undecided are coded 0.  Therefore, caution should be used in comparing across years for these items. 
 
There is a decline in the likelihood that first-year and senior students have had serious conversations with students that have different religious beliefs, political opinions or personal values.  The decline from 2004 to 2006 for first-year students and from 2001 to 2004 for seniors is significant.  Seniors are increasingly likely to feel that the campus environment encouraged contact among students from different backgrounds.  The increase from 2001 to 2004 is significant.  Seniors are increasing likely to have done or plan to do internships, community service, foreign language coursework, study abroad, and culminating senior experience from 2001 to 2006.  Not all of the year to year increases are significant.
 

Supportive Campus Environment

 1st Year Senior
2001 2004 2006 2001 2004 2006
Campus environment provided the support you need to help you succeed academically 3.05 3.02 2.84-- 2.81 2.90++ 2.95++
Campus environment helped you cope with your nonacademic responsibilities (work, family, etc.) 2.06 2.00 2.05 1.85 1.86 1.92
Campus environment provided the support you need to thrive socially 2.37 2.36 2.35 2.24 2.22 2.30++
Quality of relationships with other students on a scale from 1 to 7, 1 being worst and 7 being best 5.65 5.84++ 5.43-- 5.87 5.94 5.83--
Quality of relationships with faculty members on a scale from 1 to 7, 1 being worst and 7 being best 5.39 5.46 5.05-- 5.64 5.77++ 5.58--
Quality of relationships with administrative personnel and offices on a scale from 1 to 7, 1 being worst and 7 being best 5.02 5.15 4.52-- 4.89 5.16 4.67--
 
Seniors are increasingly likely to feel that the campus environment provided the support they need to help them succeed academically.  The increases from 2001 to 2004 and 2004 to 2006 are both significant.  First-year students are decreasingly likely to feel that the campus provides them with the support they need.  The decline from 2004 to 2006 is significantly.  The decline from 2001 to 2004 is not. 

Prepared by Kirby L. Throckmorton
UWSP Office of Institutional Research
August 2006